Partnering with Manchester International Festival

Utopolis Production Team at Northern Assurance Buildings.

Utopolis Production Team at Northern Assurance Buildings.


For 2019, we partnered with Manchester International Festival by providing space for their Utopolis Production Hub and as an official sponsor, and to also build community within our Manchester projects.

Manchester International Festival (MIF) is a biennial event which has been running since 2017. The festival brings together artists from different art forms to create dynamic, innovative and forward-thinking events across Greater Manchester. A variety of venues across the city host these events, such as theatres, railway depots, churches and car parks, with the support of cultural organisations from around the world.


A team of 40, who made up the Production Hub for the event Utopolis, took interim space in Northern Assurance Buildings, part of The Albert Estate. The team set up their temporary space, which overlooked Festival Square (the main hub for MIF) to work on the intricate production of Utopolis. Entering the space, there are a group of people huddled around a computer, each pointing in turns at the screen and nodding enthusiastically, another group are sound testing the megaphone boxes that will later instruct attendees of their next moves and another group are singing (although I’m not sure this has anything to do with the production!). The buzz in the space is exciting and especially so as we caught a glimpse into the work that goes into pulling off such a large-scale operation. 

Utopolis Manchester was a visionary location specific interactive event created by Rimini Protokoll. It used detailed but complex sounds and voices to transform people’s view of the city – taking them each from a different starting location, to find their way across Manchester. Eventually, gathering in dozens of small groups at multiple locations, they explored the people and places that shape Manchester’s daily life – the people involved discovered the many ways in which citizens build communities, society and democracy. 


To share the excitement of MIF working from The Albert Estate, we held a Kinrise Summer party in Festival Square, in which all of our residents were invited from The Albert Estate, and nearby Canada House. The Utopolis Production Team very kindly joined us, and shared some behind the scenes information about how the event is conducted and how they work towards achieving that. The team also gifted us tickets for Utopolis, which we gave away to residents. To really bring the party to life, we were joined by local illustrator Emma Evans, who encouraged people to write down or draw their visions of a Utopian Manchester. Emma later combined everyone’s ideas and pulled into a central illustration, shown below. 

sam lj