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Manchester International Festival starts tomorrow with loads of exciting free events to explore

Here’s what’s on…

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Manchester International Festival

It’s what we’ve all been waiting for – after weeks of build up, the highly anticipated Manchester International Festival 2021 is officially launching tomorrow.

Running for over two weeks until July 18th, the annual festival boasts a whole array of exciting and – most importantly – free events for people from all over the region to take part in and enjoy. 

And, to kick start the festivities tomorrow, MIF is pulling out all the stops with a spectacular dance performance takeover down Deansgate.

@mifestival / Instagram

Described as a ‘human flip book sprung to life on the streets of Manchester’, Sea Change will feature 150 of Greater Manchester’s residents in a beautiful celebration of post-lockdown life, choreographed by French choreographer Boris Charmatz. 

Sea Change will fill Deansgate with a chain of both professional and non-professional dancers, each performing and repeating a section of unique choreography.

Rather than the work moving on in front of you, it’ll be up to you to ‘move on’ the work: walking or even running past waves of dancers to animate the action into your very own living flip book.

@mifestival / Instagram

Charmatz said of the immersive performance: “Designed as both a large festive gathering and a work of art, Sea Change works on two levels: viewers will perceive a single organism, one single continuous movement made by the many, and each participant singularly embodying the piece.”

Sea Change is completely free to attend, but tickets are required – get yours here.

And that is only the beginning – throughout the next few weeks, MIF will be hosting a whole array of exciting and free events, performances and exhibitions.

Festival Square, the home of the entire event, will be taking over Manchester’s Cathedral Gardens where there will be a whole array of food and drink stalls and free entertainment from international artists and Greater Manchester-based performers – including curated nights from Jamz Supernova, Homoelectric, Mr Scruff and DJ Paulette.

@mifestival / Instagram

There will also be the Global Playground, an uplifting new show mixing dance, music, theatre and puppetry tailored specifically for children and family audiences.

On the artistry front, guests can enjoy a whole array of cultured and thought-provoking exhibitions, such as the Portrait of Black Britain –  a powerful and timely exhibition by artist, activist and campaigner Cephas Williams posing a timely and poignant question: ‘What does it mean to be Black, living in the UK?’ This will be found in the Manchester Arndale. 

Captioning the City will also give residents the opportunity to explore around the city centre and experience Manchester in a whole new dimension.

To see the whole list of events taking place over the next few weeks and to book tickets, visit the official Manchester International Festival website here.

What's On

LS Lowry’s Sunday Afternoon painting to go on public display for first time in 57 years

It will go on display for the first time in 57 years before it goes to auction

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Christie's

LS Lowry’s painting Sunday Afternoon is to go on public display for the first time in 57 years.

The painting, worth more than £4 million will go on display in Christie’s London on March 13th before it goes to auction on March 20th.

Lowry, who was born in Stretford in 1887, painted industrial districts in Greater Manchester and around the North West. He mainly depicted Salford in his works.

Christie’s

Laurence Stephen Lowry’s Sunday Afternoon illustrates a densely populated industrial landscape, which shows what Lowry described as the ‘battle of life’. 

Before his death in 1976 at the age of 88, Lowry produced more than 1,000 artworks.

Auctioneers expect the painting to go for between £4 million and £6 million at the Modern British and Irish Art Evening Sale on March 20th.

Wally Gobetz / Flickr

The artwork was previously sold at the Christies in 1967 for a ‘record price’ and was obtained from the collection of Keith Showering, who was a former chief executive of Europe’s biggest drinks business Allied Breweries.

Phillip Harley, senior director at Christie’s, said: “Sunday Afternoon by LS Lowry will return to the public eye at Christie’s for the first time since it was last seen here 57 years ago.

“This important painting has remained in the collection of Sir Keith and Lady Showering since 1967, offering a once-in-a-generation opportunity to acquire a work of this magnitude and scale.

Gerald England / Geograph

“The composition represents the wonder the artist felt as he recorded his many observations of the evolving society around him.

“We are thrilled to bring Sunday Afternoon back to auction in the Modern British and Irish Art Evening Sale. We look forward to welcoming our clients and visitors alike to view the painting when it goes on free display in London on 13 March.”

LS Lowry’s Sunday Afternoon will go on public display at the Christie’s London from March 13th to 20th.

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Justin Timberlake announces Manchester show as part of huge world tour

Timberlake will bring his tour to Manchester’s huge new music arena in August 2024

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Co-op Live

Justin Timberlake has announced the much anticipated European and UK leg of his momentous The Forget Tomorrow World Tour – and he’s coming to Manchester.

The ‘Cry Me A River’, ‘SexyBack’ and ‘Rock Your Body’ hitmaker will perform live on stage at the huge brand new indoor music arena Co-op Live this summer.

Timberlake will tour at three UK arenas including Utilita Arena, Birmingham on August 7th, Co-op Live, Manchester on August 8th and The O2, London on August 11th 2024.

Co-op Live

Fans can expect to dance along to their all-time favourite Timberlake hits along with songs from his forthcoming new album Everything I Thought It Was such as ‘Selfish’ and his latest single ‘Drown’ out now. 

His sixth studio album Everything I Thought It Was will be out on March 15th.

Last month, Timberlake dropped his single and music video ‘Selfish’, which garnered over 57 million worldwide streams and over 14 million views on YouTube. 

The former Disney and NSYNC star also made a special musical guest performance on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, where he performed his single ‘Selfish’ and ‘Sanctified’, featuring Tobe Nwigwe.

