Manchester International Festival to Feature Works By Wainwright, Barrett and Bartlett

News   Manchester International Festival to Feature Works By Wainwright, Barrett and Bartlett
The second Manchester International Festival, which is devoted to presenting original, new work and special events and was launched in 2007 as an artist-led, commissioning festival, will feature a new opera composed by Rufus Wainwright, as well as a new show created by BBC filmmaker Adam Curtis and Punchdrunk's artistic director Felix Barrett with music composed by Damon Albarn.

The Royal Exchange Theatre in the city will be transformed into a working bingo hall for a specially commissioned new work, whose creative team includes Neil Bartlett (responsible for the 2007 MIF hit The Pianist). The Massachusetts-based Young@Heart Chorus will return to the U.K. with their latest show. This year's festival will run July 2-19.

Wainwright's opera, Prima Donna, will be performed at the Palace Theatre on July 10, 12, 14, 17 and 19 under the direction of Daniel Kramer. Set in Paris on Bastille Day, 1970, the production revolves around Régine Saint Laurent, once the world's most revered operatic soprano, who is preparing for her return to the stage after six years of silence. But in doing so, she is forced to confront the ghosts of her past. Can she defeat the demons that destroyed her career, and emerge triumphantly once more into the spotlight? The cast will include Janis Kelly as Régine, and also feature Jonathan Summers, Rebecca Bottone and William Joyner. The production is designed by Antony McDonald and conducted by Pierre-André Valade.

Punchdrunk's Felix Barrett, who recently co-directed Stoppard/Previn's Every Good Boy Deserves Favour at the National's Olivier Theatre, is creating It Felt Like a Man with BBC filmmaker Adam Curtis and featuring original music by Damon Albarn, and recorded performance by Albarn and the Kronos Quartet. Unfolding over several empty floors of a disused building (in Hardman Square, Spinningfields), for a run from July 2-19, audiences of eight people at a time will experience the show, which will begin every ten minutes during performance slots. It tells the story of America's rise to power in the golden age of pop and the unforeseen consequences it had on the world and in our minds. Described in press materials as a "ghost-walk," it takes audiences on a journey from 1959 to 1969, a decade that saw America rise to supreme power in the world.

Everybody Loves a Winner, commissioned and produced by MIF and the Royal Exchange Theatre, will see the latter transformed into a working bingo hall, running July 1-18. Created by Neil Bartlett (writer and director), Simon Deacon (music) and Struan Leslie (movement), who previously collaborated on Oliver Twist, it delves beneath the surface of a day in the life of a Manchester bingo hall. Audiences can play for cash prizes – or simply watch a night of eyes-down-action unfold. The cast will icnldue Sally Lindsay ("Coronation Street") and Ian Pulveston-Davies ("Funland").

The Young @ Heart chorus, whose previous shows Road to Heaven and Road to Nowhere have toured the world from 1997 to 2007, will return to Britain with their latest show, End of the Road by No Theater, running at the Bruntwood Theatre at the Royal Northern College of Music from July 11-18. The current chorus range in age from 73 to 89, and their new show – created specially for the festival under the direction of Roy Faudree – will blend songs by everyone from Buzzcocks to Bruce Springstreen. To book tickets contact the box office at 0844 815 4960 or visit

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