MIF 2019: Animals of Manchester (including HUMANZ)

Imagine a city in which animals of all kinds, including humanz, would live together in peace. What might life be like if dogs, hogs, cows, squirrels and other creatures lived alongside us not just as our pets but as our peers – our companions? Imagine what Manchester could look like then! 

Animals of Manchester (including HUMANZ) is an interactive Live Art experience created by Sibylle Peters (Theatre of Research) and LADA for the Manchester International Festival 2019 which poses questions about the relationship between humans and other animals.

Taking place over the Festival’s final weekend, audiences are invited to follow a trail through Whitworth Park and the Whitworth’s galleries, and take part in some absorbing animal encounters. Across a series of installations and performances, children, families and adults alike will explore our fascination with fellow animals, pledging allegiance to another species, having family portraits with other creatures and discovering more about the relationship between human and non humans.

Works include Joshua Sofaer’s Mouse Palace, a reconstruction of a popular Bangkok tourist attraction in mouse and child-sized forms; a Conference of Animals for different species, including a cow, foxes and pigeons created by Theatre of Research & Ansuman BiswasAndy Field, and Random People; a university for dogs and other pets teaching humanz created by Angela Bartram and Krõõt Juurak; an edible Arndale Centre for squirrels and birds by Bruce Gilchrist and Jo Joelson (London Fieldworks); a living memorial for extinct species by Marcus Coates; a film studio run by beetles with Tim Spooner; an interspecies Family Centre with artist Rebecca Chesney and Barbara Roberts of the Withington Hedgehog Care Trust; an interspecies Portrait Studio with photographer Benji Reid; an aquarium for small humanz who want to be eaten by sharks by Martin O’Brien; and a Life Art Librarywhere we explore the history of animals in performance art, animals are honoured as performers and Katharina Duve invites humans to signify their animal being.

With children collaborating as facilitators and ambassadors for the works, Animals of Manchester (including HUMANZ) follows on from Theatre of Research and LADA‘s projects with children at their core, including PLAYING UP and KAPUTT: The Academy of Destruction.

This summer we will invite everyone to turn into animals of Manchester alongside squirrels and dogs, cows and beetles and pigeons and many more. In the every day humans meet our co-species less and less, and I think we are actually missing them. So, with the guidance of our collaborating kids and my partners at MIF and the Live Art Development Agency we will turn Live Art into Life Art and create a zone of companionship in which humans and other animals can be together without food chains or zoo cages getting between us.” Sibylle Peters

Animals of Manchester will be a joyous and thoroughly unexpected exploration of our relationships with animals. The artist Sybille Peters has been working in truly unique ways with young people and their stories and ideas for many years and has created some of the most extraordinary and engaging projects for children and families around Europe. We’re delighted to be joined by the range of unexpected artists that she has invited to be part of this project with her. The day itself will be full of surprises and a truly enjoyable adventure.” John McGrath, Director of MIF

Animals of Manchester (including HUMANZ) was commissioned and produced by Manchester International Festival with support from the Whitworth, The University of Manchester. MIF19, which runs from 4–21 July 2019 and features artists from across the globe premiering a variety of new work in spaces throughout the city. 

Download the brochure of MIF 2019's full programme here.

For more details, please click here.


Date: 20 July 2019 to 21 July 2019

Venue: The Whitworth & Whitworth Park, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, M15 6ER, UK

Tickets: Admission Free

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