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TREE by Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah part of Manchester International Festival 2019 #MIF19

TREE by Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah part of Manchester International Festival 2019 #MIF19

Yoko Ono, Idris Elba, Kwame Kwei-Armah and Skepta announced as part of next year’s MIF big programme line up, which runs from 4-21 July 2019 MIF19 announced the first artists for its 2019 programme, with each commission set to offer a distinctive and very personal take on how we relate to today’s world, with artists from across the globe creating an enormous variety of new work in spaces throughout the city. The festival opens with Yoko Ono BELLS FOR PEACE – Yoko Ono invites people to gather together in Cathedral Gardens for the opening event and send a message of peace to the world. Thousands of diverse voices and a people’s orchestra of bells from home and abroad will ring and sing out for peace – and welcome the world to Manchester.
Yoko Ono is among the world’s most renowned and respected artists for the last  50 years. This new commission is the first major work she has created for the city of Manchester.

Created by Idris Elba & Kwame Kwei-Armah “Tree” takes audiences on a thrilling journey in search of the soul and spirit of contemporary South Africa. Created by Idris Elba, whose album Mi Mandela provides the soundtrack, and Kwame Kwei-Armah, the dynamic new Artistic Director of London’s Young Vic, this major world-premiere production takes place in the round within Upper Campfield Market Hall, one of Manchester’s most atmospheric spaces. Idris and Kwame’s new work features music, dance and film combined with an exciting and dynamic cast to explore the past, present and future of a country at across roads – all through the eyes of one young man on a journey of healing.
Idris Elba said “Kwame and I have both had a strong desire to work with each
other for a long time now; we’ve known each other since we were in our very early
twenties and have talked about the kernel of an idea for this show for a while. Our
joint ambition being to make a piece of work inspired by South Africa, using the
album Mi Mandela as a starting point. We’ve both experienced personal moments
of healing connected with the country and we’re starting to explore that together.
For me, an interesting part of the process is looking at the next part of the story;
the new universe that sprung up after Mandela. To be able to investigate that with
Kwame, a writer with such tremendous vision for whom I have great respect and
love, and within the artistic community of MIF, is something I’ve wanted to do for a
very long time.”
Kwame Kwei-Armah said “The idea of dancing with a friend whose art and ideas
have inspired me for as long as we have known each other simply thrills me. To
bring this work to MIF and the Young Vic is as exciting as it gets for me.”

Manchester International Festival (MIF) is the world’s first festival of original, new
work and special events, staged every two years in Manchester, UK. MIF launched
in 2007 as an artist-led festival presenting new works from across the spectrum of
performing arts, visual arts and popular culture. The next Festival takes place from
4 – 21 July 2019.

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Image credit: Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah. Credit David Sandison

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