MIF announces new artistic director

John McGrath, artistic director and CEO of National Theatre Wales, is to take over the lead role at Manchester International Festival (MIF) from September.

McGrath’s appointment will initially be on a part-time basis, filling the position left open by MIF’s founding CEO and artistic director, Alex Poots. Poots is moving to the US to take the reigns at the Culture Shed, a major new arts and performance space in New York (set to open in 2018).

McGrath knows Manchester: prior to his current seven-year tenure as leader of National Theatre Wales, he led Manchester’s Contact Theatre, and steered the venue to its current position as an industry leader in working with diverse young performance artists in contemporary urban settings.

Said McGrath of his MIF appointment: ‘The speed and success with which MIF has established itself in the top tier of festivals worldwide has been astonishing. Like many others across the globe, I’ve been deeply impressed by the festival’s unique and brilliantly realised artistic policy; and the unprecedented level of local commitment from government and business. And of course a big part of that success is the wonderful setting of Manchester – one of the world’s truly great creative cities. I am thrilled by the opportunity to work with the team behind MIF’s success, and alongside the rich and varied talents of Manchester’s unique cultural sector.’

Tom Bloxham MBE, current chair of MIF, added: ‘We are very pleased to welcome John McGrath back to Manchester to take up the reins at MIF after his remarkable success as founding artistic director and CEO of National Theatre Wales. We are so grateful to Alex Poots for his creative vision, his energy, commitment and sheer hard graft over the last ten years. I know that John will build on the wonderful work Alex and his team have done, and take MIF in to its next successful decade.’

Manchester International Festival is the world’s first festival of original, new work and special events and takes place biennially, in Manchester, UK. The Festival launched in 2007 as an artist-led, commissioning festival presenting new works from across the spectrum of performing arts, visual arts and popular culture.

Highlights of the first four festivals have included premieres of Steve McQueen’s commemoration of fallen British soldiers, Queen and Country; Damon Albarn, Jamie Hewlett and Chen Shi-Zheng’s Chinese opera Monkey: Journey to the West; group art event Il Tempo del Postino featuring work by Matthew Barney, Tacita Dean and Olafur Eliasson; Zaha Hadid Architects’ new space for the music of Bach; Björk’s three week Biophilia residency; director Robert Wilson’s The Life and Death of Marina Abramović, starring Abramović, Willem Dafoe and Antony; and Kenneth Branagh’s Macbeth.

The next MIF takes place 2-19 July this year.buy essay fast online