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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA


Musician, storyteller, actor and activist Riz Ahmed has announced a one-off livestream performance of The Long Goodbye on 19 December 2020.

Developed especially for the digital realm and presented in binaural sound, the online performance is a companion piece to the live stage show commissioned by Manchester International Festival (MIF) and Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), originally due to premiere in Manchester in March 2020 before COVID-19 led to its postponement until 2021 (exact dates to be announced).

Following on from his acclaimed recent album The Long Goodbye, a close-up look at the breakup of a toxic relationship with the country you call home, Ahmed’s livestreamed performance will blend storytelling, music, archive footage and immersive sound to guide audiences through an emotional landscape. Unravelling the album tracks, it tells the story of this moment through a personal journey and asks: ‘how did we get here?’ It is performed by Ahmed and directed by writer and director Kirsty Housley (Tao of Glass, MIF19), with creative direction from Andrea Gelardin and Sound Design from Gareth Fry.

The online performance of The Long Goodbye will be livestreamed on Saturday 19 December 2020 (time TBA) presented by WeTransfer. Tickets will go on sale via on Tuesday 1 December.

Mark Ball, Creative Director at Manchester International Festival & The Factory says:

“This online companion performance will be a very different experience to The Long Goodbye live stage show which we are planning to bring to Manchester next year, but the energy, emotions and themes of Riz Ahmed’s words are ever resonant with these times, and we’re delighted to be able to continue our journey with this extraordinary performer.”

Manchester International Festival (MIF) and Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) are working to reschedule a new date for the world-premiere of The Long Goodbye live stage show in 2021.

Mongrel Records also released a brand new Riz Ahmed track today Once Kings, produced by Ben Khan and CID RIM and accompanied by a video directed by Myriam Raja and edited by Chloe Hardwick. The Once Kings video incorporates exclusive clips from the highly anticipated new film Mogul Mowgli - also out now – interspersed with archival footage from Riz’s own childhood, to spellbinding effect.

Manchester International Festival (MIF) was founded as the world’s first festival of original, new work and special events and is an artist-led festival reflecting the spectrum of performing arts, visual arts and popular culture.

Staged every two years in Manchester, MIF has commissioned, produced and presented world premieres by artists including Marina Abramović, Damon Albarn, Laurie Anderson, Björk, Boris Charmatz, Jeremy Deller, Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah, Elbow, Philip Glass and Phelim McDermott, David Lynch, Wayne McGregor, Steve McQueen, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Yoko Ono, Thomas Ostermeier, Maxine Peake, Punchdrunk, Skepta, The xx, Robert Wilson and Zaha Hadid Architects.

These and other world-renowned artists from different art forms and backgrounds create dynamic, innovative and forward-thinking new work, staged in venues across Greater Manchester – from theatres, galleries and concert halls to railway depots, churches and car parks. MIF works closely with venues, festivals and other cultural organisations globally, whose financial and creative input helps to make many of these projects possible and ensures that work made at MIF goes on to be seen around the world.

MIF supports a year-round Creative Engagement programme, bringing opportunities for people from all backgrounds, ages and from all corners of the city to get involved during the Festival and year-round, as volunteers, as participants in shows, through skills development and a host of creative activities, such as Festival in My House.

MIF will also run The Factory, the new world-class cultural space currently being built in the heart of Manchester and designed by internationally-renowned architects Rem Koolhaas’ Office for Metropolitan Architecture. The Factory will commission, present and produce a year-round programme, featuring new work from the world’s greatest artists and offering a space to make, explore and experiment. Attracting up to 850,000 visitors annually, The Factory will add £1.1 billion to the economy and create 1,500 jobs. Its pioneering programme of skills, training and engagement will benefit local people and the next generation of creative talent from across the city, whilst apprenticeships and trainee schemes are already underway during the construction phase.

MIF’s Artistic Director and Chief Executive is John McGrath.

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