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Thompson Joins Manchester International Festival

Jacob Coakley • Changing Roles • April 11, 2007

MANCHESTER, UK — Following on from project managing the Northumberland Lights lighting design, White Light’s Jack Thompson has taken on the role of technical director of theatre for the Manchester International Festival.

Running from June 28th to July 15th, the Manchester International Festival features more than 25 specially commissioned productions, performances and projects. The Festival incorporates a diverse range of shows from music to theatre, created and performed by artists from around the world.

Thompson’s new role oversees the technical production element of the festival’s theatre shows. These include Monkey: Journey To The West, an opera conceived and directed by Chen Shi-Zheng; The Pianist, a show about the second world war at the Museum of Science Industry directed by Neil Bartlett; Interiors, a piece conceived by Johnny Vegas and Stewart Lee that will have Vegas inviting people to view a house he wants to sell; and Il Tempo del Postino at the Opera House, which will see 13 visual artists each creating a piece of art following only two rules — each no longer than 15 minutes and no video projection. In addition, there are debates around the city, a Great Indoors free weekend for children and performances at many of Manchester’s other theatres, including the Library, the Royal Exchange, the Contact and the Cornerhouse.

Jack Thompson is poised and ready for a demanding few months and is already facing up to the challenges the shows will offer, noting that “the Interiors show will be fine once we find a house…. and The Pianist, which involves pianist Mikhail Rudy playing a Steinway D-type grand piano, is a lovely simple show with an audience in the round… except, of course, the piano won’t fit in the building’s lift so it will need craning in.”

Thompson will be working alongside the festival’s director, Alex Poots, with Dave Lawrence looking after the technical management of the rock-and-roll events.

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