The BBC Takes The Stage At Manchester International Festival 2015 With Live Broadcasts From Festival Square And Free Tickets to BBC Shows

Tereza Pevna | 23rd June 2015

Gem Arms out

  • Live BBC Broadcasts from Festival Square throughout the first 10 days MIF
  • Mark Radcliffe and Kirsty Wark front a one off special for BBC Four
  • Ballot opens today for free tickets to seven BBC shows at MIF Pavilion Theatre 

The BBC is making Festival Square it’s home at this year’s Manchester International Festival (MIF) with an exciting programme of events and shows across TV, Radio and online.

BBC shows will broadcast live for the first week of the festival from a purpose built studio in the heart of the city, with Radio 4’s ‘Front Row’, Phil Williams on Radio 5 Live, Radio 6 Music’s Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie as well as Radio Manchester’s Becky Want and Sam Walker all bringing the festival to life for audiences across the UK.

Radio 3 will be broadcasting from the Pavilion Theatre in front of a live studio audience with shows including Ian McMillan’s “cabaret of the word”, The Verb, The Early Music Show and Radio 3’s flagship drive time programme, In Tune with Suzy Klein.

6 Music’s Mark Radcliffe and Newsnight’s Kirsty Wark will also front a live special, showcasing a selection of the best music and performance from this year’s festival. The one-off programme will be recorded for a BBC Four special broadcast on Sunday 12 July.

Radcliffe says the BBC show, dedicated to MIF, is going to be a fantastic addition:

“Here in Manchester we are inordinately proud of MIF. To have a world class festival, drawing internationally celebrated artists, creating unique works that are world premieres is a towering achievement for the city.

He continues: “Having said that, the proud Northerner in me considers this to be nothing more than we deserve. I look forward to boasting about how great we are to the viewing and listening public.”

 Alongside the hub of Festival Square, MIF have invited the BBC Philharmonic to perform the world premiere of young Liverpool composer Mark Simpson’s brand new work, The Immortal. The musical piece explores themes of love, death and the afterlife and will be performed at The Bridgewater Hall on Saturday 4th July.

Pat Connor, Head of Development and Events, BBC England says:

“This brilliant bundle of collaborations and broadcast specials between the BBC and MIF really cements our ongoing commitment to the Arts and in particular this wonderful festival. We will be giving audiences across the UK a front row seat to one of the most exciting cultural events of the year.

“I’m proud that every time MIF comes around, we raise the bar with what we do together, and in its tenth year I think it is testament to that fantastic partnership that we have such a lovely line up of treats for all audiences”.  

 CBeebies is also joining in, with some of the channel’s biggest names part of the line up with two brand new performances.

Firstly, CBeebies’ Swashbuckling Adventure heads to the Pavilion stage as Gem needs the help of her young pirate crew to find the hidden jewels on a desert island before a naughty pirate beats them to it.

Then, Justin Fletcher – aka Mr Tumble – known and loved by millions through his CBeebies shows Something Special, Justin’s House and Gigglebiz, will be bringing a new commission to MIF: The Tale of Mr Tumble. This is the very first theatrical outing for Mr Tumble and will be performed at Manchester’s Opera House. It is the latest in a series of collaborations between MIF and the BBC over the past few years.

Justin says:

“It is great to be able to meet so many of our friends who have taken Mr Tumble to their hearts. CBeebies has given Mr Tumble a very welcome home and to be able to take him out, onto the Opera House stage, so fans can see some of his favourite memories from his early life is an amazing opportunity.”

Alex Poots, CEO and Artistic Director of MIF says:

“We are very pleased to be working across the BBC to take these shows, made here in Manchester, out to the wider world – and to welcome the BBC onto our Festival Square to present a range of their best programmes.” 

 Free tickets for BBC shows and performances will be issued through a ballot which opens from midday today. Tickets are available for shows listed below.

  • Friday 3rd July   BBC Radio 3’s  The Verb  11.00 – 12.00
  • Saturday 4th July  CBeebies Swashbuckling Adventure  12.00 – 13.00
  • Monday 6th July  BBC Presents: One Night in Manchester (WT)18.30-19.30
  • Tuesday 7th July  BBC Radio 3’s The Early Music Show  18.30 – 19.30
  • Wednesday 8th July  BBC Radio 3’s In Tune 16.30 – 18.30
  • Saturday 11th July  CBeebies’ Swashbuckling Adventure  12.00 – 13.00
  • Saturday 18th July  CBeebies’ Swashbuckling Adventure  12.00 – 13.00

To apply for BBC audience tickets click here.

Ticket Ballot closes Friday June 26th 2015. 

Tickets for The Tale of Mr Tumble available at or by phone on 0844 871 7654 – all children’s tickets £12