Manchester City Council

The Final Curtain

Well for the next two years anyway. The 4th Manchester International Festival comes to an end this weekend and what a fantastic festival it has been and what a fabulous showcase for the city. The weather has helped of course and Festival Square aka Albert Square has been full from noon till late night every day of the last two weeks, indeed at times so full that people have had to queue to get in. It has been a very different programme to previous festivals, a far more serious one in keeping with the times, and one that makes you think, that generates discussion and debate.

Serious but not dour. The imagination and creativity is at least the equal of previous festivals, but it has perhaps now matured, and unquestionably enhances the global standing of the city. The revues have been many and largely good to brilliant. Obviously a number of events such as Kenneth Branagh in Macbeth (coming to a cinema near you tomorrow night) have grabbed the headlines but the festival is much, much more than a few high-profile shows, important though they are. There is local involvement notably in the army of volunteers but also in the performances so a special mention for Manchester and the Festival's very own Sacred Voices choir. The festival has used some fascinating venues, the Albert Hall, Upper Campfield Market and the Mayfield Depot.

There's stuff for kids. There's stuff that is totally off the wall. There’s stuff for free.

If you've not caught any of the festival yet there is still time and if you struggle to get tickets for the remaining shows there is lots of stuff for free, the Biospheric Project at Irwell House in Salford, Do It at the City Art Gallery, and at the Mayfield Depot, Marten Spangberg's Epic and Tino Sehgal's This Variation. A warning, you might have to queue for the last of these, but it would be worth it.

We normally get a full evaluation of the festival in the autumn - ticket sales, attendances, visitors to the city especially international visitors, media coverage and so on, but I'm already looking forward to 2015 and MIF 5.

There are 6 responses to “The Final Curtain”

  1. Ian Sawyer Says:

    Have been honoured and priveleged that Ancoats has been given a high profile with the return of Sir Kenneth Branagh to a Shakespeare role. I was fortunate enough to see Macbeth, courtesy of my landlord Northwards Housing and have a tour of the set. I also met Macduff walking to the venue on Blossom Street what a treat that was. It's been a special 2 weeks. Thank you

  2. Janine Says:

    Congratulations to everyone involved, and to the city for having the foresight and determination to support. It's been a fab three weeks, we've had friends from all over the world who have been so impressed, and we've bumped into so many old friends and made so many new ones in Albert Square. The icing on the cake has been getting the tram home. Well done to you all, Janine and Dario.

  3. Deep Blue Says:

    The Machine at Campfield Market Hall was excellent, great venue (though a little bit too much street sound snipping in!) and a great unique show that was really enjoyable, very hot - but I for one will not complain about that.
    MIF does seem great but also will be good to have Alberty Square empty for a little bit!: can I ask if there should be (is there?) some sort of statute stating that Albert Square has to remain empty for X% of the year? although the festivals/markets etc etc use is great, it seems that the building/unbuilding on the square should be considered (expensive!); perhaps more use of 'permanent' venues would be more appropriate, and it is not just expense.. it is nice to have Albert Square open as a public space from time to time (new benches needed at some point too please!) and with the number of events held there possibly decisions re its yearly use needs to be looked at for the future.

  4. Sam Says:

    Yes, congratulations on the MIF, creative and coherent. Not a description that could be applied to the Day Services Review that will shortly hit your Executive. Take some time to read this appalling review and excuse for a consultation, ask who wrote this report and what do they know? What do they know of living with brain damage and dementia? Day Support is not simply about rights to leisure and social activities – it delivers vital support to Carers, protecting their health and capacity to care, particularly to those who care for partners with dementia. Do these subjects even get a mention? – This report is flawed – pull it!

  5. unrelated point Says:

    Please use your power to stand against the Police Commissioners aim to get himself a Deputy; talking about potential waste; he just needs to get on with his job!
    any response to the interesting posts re Albert Square and that report on day Services Sir Leese? thanks

  6. Anon Says:

    Was indeed a great festival and some really enjoyable events. Can I make a plea for 2015 though - I work in an office in Piccadilly and as was the case with many of my colleagues, you simply wouldn't know anything was on. No signage, no banners, no branding and no overt publicity. For the single busiest place in the city that represents a big missed opportunity. So let's try to spread the festival atmosphere far beyond Albert Square next time please?



The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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