Co-op Live

Throughout his career, Justin Timberlake has sold over 54 million albums and 63 million singles globally, and a further 70 million records as the lead vocalist of NSYNC.

He’s won ten GRAMMY Awards across the pop, dance and R&B genres, including his successful solo albums Man of the Woods, The 20/20 Experience, FutureSex/LoveSounds, and his debut solo album, Justified – as well as his collaborations with Jay-Z.

Co-op Live – Europe’s most sustainable music-first arena – is edging closer to its official opening in April this year, when a diverse range of global superstars will head to Manchester.

Expected to be the busiest UK arena opening season ever, Co-op Live will host 25 shows within its first month of opening. 

Co-op Live

A joint venture between Oak View Group and City Football Group and backed by pop-singer Harry Styles, Co-op Live has been designed to transform the live music experience for both artists and fans and is set to host some of the biggest acts from around the globe.

Co-op Members will be first in-line with exclusive access to presale tickets along with other exclusive benefits. 

Presale tickets to see Justin Timberlake perform at Co-op Live in Manchester this August will be available at 10am on February 28th, 2024. You can get presale tickets by signing up to be a Co-op Member HERE.

General onsale tickets go live at 10am on March 1st.

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What's On

Europe’s biggest Irish Festival returns to Manchester with live music and epic parade

Come along for the craic!

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Democracy / Press photo & Engin Akyurt / Pexels

The Manchester Irish Festival celebrating the culture and heritage of the Emerald Isle is set to descend on the city again next month.

Ten days of Irish revelry will take over the city from March 8th-17th, shining a light on its vibrant community and flooding the city with live music and dancing, including the ‘best St Patrick’s Day celebrations outside of Ireland’. 

Manchester’s Irish Festival is Europe’s biggest Irish festival, hosting 200 events across the city including a lively pop-up festival village, a legendary parade with more than 30 colourful and impressive floats featuring dancers and bands, through to a 12-hour St Patrick’s Day party. 

Colin Home / Press photo

With so many activities and events available, here are the top 10 you won’t want to miss: 

  • The Irish Parade

The Irish World Heritage Centre will once again provide the starting point for this year’s Irish Parade, happening on March 10th from 12pm. 

The parade will return to its full glory, with incredible floats featuring hundreds of people showcasing the culture, heritage, sounds and joy of the Manchester Irish community. 

Local organisations and communities will be flying their county flags and Manchester’s vast array of Irish dance teams will dazzle spectators with glittering costumes, as marching bands bring the sounds of the Emerald Isle to the streets of Manchester.

Manchester’s Finest Group

The route will see the parade – sponsored by local Irish construction group Blue Central – travel along Cheetham Hill Road, to the AO Arena, passing Manchester Fort, before turning around, and heading back to the Irish World Heritage Centre – lasting approximately two hours. 

  • Irish Festival Village

All roads lead to the Irish Festival Village – filled with vibrant pop-up venues on St Ann’s Square, all taking place under a huge tent.

Visitors can expect the best of live Irish music, a huge screen showing Ireland’s Six Nations games, Manchester’s creamiest pint of Guinness and mouth watering Irish-themed food. The Irish Festival Village launches on the 8th March and will run right up to St Patrick’s Day, on March 17th.

Marco d’Itri / Flickr
  • Ceili-Cise

This Ceili-Cise dancing class for adults promises a fun and friendly atmosphere for beginners. Based in Levenshulme’s Klondyke, anyone can join this event which will take place from 5:30pm on March 11th. 

  • St Patrick’s Day at O’Sheas

Manchester’s iconic Irish bar is back with a huge day of shenanigans for St Patrick’s Day. Entry during the day is free with their famous Irish Breakfast served from 10am and the very best of live music throughout the day from Lochin, Joe Keegan and Green Hot Clover. 

  • Damien Dempsey

After a triumphant run of sold out Summer dates across Ireland last year, Irish sensation, Damien Dempsey has announced a tour for March 2024 with dates in England and Scotland including performing at the Manchester Club Academy on Saturday, March 9th. 

@osheasirishbar / Instagram
  • John McSherry Trio performance

Hailed as a ‘true master’ of music according to Irish Music Magazine, John McSherry will launch ‘Féile’, the live debut album of the John McSherry Trio. Watch them perform on March 17th, at 8pm at Band on the Wall. 

  • Palace Nightclub Reunion Quiz

This event is a reunion for Palace nightclub in Levenshulme that opened in 1989. The Irish Club hosted some of the biggest names in Irish Entertainment, and this quiz night will be hosted in Hennigan’s Sports Bar – just a stone’s throw away from the original nightclub. This will take place from 7pm on March 12th. 

@osheasirishbar / Instagram
  • Irish National Studies Conference

Attend talks from social historians and more, providing a space to learn and network. Centred at the Irish World Heritage Centre from 9am, this day exploring identity will be accompanied by Irish music from the McGuire family. 

  • Limerick Competition

A limerick competition is a fun event to get the whole family involved in. On March 13th, the Bowling Green, in Chorlton, will be hosting this competition, so brush up on some Edward Lear and give it a go. 

Mikey / Flickr
  •  St Patricks Day at Rustik West Didsbury

Venture outside of the City Centre to West Didsbury and you’ll come across Rusitk, the only place to be around St Patricks Day if you’re on Burton Road. Two weeks of non stop live music, the Cheltenham festival races, mouth-watering food and creamy pints of Guinness. Events happening from March 12th – 17th.

Sláinte!

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