Manchester International Festival

This year’s edition makes a welcome turn towards community engagement, says Tom Emery

By Tom Emery

Susan Hefuna, ToGather, 2017. Photo: David Oates. COurtesy Manchester International Festival Yael Bartana, What if Women Ruled the World?, 2017, Manchester International Festival 2017. Photo: Tristram Kenton True Faith, 2017, True Faith, 2017, installation view at Manchester Art Gallery. Courtesy Manchester International Festival 2017 Liam Gillick, AC/DC Joy Division House, 2016, scale model of a social centre for teenagers for Milan 1993. Courtesy Esther Schipper, Berlin and Maureen Paley, London Mark Leckey, Dream English Kid, 1964 - 1999 AD, 2015, 4:3 film, 5.1 surround sound, 23 mins. Courtesy the artist and Cabinet, London Graham Eatough and Stephen Sutcliffe, No End to Enderby, 2015 (detail). Photo: Donald Christie. Courtesy Manchester International Festival 2017 Graham Eatough and Stephen Sutcliffe, No End to Enderby (still), 2017. Photo: Dressing room. Courtesy Manchester International Festival 2017 Samson Young, One of Two Stories, or Both (Field Bagatelles), 2017, part installation at the CFCCA, part radio drama broadcast online and on FM. Photo: Donald Christie. Courtesy Manchester International Festival 2017 Phil Collins, Ceremony, 2017, artist to transport decommissioned statue of Freidrich Engels from Russia to Manchester. Photo: Yevgen Nikiforov

The sixth biennial Manchester International Festival is the first under the directorship of John McGrath, who brings his earlier background in community engagement with National Theatre Wales to bear at MIF. There’s thankfully an absence of high-profile names, such as Marina Abramović, making repeat appearances and overall there is a feeling that the festival is making a fresh start, opening itself up to new ideas.One of the unqualified successes of McGrath’s new tenure is Susan Hefuna’s ToGather (2017), a series…

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