Project Description

A tantalising glimpse of an intangible truth


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.


Tuesday 2 July

Opening Date

Friday 5 July

Closing Date

Sunday 14 July
Book Tickets




Leo Warner

Co-Director & Choreographer

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui


Lolita Chakrabarti

Concept & Design

59 Productions



Kublai Khan

Danny Sapani

Marco Polo

Matthew Leonhart


Dustin O’Halloran & Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie of
A Winged Victory for the Sullen

Stage 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.



Leo Warner

Executive Producer

Anna Jameson

Stage Designer

Jenny Melville

Video Designer

Nicol Scott

Associate Stage Designer

Claudia Fragoso

Assistant Video Designer

Hanna Schrage

Studio Coordinator

Kate Stanley


Tom Munday
Jarek Radecki
Edd Stockton
Lawrence Watson