MIF09’s surprises started on opening night, when the British track cycling team emerged into Manchester Velodrome to a rapturous reception as Kraftwerk played ‘Tour de France’. Surprise, too, was the name of the game at a disused office block near Spinningfields, where Punchdrunk, Adam Curtis and Damon Albarn teamed up for the stunning It Felt Like a Kiss, and at the Royal Exchange Theatre, where one lucky punter each night won £200 in the bingo-hall setting of Neil Bartlett’s Everybody Loves a Winner.
MIF Creative, our creative learning programme, launched in 2009 with Jeremy Deller’s Procession, a gloriously irreverent self-portrait of the city. Mancunian pride was also on show at The Bridgewater Hall, where Elbow played two magnificent shows with the Hallé, and in our new Pavilion Theatre at Festival Square, where the Durutti Column paid moving homage to Tony Wilson. But we also found time to welcome a string of leading international artists to Manchester, including Marina Abramović, Zaha Hadid and Rufus Wainwright.