Baby opera, New Order on Manchester Festival slate

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LONDON (AP) — Music, drama, an exhibition about post-punk icons Joy Division and opera for babies are all on the agenda for the Manchester International Festival .

The eclectic biannual arts festival runs June 29 to July 16 in the northwest England city renowned for its industrial heritage and rich creative scene.

The lineup, announced Thursday, includes performances by local electronic music heroes New Order and an art show devoted to the band and its musical predecessor, Joy Division.

There will be art shows, theater and dance performances — and the opera "BambinO," in which infant audience members will be welcome to crawl around during performances.

Actress Jane Horrocks stars in "Cotton Panic," a musical theater piece about the effect of the U.S. Civil War on Manchester's textile industry.

The festival will open with a large-scale performance conceived by artist Jeremy Deller, in which local volunteers will parade catwalk-style through the city center.

Several works will look at migration, including a piece by choreographer Wayne McGregor created with immigrants from Sierra Leone and Iran.

Artistic director John McGrath said the festival's international roster of artists was grappling with the tumultuous state of the world.

"Everything has changed in the last 12 months, and our artists are responding in real time," he said.

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