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Tearing Paper and Moving Chairs


Come on all, come over here

We’re all so pleased to volunteer

MIF 13 with Matt and Fee

Will be the best, just wait and see.


Eating snacks and drinking beer

Quite the thing for a volunteer,

But just you wait till it all starts

And you’ll be there to play your parts.


Tearing paper and moving chairs

Folding suits and climbing stairs. 

Arranging flowers and making tea

For Maxine Peake and Kenneth B.


Answering phones and greeting guests

Not much time for taking rests.

Checking scripts at MIF HQ

There’s always lots for us to do.


Manchester’s best will show the way.

Festival Square, on your feet all day,

But smiles we’ll have on the tram or bus

After helping visitors without a fuss.


In years gone by it’s been the same

Music boxes in sun or rain,

The tickets wet and turned to mush

But children’s joy brings such a rush.


Scary angels with Doctor Who

There’s so much here for us to do

To save the world is not a chore

We’ll do it again, just give us more.


There was Bjork and Damon with Doctor Dee

And Carlos Acosta previously.

Naked women and trees upside down

Victoria Wood and Vegas in town.


Kraftwerk and cyclists opened the show

And Marina Abramovic with Willem Dafoe.

This year Dafoe with Barishnykov

But will that really be enough?


There’s Massive Attack and The XX

Goldfrapp and Cherry whatever next.

Of course we’ve got Kenneth and Maxine

And there’s Kasparov against a machine.


You know this year will beat the rest

Cos we’re all here, and we’re the best.


So there we’ll be, come rain or shine

Making friends and giving our time.

In bright blue uniforms we will be seen

We’ll do you proud, MIF 13.


The diary of a volunteer

One more day before it starts

Be still right now my beating heart

I’ve got my shifts and know the sites

So now the bug of Festival bites


I’ve got my jacket, my bag, my shirt

And for the rain I’ll be alert

Cos cold and wet is not much fun.

Let’s hope it’s hot with plenty of sun.


It’s day one, so start Macbeth

The Scottish play, I hold my breath.

The audience seated in their clans

Are Kenneth Branagh’s biggest fans.


Don’t lean forward, or you might get hurt

There’s no readmission, so toilet alert.

There’s so much to tell them, so much to do

No phones or photos. Have you been to the loo?


We’re sitting back stage clearing the mud

The battle in the church boils the blood

The swords are quite sharp, I hope they won’t slice,

Those fighting actors are ever so nice.


It’s only day two, but here we go.

The Old Woman, what an amazing show

Incredible settings and wonderful lighting,

Dafoe and Baryshnikov. Very exciting.


It’s all going well in Festival Square

What lovely weather with arms and legs bare

We’re drinking beer and meeting friends

And today’s the day that Volunteers trend.


The weekend with Chopra and Coal on Cotton

Is something that can never be forgotten.

With background looms and billowing tent

It’s amazing how long there can be spent.


What day is this I think it’s seven

Does seven come before eight or eight before seven?

It’s a busy day with Sonnets and the XX

And lots to eat at the Biospheric project.


At Macbeth it’s Wimbledon with Scots in kilts

Backstage is so hot we’re beginning to wilt

The actors Murray-watch as long as they can

Until they’re called on, to die as a man.


Day eight is like the others before

I’m yawning a bit but still want more

My feet are hurting and my back is sore

But only another 12 days more.


The Machine starts now with lots of chess

The staging and settings are set to impress

Francesca Annis and lovely young Hadley

He’s playing the moves, not doing them badly.


Another day. What am I doing?

I know I’m meant to help with queuing

Help me Matt and Ella and Fee

I’m so tired I can hardly see.


The days are long, but I will assert this

Massive Attack versus Adam Curtis

Was so amazing and quite profound

With rather splendid sight and sound.


I’ve spent today attending Do it.

I’ve hummed and found fun walking through it.

That Thai paste is rather good

I’ll eat it tonight, I know I should.


There’s a bird. I think it’s a vulture

Is this what’s meant by Manchester culture?


On day twelve, I love the most

The fact that Matt has burnt the toast.

Now Ella and Fee will have to lump it

As they go each day without their crumpet.


Someone should put the candles out 

At Masque of Anarchy and round about

It’s hot enough for the sweat to flow

But Maxine Peake can only glow.

Each day is great in Festival Square

It’s full of people gathering there

Family fun and lots of ice cream

Chorlton Crack and children’s Daydream.


The public’s smiles and thanks and hugs

Every day our heart strings tug

That’s why we turn up, early and bright 

And sometimes work right through the night.


The last day of the festival comes

The gala performance of Macbeth has run

And we’re rewarded with Champagne 

Being a volunteer is such a pain.


And now it’s over and it’s all stopped 

And for the past few days I’ve flopped

Now what will I do every day

To keep the boredom far away.


It’s two more years before we’ll be

Standing here with Matt and Fee.

MIF 15 won’t be a strain

We’re ready to do it all over again.

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