MIF unveils provocative new commissions for 2017

Dancemaker Boris Charmatz and artist Yael Bartana are among the big-name creatives who will be staging brand new work at Manchester International Festival next year.

The first few shows of the groundbreaking festival have been announced – all addressing some of the most pressing and complex issues of our time.

Next year’s event, which runs from 29 June to 16 July, marks the debut festival of artistic director John McGrath, following his appointment in 2015.

Among the first four MIF17 commissions to have been revealed is a significant new work from Yael Bartana that takes Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove as a provocation. What if Women Ruled The World? sees a group of 10 women and one man tackle some of the most urgent crises of our time: climate change, military escalation, mass migration.

Directed by Royal Court Artistic Director Vicky Featherstone, a professional cast will be joined by a group of female experts: scientists, politicians, artists and thinkers of global reputation. They’ll spend the evening trying to solve that night’s global emergency.

Boris Charmatz, meanwhile, will reveal his new work 10000 Gestures, which takes over a found space in the city centre for a joyful, provocative piece in which the 25-strong ensemble dance without repeating a single movement.

Fatherland is a bold new theatre show created by Scott Graham from Frantic Assembly, Underworld’s Karl Hyde and playwright Simon Stephens, focusing on contemporary fatherhood in all its complexities.

And the festival’s opening event, What Is the City but the People? will see Manchester become the setting for a self-portrait of the city, capturing Manchester through its outfits, attitudes and individuality.

A new project for 2017 is a major programme of work with local people, My Festival: MIF’s Creative Community. My Festival is a new year-round initiative designed to build ongoing relationships between MIF and local people through creative projects, skills development and training and more.

The first My Festival project is Festival in My House, a series of micro international festivals curated by local people and hosted in their own houses for neighbours, friends and MIF audiences.

John McGrath said: “It’s exciting to be announcing our first four commissions and events for MIF17, with 20 more still to come. As a festival of new work, MIF is uniquely able to respond to our changing world. The artists in our 2017 programme have a lot to say about the times we live in – and they’re responding in unexpected ways, from reimagining Dr Strangelove to creating a huge fashion runway in Piccadilly Gardens. MIF has always been and will remain fiercely international, inviting major artists such as Boris Charmatz and Yael Bartana to create new work. We’re also proudly engaged in our city: My Festival, our new initiative, will provide a range of new ways for local artists and communities to be part of what we do, year-round.  As the incoming artistic director, I’m thrilled to be part of MIF’s extraordinary creative ambition, and I look forward to sharing more of our plans in the months ahead.”