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Manchester International Festival 2023 including highlights

Celebrating Creativity and Diversity at Manchester International Festival

Every two years, Manchester becomes a hub for creativity, creative industries, and cultural exchange with the arrival of the Manchester International Festival (MIF). Founded in 2007, MIF is a forward-thinking festival that celebrates the best of arts and culture from around the world as well as sharing the event with the local residents

The Origins of MIF

MIF was founded by a group of artists, producers and cultural leaders with the goal of creating a new kind of festival that would bring together art forms and artists from around the world. The first festival, held in 2007, was a resounding success, cementing Manchester’s reputation as a center for the arts. A way for people to showcase original new work and a great place for live performance.

Since then, MIF has become an eagerly anticipated event for both locals and visitors from around the world. The festival has hosted world premiers of incredible works by renowned artists from across multiple disciplines.

Diversity and Inclusivity at MIF

One of the most impressive aspects of MIF is its commitment to promoting diversity and inclusivity in the arts. The festival showcases a wide range of artists from diverse backgrounds, with an emphasis on elevating voices that are typically underrepresented in the mainstream arts scene.

In addition to promoting diversity in the arts, MIF also focuses on making the festival accessible and inclusive to everyone. The organization offers discounted tickets and special accommodations for disabled visitors, as well as programming specifically aimed at families and young people.

Highlights from MIF

Over the years, MIF has played host to some unforgettable performances and exhibitions. Some highlights from past festivals include “Tree” by Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah, “Returning to Reims” by Thomas Ostermeier, and “The Machine Stops” by Edward Morgan Forster.

The 2023 edition of MIF and Factory International is also shaping up to be one of the best yet, with a diverse lineup of performances and exhibitions from artists from around the world.

Highlights for MIF 2023


Yayoi Kusama: You, me, and the balloons

Date: 30 Jun- 28 Aug 2023

Price: Tickets from £7.50-£15

Location: Factory International


The largest-ever immersive environment line up that Yayoi Kusama has ever created is coming to Manchester at Factory International. MIF will celebrate 3 decades of the Japanese artist’s inflatable artworks. All are being brought together for the 1st time in this exhibition.

Kusamas psychedelic creations- many of them over 10m tall including giant dolls. spectacular tendrilled landscapes and polka dot spheres.



Date: 29 Jun- 9 Jul 2023

Price: £28

Location: Versa Manchester Studios,

3 Goods Yards St, Manchester, M3 3BG


Groundbreaking mixed reality concert event by legendary composer and musician Ryuichi Sakamoto in collaboration with Tin Drum (the world’s premier studio producing content for mixed reality devices)

Audiences will be invited to wear optically transparent devices to view the virtual Sakamoto perform on piano alongside dimensional art, aligned with the music.

Image of Janelle Monae who is a black singer songwriter. She has long black hair and appears to be naked from the shoulders upwheres. She is also wearing a massive straw hat which is in a natural texture

Janelle Monae

Date: 30 Jun- 2 Jul 2023

Price: £45

Location: The Hall, Factory international,

Water St, Manchester, M34JQ


Monae is in Manchester for a 3-night residency after an amazing 2019 performance at MIF. She will be the 1st musician to perform at MIF23 at The Hall, Factory International.

Janelle fuses a music blend of genres including soul, funk, hiphop and new wave with big concepts and slick pop productions, a must see for sure.

A image of a half man half robot. The man is sat in a chair with his head learning backwards. He is dressed in a costume with almost like mechanical fly proportions

Benji Reid: Find Your Eyes

Date: 12-16 Jul 2023

Price: £26

Location: Manchester Academy 1, Oxford Road

Manchester, M139PR


Benji Reid,  a choreo- photolist combines photography, choreography and theatre to make striking and surreal images which speak to his experiences as a Black man in the UK today.

Find Your Eyes is a show which exposes the making of this work – a behind-the-scenes look at Benji’s life and practice where the stage becomes a studio.

Choreographing three performers, Benji will create live photographs in front of an audience interlaced with recollections from his life.

Using photography as a lifeline and anchor point to explore personal struggles, this is a show about the artistic process. Bold and vulnerable, full of light and shade, Find Your Eyes is an ode to reinvention.

Lazerian has worked with Benji before and will also be creating several pieces for this show.

A silhouette of a Eastern women with a bun in her hair and chopsticks coming out. Within the image is the face in red of a Asian woman focuses on her eyes. The rest of the background is in yellow

Untitled F*ck M*ss S**gon Play

Dates: 24 Jul-16 Jul 2023

Location: Royal Exchange theatre, St Ann’s Square, M2 7DH


With breathless hilarity, Kimber Lee’s untitled f*ck m*ss s**gon play jumps through time – wriggling inside of and then exploding lifetimes of repeating Asian stereotypes, wrestling history for the right to control your own narrative in a world that thinks it can tell you who you are.

Winner of the inaugural Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting 2019, International Award, this powerful world premiere is directed by Roy Alexander Weise (The Mountaintop) for the Royal Exchange Theatre as part of MIF23.


Manchester International Festival is an incredible celebration of creativity and diversity. By showcasing artists from around the globe, the festival creates opportunities for cultural exchange and cross-pollination, leading to greater understanding and appreciation of the arts. We can’t wait to see what incredible new works are debuted at the next edition.