Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Maxine Peake, Ivo Van Hove and Lolita Chakrabarti to feature in Manchester International Festival 2019 programme

Maxine Peake Maxine Peake
by -

Maxine Peake, Ivo Van Hove and Lolita Chakrabarti all feature in the programme for the Manchester International Festival 2019.

Peake has co-created The Nico Project with director Sarah Frankcom, playing tribute to the singer Nico who is known for her work with the Velvet Underground.

The Nico Project, which runs from July 10 to 20, features an all-female creative team including writer EV Crowe and composer Anna Clyne. It is jointly commissioned and produced by Manchester International Festival and the Royal Court Theatre in London.

Van Hove will bring the Internationaal Theater Amsterdam ensemble to Manchester to perform the UK premiere of The Fountainhead, billed as his “most controversial work”, which is an adaptation of Ayn Rand’s novel.

Actor Juliet Stevenson will feature in Re:creating Europe, an evening of texts and speeches that have “shaped Europe”, also directed by Van Hove and featuring the Internationaal Theater Amsterdam ensemble.

Staged every two years, MIF presents work across the performing and visual arts and pop culture.

MIF 2019, which is the second programme with John McGrath as artistic director, runs from July 4 to 21 and features artists from more than 20 countries.

Other highlights include the world premiere of Invisible Cities, inspired by the 1972 novel, which is a collaboration between choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, writer Chakrabarti, Rambert dance company and video designer Leo Warner.

Invisible Cities is described as “a wholly original mix of theatre, choreography, music, architectural design and projection mapping” which is created for Manchester’s former railway depot Mayfield. It stars Danny Sapani and Matthew Leonhart.

The programme also includes Maggie the Cat, which is a new work by American choreographer Trajal Harrell, and a new dance work from Claire Cunningham called Thank You Very Much.

Tao of Glass, which is a collaboration between composer Philip Glass and Improbable theatre company’s Phelim McDermott will receive its UK premiere at the festival, running at the Royal Exchange Theatre.

Three site-specific works have been commissioned by the festival; Utopolis Manchester by Berlin-based company Rimini Protokoll, A Drunk Pandemic by ChimPom, which is inspired by the Manchester cholera epidemic of the 1830, and The Anvil, An Elegy for Peterloo performed by theatre company Anu and the BBC Philharmonic.

The theatre programme also features the previously announced Tree by Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei Armah.

Kwame Kwei-Armah and Idris Elba to collaborate on Manchester International Festival show

MIF artistic director and chief executive McGrath said: “At MIF19 we see a whole host of artists looking to the future – some with hope, some with imagination and some with concern.

“We never impose themes on the artists we work with, but it’s striking how this year’s programme reflects our complicated times in often surprisingly joyous and unexpected ways.

“Featuring artists from more than 20 countries, the festival also has strong local roots, with several commissions featuring the people of Manchester as participants.”


Programme at a glance:

Invisible Cities by Lolita Chakrabarti

Directed by Leo Warner
July 2 to 14

The Fountainhead

Directed by Ivo Van Hove
July 10 to 13
The Lowry

Maggie the Cat by Trajal Harrell

July 11 to 14
The Dancehouse

The Nico Project by Maxine Peake and Sarah Frankcom

July 10 to 20
Cheltham’s School of Music

Thank You Very Much by Claire Cunningham

July 17 to 20
Ukranian Cultural Centre

Tao of Glass by Philip Glass and Phelim McDermott

July 11 to 20
Royal Exchange Theatre

Utopolis Manchester by Rimini Protokoll

July 10 to 13
Multiple locations in Manchester City Centre

A Drunk Pandemic by ChimPom and Contact Young Curators

July 5 to 21
A secret location

The Anvil, An Elegy for Peterloo by Emily Howard and Michael Symmons Roberts

July 7
The Bridgewater Hall



We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.