The first ever Manchester International Festival began with a bang. A dazzling collaboration between Damon Albarn, Jamie Hewlett and Chen Shi-Zheng, Monkey: Journey to the West is still one of the most ambitious shows we’ve ever produced – and one of the most successful. Following its sell-out run at the Palace Theatre, Monkey went on to Paris, the USA, the Royal Opera House and a two-month stint at the O2 in London.
MIF07 used unique spaces both large and small all over the city. Johnny Vegas took over a house in Chorlton for the intimate Interiors; Neil Bartlett and Mikhail Rudy set The Pianist in the Museum of Science & Industry’s atmospheric 1830 Warehouse; and more than 10,000 people flooded to The Great Indoors, a free, family-friendly weekender at Manchester Central.
Michelin-starred chef Heston Blumenthal brought his Chilled Summer Treats to Festival Square, which quickly established itself as the heart of MIF, and artist Matthew Barney brought a bull to the stage of the Opera House as part of the audacious live art show Il Tempo del Postino. There were exclusive visits from Lou Reed and Kanye West – but there was also room for local legends the Fall and Happy Mondays, who both came to the Ritz.