Invisible Cities

Zenobia, a city of joy. Beersheba, a celestial city of gold. Isadora, a city of promise, seduction and desire. City by unseen city, the young explorer conjures from the ether a vast and spectacular empire – all for the benefit of its emperor, his master, who may never get to see it for himself…

Leo Warner, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Lolita Chakrabarti, 59 Productions and Rambert bring to life a series of fantastical places in this world-premiere production.  Centred on the edgy relationship between Kublai Khan, the volatile head of a vast empire, and explorer Marco Polo, who must transcend a language barrier to describe it for him, this spellbinding mix of theatre, choreography, music, architectural design and projection mapping imagines a succession of alternative worlds – and reimagines what is possible in live performance.

Created for Mayfield, Manchester’s iconic former railway depot, Invisible Cities distils both the essence of MIF and the ambition that will define The Factory, the Festival’s future home.

Leo Warner
Co-Director & Choreographer:
Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
Lolita Chakrabarti
Concept & Design:
59 Productions
Dustin O’Halloran & Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie of A Winged Victory for the Sullen
Set Designer:
Jenny Melville
Video Designer:
Nicol Scott
Costume Designer:
Laura Hopkins
Lighting Designer:
Fabiana Piccioli
Sound Designer:
Gareth Fry
Casting Director:
Sam Jones CDG
Creative Advisor:
Benoit Swan Pouffer

Produced by Manchester International Festival, 59 Productions, Rambert and Karl Sydow. Commissioned by Manchester International Festival, Brisbane Festival, Hong Kong New Vision Arts Festival, Sadler’s Wells, SMG Live, Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed Cultural Centre (JACC) and Karl Sydow.

Winner of the FEDORA – VAN CLEEF & ARPELS Prize for Ballet 2019.


Photo: Jason Bell

Made by Palace