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Director Robert Wilson with Marina Abramovic, backstage after the July 9 premiere of The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic at the Manchester International Festival
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by Linda Yablonsky

The northern English town of Manchester may be the only city in the world to have a creative director. He is the graphic designer Peter Saville. Six years ago, to help revive the town's sagging fortunes, he picked music impresario Alex Poots to found the Manchester International Festival, a three-week biennial of live music and live art.