Manchester International Festival (MIF) has announced that a giant puppet will walk through the city centre next summer as part of the festival’s opening weekend.
The giant artwork – which is called Little Amal and has been created by the same team behind the world-famous War Horse puppet – is the first event to be announced for the 21st annual Manchester International Festival.
It comes with a very powerful message too.
Little Amal’s arrival to the city is part of a work called The Walk – which follows the journey of a nine-year-old refugee girl from the Turkish-Syrian border to Manchester – and is to be featured at the festival.
The puppet will travel almost 5,000 miles across Turkey and Europe “in search of her mother”.
During The Walk, the puppet will cover Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium, before arriving in at the large-scale free public event which will take place in Manchester city centre on 4th July.
Festival organisers say the 3.5-metre-tall puppet of a nine-year-old Syrian girl is an “emblem of the millions of displaced refugee children separated from their families”.
The Walk is a joint production from theatre company Good Chance and the Handspring Puppet Company.
John McGrath – Artistic Director and CEO of Manchester International Festival – said: “We’re delighted to be a major partner on The Walk, our first event to be unveiled as we plan for MIF21, and to welcome Little Amal to Manchester for the conclusion of her extraordinary journey.
“At MIF, we have a proud history of creating large-scale participatory events that bring the city together. As we continue to navigate these uncertain times, a project like this feels more important than ever – encapsulating everything that the arts can do; crossing borders, starting important conversations, and bringing communities together.
“We hope that families, communities, schools, friends and neighbours – everyone who calls Greater Manchester their home – will help us welcome Little Amal.”
Amir Nizar Zuabi – Artistic Director of The Walk – said: “It is because the attention of the world is elsewhere right now that it is more important than ever to reignite the conversation about the refugee crisis and change the narrative around it.
“Yes, refugees need food and blankets, but they also need dignity and a voice. The purpose of The Walk is to highlight the potential of the refugee, not just their dire circumstances. Little Amal is 3.5 metres tall because we want her to inspire us to think big and to act bigger.”
He added: “She is walking through your town. The question is how would you like to welcome her?”
You can find more information about The Walk via the Manchester International Festival (MIF) website here.
The biggest gigs and festivals coming to Manchester in June 2023 – and how to get tickets
June is shaping up to be the biggest month of music Manchester has had this year, with the return of festivals like Parklife, Outbreak and Sounds Of The City at Castlefield Bowl plus some massive gigs.
We’ve got huge stadium shows by the likes of Coldplay and Arctic Monkeys, who’ll be performing on the same night.
Elton John will finally make his arrival on the live stage after his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour was delayed many, many times.
And then there are the smaller acts ready to take over stages like YES, New Century, and the Albert Hall.
Below we’ve selected some of our favourite Manchester gigs this June, which will be coming to a venue near you.
Coldplay – 31 May, 1 June, 3 June, 4 June
What: Coldplay will finally touch down in Manchester this month for their long-awaited Music of the Spheres World Tour. The group, fronted by Chris Martin, will be performing a whopping four nights at the 60,000-capacity Etihad Stadium, home ground of Manchester City.
What: Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road tour is finally set to arrive in Manchester this June after being rescheduled for health reasons, with three gigs at the AO Arena. It’s set to be his last-ever tour and has around 300 dates – so you can imagine what the demand for tickets has been like…
Where: AO Arena, Hunts Bank, M3 1AR
Tickets: Priced between £51 and £899 (that is not a typo), tickets are very much sold out, but you might be able to get some resale tickets. Keep an eye on Ticketmaster here.
What: Alex Turner and co will be back in Manchester this month for two massive shows. It’s part of their biggest-ever UK and Irish tour in support of their seventh studio album, The Car. You can expect to hear all their record-breaking hits like ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’ and ‘When the Sun Goes Down’, as well as newer material from their 20-year music career.
Where: Emirates Old Trafford Cricket Ground, M16 0PX
Support act: The Hives and The Mysterines.
Tickets: There are still a few tickets available for Arctic Monkeys – check See Tickets for the latest.
What: It just wouldn’t be summer without the absolute scenes that occur every time Courteeners play a hometown gig, so their Heaton Park show is right on schedule. The concert will celebrate the 15th anniversary of the band’s seminal debut album St Jude (which they’ll play in full), back in the city where it all began.
Where: Heaton Park, Middleton Road, Higher Blackley M25 2SW
What: Every year we say the same thing – it’s bigger and better than ever before. This year is no different, with a huge line-up spanning two days and headline performances from The 1975, Fred Again, and local lad Aitch. It’s easy to see why Parklife is one of the biggest festivals in the North, at a capacity of 82,500.
Where: Heaton Park, M25 2SW
Tickets: Only Sunday tickets remain – check See Tickets for the latest.
Roger Waters – 10 June
What: He’s better known for being, as he would put it, the creative genius behind Pink Floyd, but 57 years after the band’s formation, Roger Waters is still going strong with his ‘This Is Not A Drill Tour’ sending him all over the world. Now he’s arriving in Manchester on Saturday 10 June and after his recent appearances in the news, we’re interested to see what he’s got up his sleeve…
Where: AO Arena, M3 1AR
Tickets: It’s very close to all sold out – check See Tickets for the latest.
The Weeknd – 10 June
What: After completely selling out his After Hours til Dawn tour in the USA, The Weeknd announced a new leg across Europe and Latin America. We’ll have him for one night only.
Where: Etihad Stadium, Ashton New Road, M11 3FF
Support act: Kaytranada and Mike Dean
Tickets: There are actually still some tickets available, as well as resale tickets – but with prices starting from £247.35, they ain’t cheap.
