29 June – 16 July 2017


What Is the City but the People?

Piccadilly Gardens

Free event

Thur 29 June

Created by The People of Manchester

World premiere

This year’s Festival opened with an invitation – come to Piccadilly Gardens and join friends, neighbours and total strangers for this self-portrait of the city.

Raised high above the pavements, a unique selection of individuals from across Manchester walked along a runway stretching more than 100 metres through Piccadilly Gardens.

All eyes were on the people of Manchester as they become the opening event of the Festival.

With live music from Graham Massey assisted by an unexpected mix of local musicians, What Is the City but the People? captured and celebrated Manchester as never before.


Experience What Is the City but the People online at mif.co.uk/live.

‘This is a beautifully simple idea from Deller… a piece tapping deep into the power of public spaces to generate fleeting human connections between strangers. For many participants, it was more than a parade: it was an act of self-affirmation’ The Daily Telegraph

‘A platform that normally celebrates superficial appearance is instead used to celebrate the everyday brilliance and resilience of the people of the city. And it’s more beautiful than any fashion show. Beautiful, heartwarming and life-affirming’ BBC

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Directed by Richard Gregory
In association with Islington Mill
Graham Massey
Musical Director
Simon Banham
Sonia Hughes
Gavin Parry
Ian William Galloway
Video Designer
Constanza Macras
Concept Choreography
Miki Shoji (DorkyPark)
Assistant Choreography
Darren Pritchard
Assistant Choreographer
From an idea by Jeremy Deller

Commissioned and produced by Manchester International Festival. Supported by Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence and My Festival Circle.

Photo: © Jon Super