A year ago the city was enjoying a magnificent third Manchester International Festival, and although it's another year before the next festival, the last one is still busy putting Manchester on the national and international map.
One of the many strengths of the festival has been co-commissioning, sharing production costs with other venues and festivals around the world. The financial benefits of that are pretty obvious, particularly in these austere times, but there are artistic and promotional benefits too. Greater exposure makes involvement more attractive for top rank artists, shows get to be seen in more places, and take with them the Manchester International Festival branding.
Life and Death of Marina Abramovic has already been to Madrid, Basle and Amsterdam, and this week is in Antwerp. Crash of the Elyssium has been busy all around the UK and is currently in Ipswich. The English National Opera opened Dr Dee this week at the London Colisseum as part of London 2012 Festival, and the co-commissioning role of our festival is fully acknowledged, including on the front of the programme. Of course this works both ways, the festivals co-commissioning partners also benefit from cost sharing and have the potential to widen their audiences, but from a Manchester perspective and particularly from that of the Council's financial contribution, we are still getting a very significant return on our investment.