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Fiona Gasper to Direct Manchester International Festival

The Manchester International Festival today announced that Fiona Gasper will take over as executive director in March 2016. Gasper succeeds Jim Forrester, who oversaw the festival’s 2013 and 2015 editions. Gasper arrives at the Festival after five years as director at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre; prior to her work there, she was executive producer of Liverpool’s 2008 European Capital of Culture Program. In 2009 she was awarded a MBE for her service to the arts.

Conceived as a biennial event presenting original works that mixed artists from the performing and visual arts with artists from popular culture, the Festival launched in 2007 with Alex Poots and Peter Saville as codirectors. Its earliest commissions included the group show/event “Il Tempo del Postino,” organized by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Philippe Parreno, and Steve McQueen’s Queen and Country, a commemoration of fallen British soldiers.

The news quickly follows another big announcement in Manchester, with Rem Koolhaas awarded the commission to design a new arts venue called The Factory Manchester.