New Musical Among Collaborations at Manchester International Festival

News   New Musical Among Collaborations at Manchester International Festival
Manchester International Festival of plays has announced a series of theatre commissions for the 2015 festival, including collaborations with Charlotte Rampling, Maxine Peake and Damon Albarn, and creative teams that include the National's new artistic director Rufus Norris and composer Nico Muhly., a new musical inspired by Lewis Carroll's iconic "Alice in Wonderland," will begin performances at Manchester's Palace Theatre June 29 prior to an official opening July 2 for a run through July12. Ithas music by Damon Albarn and book and lyrics by Moira Buffini and is directed by the National's incoming artistic director Rufus Norris.

Neck in the Woods will be presented at Manchester's HOME, a new centre for international contemporary theatre and other art forms, beginning performances July 10 for 7 performance through July 18. It is created by Turner Prize-winning artist Douglas Gordon, celebrated pianist Hélène Grimaud, New York- based novelist and playwright Veronica Gonzalez Peña and actress Charlotte Rampling.

It is described in press materials as "a portrait of the wolf brought to life in a startling collision of visual art, music and theatre", and will feature Charlotte Rampling reciting and performing the story of the wolf as never before. Grimaud will curate and perform a series of works for piano, while Gordon will create the visual world. Rampling made her theatre debut to great acclaim in 2003 in Petits Crimes Conjugaux at Paris’ Theatre Eduoard VII. Other stage credits include The False Servant (National Theatre), Strindberg’s The Dance of Death (Théâtre de la Madeleine, Paris) and The Night Dances (international tour).

Caryl Churchill's The Skriker will begin performances at the Royal Exchange Theatre July 1 for a run through July 18. It will reunite actress Maxine Peake and director Sarah Frankcom, who collaborated on The Masque of Anarchy at the 2013 festival and last year did a production of Hamlet at the Royal Exchange. The 1994 play is described as a collision of ancient fairy story and portrait of a fractured England. It will feature specially commissioned music by Nico Muhly and Antony. It has been commissioned and produced by Manchester International Festival and the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.

Alban and Norris previously worked together on Dr Dee that was premiered at the Manchester International Festival in 2011 before transferring to the London Coliseum. Co-produced by Manchester International Festival and the National Theatre (where it will play in November), it was commissioned by Manchester International Festival, National Theatre and the Théâtre du Châtelet (where it will play in 2016). In a press statement, Albarn has commented, "I’m fascinated by the idea of going down a rabbit hole, the otherworldliness and what that might mean. Alice aside, The Queen of Hearts, The Duchess, White Rabbit, Caterpillar were the most threatening characters of my childhood. I was genuinely very frightened of them as a kid, which is probably why I was interested when Alex Poots [CEO and artistic director of the festival] suggested a reworking."

The Festival will also have comedy company The Invisible Dot Ltd curating what is called "a programme of intrepid and original works in Pavilion Theatre at Festival Square, which includes the world premiére of The Crocodile written by Tom Basden and directed by Ned Bennett, based on the short story of the same name by Fyodor Dostoevsky (running July 14-18), Adam Buxton’s latest work (running July 3-5) and The Invisible Dot Cabaret (running July 9-11, 16-17).

Also, Justin Fletcher, best known for the CBeebies TV show "Something Special," will The Tale of Mr Tumble to Manchester's Opera House, beginning performances July 11 prior to an official opening July 13, for a run through July 19.

To book tickets, contact the box office on 0844 817 7654 or visit

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