Manchester International Festival: MM’s five must see…

The Manchester International Festival returns this year and with it brings a whole host of artists, films and exhibitions.

Here are the top five things to look out for over the 18 days as stars from far and wide descend upon Manchester from July 4-21.

David Lynch 

Often credited as one of the greatest directors of this era, Manchester International Festival will live and breathe Lynch for 18 days.

HOME will house the first UK exhibition of Lynch’s paintings, drawings and sculptures. In the theatre there will be one-off live shows from musicians inspired by Lynch.

Screenings will be held of Lynch’s classic films, rare film shorts and films that influenced him. So every day, for 18 days give yourself a present and head to Manchester International Festival and appreciate all things Lynch.

Janelle Monae

She’s unique, unapologetic and can rock a tux. Singer, song-writer, producer, actress, Janelle Monae is a woman of many talents.

Her critically acclaimed album “Dirty Computer” saw her enter into the consciousness of the masses. Making her Manchester International Festival debut, in a one-off open-air concert. You’d be crazy to miss this musical sensation.

Abida Parveen

Dubbed the Queen of Sufi Music, Abida Parveen is truly a trailblazer. A household name in her native Pakistan, having enchanted the masses for over four decades, she is a woman dominating in a man’s world.

Her performances are energetic and impassioned, she takes the audience on a personal journey, often spiritual. She will be joined by Nahid Siddiqui a legend of South Asian classical dance on Friday July 5 at the Lowry.

Ibrahim Mahama, Parliament of Ghost – Ghana a former British colony having received its independence only 60 years ago, however the road from colony to democracy was never easy.

Independence soon saw political instability with military coups and economic decline. This exhibition takes you through a country rich in history.

Abandoned trains seats, scrapped school furniture and faded railway sleepers, this collective of lost objects, rescued and repurposed items opens a door to a world often forgotten and frequently misrepresented.

Beauty in its simplest form, see Ghana through the eyes of those who lived its history at the Whitworth.


Tells the story of Kaleo and his journey to his homeland, South Africa. It documents the struggles of a shattered family and the attempts of one man to right the wrongs of the past.

Directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah, Artistic Director of London’s Young Vic, this performance blends drama, dance and music, inspired by Idris Elba’s album Mi Mandela to give the audience a thought-provoking story.

Other things to look out for include Yoko Ono, Trajal Harrell – Maggie The Cat and Skepta. More info here:

Image courtesy of Manchester International Festival via Twitter, with thanks.

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