Manchester International Festival (MIF), the world’s first festival of original, new work and special events, today unveils its 2021 programme, which will take place across 18 days (1-18 July 2021). Events will take place safely in indoor and outdoor locations across Greater Manchester, and a rich online offer will provide a window into the Festival wherever audiences are, including livestreams and work created especially for the digital realm.

With almost all the work created in the past year, MIF21 provides a unique snapshot of these unprecedented times. Artists have reflected on ideas such as love and human connections, the way we play, division and togetherness, equality and social change, and the relationship between the urban and the rural. As one of the first major public events in the city, MIF21 will play a key role in the safe reopening of the city’s economy and provide employment for hundreds of freelancers and artists

Tickets will be on sale on from 20 May 2021 and can be purchased from


  • Choreographer Boris Charmatz invites audiences to join an extraordinary new dance piece on the opening night of MIF21 – Sea Change – a huge human flipbook sprung to life on the streets of Manchester
  • Aaron Dessner, Bryce Dessner, Jon Hopkins, Aoife McArdle, Cillian Murphy, Max Porter present All of This Unreal Time, a unique cross artform collaboration which candidly explores one man’s failings.
  • Manchester Camerata, Dobrinka Tabakova and Hugo Ticciati present the World Premiere of The Patience of Trees, an intimate, site specific concert inspired by the healing potential and power of the natural world.
  • Notes on Grief, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s powerful reflection on family, love and loss journeys from page to stage in Rae McKen’s new production.
  • Following the sell-out success of The Welcoming Party at MIF17, Theatre-Rites returns with The Global Playground – an uplifting new show mixing dance, music, theatre and puppetry for children and family audiences.
  • Postcards from Now presents five films from leading international artists including Akram Khan & Naaman Azhari, Lola Arias, Lucinda Childs & (LA)HORDE, Ibrahim Mahama and Angélique Kidjo. Commissioned and created at the height of the global lockdown, they consider what happens next?
  • Deborah Warner presents Arcadia – the immense open spaces of the Factory site will be transformed for one weekend only in a new sound and light installation by the theatre and opera director.

Manchester International Festival Artistic Director & Chief Executive, John McGrath said: “MIF has always been a Festival like no other – with almost all the work being created especially for us in the months and years leading up to each Festival edition. But who would have guessed two years ago what a changed world the artists making work for our 2021 Festival would be working in?”

“I am thrilled to be revealing the projects that we will be presenting from 1-18 July this year – a truly international programme of work made in the heat of the past year and a vibrant response to our times. Created with safety and wellbeing at the heart of everything, it is flexible to ever-changing circumstances, and boldly explores both real and digital space.

“We hope MIF21 will provide a time and place to reflect on our world now, to celebrate the differing ways we can be together, and to emphasise, despite all that has happened, the importance of our creative connections – locally and globally.”

For the full festival programme, please visit