The first Manchester International Festival began in June 2007 – but during the preceding year, we staged a trio of major projects to set out our stall in the city: Gorillaz: Demon Days Live, a technically dazzling show by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s animated band; The Schools Festival Song, a new piece from legendary composer Ennio Morricone and local writer Nicholas Royle; and Queen & Country, an immensely powerful work by Turner Prize-winning artist Steve McQueen.

In 2016, we collaborated with English National Ballet and Sadler’s Wells to present the world premiere of Akram Khan’s Giselle. One of the greatest romantic ballets of all time, Giselle is the first full length ballet choreographed by Akram Khan and saw Academy-Award winning designer Tim Yip (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon) create the set and costumes, while musician, composer, and producer Vincenzo Lamagna created an adaptation of the original score by Adolphe Adam, performed by English National Ballet Philharmonic.

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