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Claire-Marie Boggiano is a Manchester-based businesswoman whose company, Lurig, specialises in business change, people development and executive coaching. She became an MIF Member for MIF13, and has since renewed for MIF15.
I became an MIF Member in 2013, although I’d been enjoying events at the Festival since the very first one in 2007. That year, I went to Damon Albarn’s Monkey: Journey to the West and was blown away by this completely amazing experience. Then, at MIF09, I really fell for Everybody Loves a Winner, Neil Bartlett’s bingo-hall play at the Royal Exchange Theatre. The excitement in that room was incredible. Because we had young kids, we weren’t able to get to as many Festival events as we wanted to. So in 2013, membership was a little present to myself to make sure I went to as much as possible.
And I did! Membership meant I was among the first people to get tickets for MACBETH and The xx, and we also saw Massive Attack v Adam Curtis and The Machine. It felt great getting tickets for such amazing shows. Membership also creates a sense of involvement and I definitely felt more connected with the Festival. MIF is really good at participation: seeing The xx with just 60 other people deep beneath Victoria Station was incredible – a magical mystery tour where I genuinely felt a part of the performance.
MIF works because it’s embedded in the fabric of the city but there’s also a real international feel. MIF only commissions new work, and it’s interesting to see how a show travels around the world after the Festival. With a show like Monkey: Journey to the West, you can always say, ‘I saw it first’.
I have three children, and MIF has been great for them, too. We took ours to Music Boxes at MIF11, and they loved it. One of my kids plays chess a lot, and he really enjoyed The Machine at MIF13. MIF is inclusive like that: at MIF15, The Tale of Mr Tumble meant that young children can have just as much fun at the Festival as anyone else.
Being an MIF Member isn’t just about getting priority booking or discounts in Festival Square. For me, it’s also about supporting the Festival, which does so much in terms of raising the international profile of Manchester. I’ve lived here for 25 years and I love the place. I work a lot with Manchester businesswomen, and being an MIF Member is another way to be involved in the life of this great city.