The UK’s second city (Birmingham, deal with it) has proven itself as not only a dab hand at cobbles, matchstick men, dropping consonants, music-in-general and paying people a lot of money to play football, but it has also emerged, with the Manchester International Festival, as one of the world’s most important commissioners of new art. And this year’s festival, to go all cliché about it, is no exception. We have, in no particular order but starting with a new play by Dame Victoria Wood, a new play by Dame Victoria Wood called That Day We Sang, Damon Albarn and Rufus Norris’s new opera called Dr Dee, Bjork’s new multi-media project Biophilia, Johnny Vegas’s new show And Another Thing… and a one-off performance by Candi Staton. Which is new in that she’s never done it before. It’s new, it’s exciting, it’s two hours on a bendy train from London and it’s on now until 17th July. And you can find out more – buy tickets even – here.