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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA


By Steve Cooke

Manchester International Festival (MIF) is inviting 160 Greater Manchester residents to take part in Sea Change, an extraordinary new dance event taking place on Deansgate on Thursday 1 July, the first day of the Festival.

Together with French choreographer Boris Charmatz and his team of professional dancers, each participant will learn a series of dance movements to be performed on the spot. The audience will experience the performance by walking or even running past waves of dancers to animate the action into their very own living flipbook.

Participants will need to attend eight rehearsal sessions over ten days between Saturday 19 June and the world premiere on Thursday 1 July. No dance experience is necessary, and all fitness and mobility levels are welcome.

Greater Manchester residents are at the heart of many other events in this year’s Festival programme. Portrait of Black Britain will see 100 portraits of Black British people, including many from Manchester, displayed throughout Manchester Arndale and the city, and over 100 Greater Manchester residents are taking part in I Love You Too sharing their love stories for a new book written by eleven Manchester-based writers.

Following a public call out for Manchester-based performers, Festival Square, which will this year take place in new location Cathedral Gardens, will see a packed programme of food, drink, and free entertainment from Manchester performers alongside international artists and curated nights from Jamz Supernova, Homoelectric, Mr Scruff and DJ Paulette.

And for the first time, Manchester residents will take over the curation of the Festival’s talks and discussions series. Featuring a range of speakers, including artists, activists, key workers, campaigners, and members of the Greater Manchester community, Looking Forward to Tomorrow will explore some of the big issues of the day including the climate emergency and anti-Black racism.

John McGrath, Artistic Director of MIF says: “At MIF we have a proud tradition of creating large-scale participatory events that bring the city together – from MIF17’s catwalk celebration of local residents, What is the City But the People, to Together in One Voice, the joyous mass doorstep singalong during lockdown. This year, whether it’s dancing in the streets of Deansgate, sharing love stories, performing in Festival Square or simply enjoying the many free events and activities around the city, we hope that Greater Manchester residents will be inspired to take part and help create another celebratory moment for the city.”


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