Manchester International Festival and the Not Part Of go head to head as the city goes culture crazy

By Amy Senior

Manchester International Festival (MIF) hit its third year full swing last week, already proving successful as sales increased 20% from previous years.

The diverse festival was suitably sparked off by Bjork with the first night of her characteristically eccentric tour ‘Biophilia’ running until July 17.

Audience members described her as spectacular and beautiful but the singer is just one component of this year’s festival and its old fringe friend ‘Not Part Of’.

Not Part Of has unofficially sistered the main festival since its birth in 2007 and although many people first saw it as anti MIF it actually enhances it by exhibiting more independent artists and events.

A spokesperson for MIF said: “The good thing about MIF and ‘Not Part Of’ is they complement each other so well, all of our events are curated but they’re all inclusive.”

She added: “We bring together really interesting people and events you wouldn’t expect to see.”


Mancunian Matters are peeking into the assortment events both festivals have to offer this year and for those burdened with an indecisive nature here are some of our suggestions:

Manchester International Festival

Victoria Wood’s That Day We Sang  – a Manchester love story (with singing), Opera House July 6th-17th.  Tickets £16 – £36:

It’s 1969 and two fifty-something Mancunians, Tubby and Enid, are looking to recapture who they once were as they mark the 40th anniversary of their triumphant performance as members of Manchester School Children’s Choir alongside the famous Halle Orchestra.


11 Rooms, Manchester Art Gallery July 9th – 17th.  Free:

This has attracted the attention and energy of the international art world to Manchester by bringing together some of the most interesting and creative performance artists and dividing them into 11 brief encounters for intrigued audiences.  A notable appearance from Marina Abramovic also starring in her biographical play, The life and Death of Marina Abramovic,  alongside big-screen star Willem Dafoe for MIF 2011.


True Faith, Albert Square Pavilion Theatre July 4th – 13th. Tickets £5:

Up close interviews with Manchester icons from back in the day, including Bernard Sumner of Joy Division/New Order fame and Magazine/Bad Seeds bass player Barry Adamson, followed by live sessions with Manchester’s up and coming acts handpicked by ex Hacienda DJ and author Dave Haslam. A steal for music lovers who’ll get a down to earth, intimate encounter with some of the most influential figures on the city’s music scene, and some live music to boot!

And if you’re simply too busy or if funds are limited swing by MIF’s Albert Square for a few drinks, a bite and an old-fashioned atmosphere soak-up.



Not Part Of

 Princess Dee – The Diana Story Retold, the Lass O’Gowrie July 6th and 7th.  Tickets £4-£5:

A play which has deservedly snapped up a coveted spot at the Lass O’Gowrie which has provided a hub of great events and exhibitions for Not Part Of this year.   Written and performed by Carly Tarett, the story unfolds the life of Dee who is trapped in her South London housing estate and suffering from overbearing in laws and a failing marriage.

Trivial Persecution with Pico, Sand Bar July 10th £1 entry:

For those with a quizzical mind of the quite literal sense then why not try the beloved British pub quiz but with a different spin.  Subject matter is described as ‘high culture meets anything 80s and fun’.  Entertainment from puppet legend Pico of Puppetual Motion.

Freestyle Fictionary, Sand Bar July 13th.  Free:

Think 8 Mile meets Mock The Week.  Four razor-sharp MCs battle it out in rhyme, beats and laughs.  Audience are turned to for inspiration and mad ad-lib games ensue such as ‘Run-DMC Round’ and ‘Rhyme Date’ a rapping Blind Date spin but perhaps less Sunday night family fun and more Hip Hop satire.

These are just a snippet of events which caught our eye so for more information on both festivals please visit their websites:

B OF THE BANG: Bjork kicked off the festival in her typically unusual and avant-garde way


Other related stories:


Off-shoot fringe event called ‘Not Part of Manchester International Festival’ aims to showcase hidden talent


Related Articles