Dope Lemon – 13 June
What: Angus Stone has been making indie-surf-rock music under the pseudonym of Dope Lemon since his debut album ‘Honey Bones’ in 2016. He played at the O2 Ritz last year after the release of his previous album ‘Rose Pink Cadilac’ but now he’s returned, this time to the beautiful Albert Hall for a Tuesday night show on 13 June.
Where: Albert Hall, M2 5QR
Tickets: Tickets still remain and are only £27.40 – check See Tickets for the latest.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – 15 June
What: The New Zealand psychedelic rock band last played gigs in Manchester way back in 2018, a hefty FIVE years ago. Since, Unknown Mortal Orchestra have released their fifth studio album ‘V’ back in March, with them teasing it in 2021 with the release of the single ‘That Life’. It’s good to have them back in the music capital of the UK, it’s been a long time coming.
Where: Albert Hall, M2 5QR
Support act: Makeness
Tickets: Some tickets still remain – check See Tickets for the latest.
What: Manchester post-punk band Soup! are making a storm in the underground music scene and are slowly but surely creating a name for themselves. They play their headline show in the basement of YES, Friday 16 June and if you’re looking for a new, young and exciting band to follow, these are definitely your guys (we’ve linked their latest single below).
Where: YES (The Basement), M1 7DB
Support act: Divorce Fiance and Vincents Lasts Summer.
Tickets: Priced at only a tenner, it’d be hard to say no – check See Tickets for the latest.
Circa Waves – 17 June
What: They’re only from down the road and yet they haven’t had a headline show here in Manchester for three years. They released their latest album ‘Never Going Under’ at the start of the year and have been gearing up for this massive gig at the O2 Victoria Warehouse since.
Where: O2 Victoria Warehouse, M17 1AB
Support act: Courting
Tickets: You can still buy tickets, with the CD bundle also still available – check See Tickets for the latest.
Kurt Vile & The Violators – 19 June
What: Indie-folk singer Kurt Vile returns with his band The Violators to the newly refurbished and recently opened New Century. It’s bound to be one of the coolest gigs in Manchester this June.
Where: New Century, M4 4AH
Support act: King Hannah
Tickets: There’s still a bunch of tickets left costing £30 – check See Tickets for the latest.
Kelis – 21 June
What: Kelis fans new and old rejoice, as the international chart-dominating artist, best known for her songs Milkshake and Millionaire, returns to headline Manchester after a long nine years since her last show here.
Where: Albert Hall, M2 5QR
Tickets: Tickets are still available – check See Tickets for the latest.
Goo Goo Dolls – 23 June
What: They formed in the 80s but found massive commercial success in the 90s as an alt-rock band, with their most popular song ‘Iris’ at one billion streams on Spotify. They’re still making music with their latest album dropping last year and they’re new tour finding them at the Academy on Friday 23 June.
Where: Manchester Academy, M13 9PR
Support acts: Those Damn Crows
Tickets: Tickets remain but will cost you £43 – check See Tickets for the latest.
Outbreak Festival 2023 – 23, 24 and 25 June
What: Originating in Sheffield but finding its home in Manchester last year, Outbreak is a hardcore punk and alternative music festival taking place at Depot Mayfield where Warehouse Project is usually hosted. Massive acts will be headlining like Death Grips, Denzel Curry, Converge, and more.
Where: Depot Mayfield, M1 2PY
Tickets: Day and weekend tickets are still available – check See Tickets for the latest.
The Lathums (Sound Of The City) – 30 June
What: The Wigan lads recently released their latest album ‘From Nothing To A Little Bit More’ and will be celebrating in the best way ever, by headlining the outdoor venue Castlefield Bowl for Sound Of The City 2023.
Where: Castlfield Bowl, M3 4JR
Support act: Sundara Karma and The Royston Club
Tickets: There are still tickets left but wheelchair and accessible seating have sold out – check See Tickets for the latest.
Featured image: Parklife 2022, Jody Hartley
Manchester’s biggest virtual reality arcade is slashing prices for families this May half term
DNA VR, the largest virtual reality arcade in Manchester, is running a discount throughout the May half term to save families cash on their day out.
Inside DNA VR on Brown Street, people can plug in to new worlds, like flying into orbit with the thrilling Space Station Tibera escape challenge, or come face-to-face with the ocean’s most awe-inspiring creatures in The Blu, or discover the wonders of the savannah in Nature Treks VR.
Visitors can also take part in gruelling challenges like Survive The Night, Arizona Sunshine, Hospital of Horror or After the Fall, or test their music abilities with games including Synth Riders and Ragnarock.
Younger visitors can even swap crayons and paper for art creation simulation, creating 360-degree masterpieces with Tilt Brush.
And any families who want to give it a go over the half term holidays can save 10% on their bookings, with the discount code below.
DNA VR is suitable for thrill-seekers aged seven and above, with a virtual world to suit every preference and ability.
There are now three virtual reality arcades down south, in Battersea, Camden and Hammersmith.
Its celebrity fans include Idris Elba, Roman Kemp, KSI, Claudia Winkleman, Olly Murs and Chris Hemsworth (and his kids).
The Manchester DNA VR opened earlier this year offering more than 70 VR arcade games, experiences and escape rooms in the largest VR arcade in the city.
You can book your half term escape at DNA VR at www.dnavr.co.uk/manchester and use the code DNAVR10 to save 10%, valid until 30 June 2023.