Where the art of the future will be made
The Factory is a flagship new cultural venue led by Manchester City Council in partnership with the team behind Manchester International Festival. Designed by world-leading architects Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), founded by Rem Koolhaas, The Factory will be OMA’s first major public building in the UK.
On opening in 2020, The Factory will introduce the most exciting global artists to audiences of up to 850,000 a year, in an extraordinary world-class facility. Dance, theatre, music, opera, visual arts, popular culture and innovative contemporary work incorporating multiple media and technologies will come together in groundbreaking combinations. With space for the world’s greatest artists and thinkers to make, explore and experiment and for communities and individuals from Manchester and beyond to meet, exchange ideas and learn new skills, The Factory is a major intervention in the international cultural scene.
The Factory will capture the extraordinary vision, diversity and potential of Manchester’s cultural life. Inspired by the pioneering work of Manchester International Festival (MIF) the programme will focus on premieres of ambitious new work by the world’s leading creators, developed in partnership with local, national and international co-producers, giving audiences in Manchester the chance to see inspiring new work first, before its global journey. MIF will run the space year-round, while continuing to deliver the city-wide Festival every two years.
The Factory and its artists will work with and within communities right across Greater Manchester, bringing the region’s many different populations together – inviting local people to help reimagine what a cultural space can offer. The Factory presents a singular opportunity to build a creative learning culture into a world-class arts organisation from the start. A wide-ranging programme of participation, learning, debate and collaboration will be developed with local people, and mentoring and development opportunities for emerging artists will sit alongside an ambitious training programme for people from all backgrounds – developing skills for employment in the cultural and creative industries in the UK and internationally. The economic impact of The Factory will be considerable, creating or supporting 1,500 full-time jobs and adding £1.1 billion to the city’s economy over a decade.
The Factory will be defined by its versatility. Hosting everything from major exhibitions to epic concerts and extraordinary installations and performances, the large warehouse space will have capacity for audiences of 5,000 standing, but it will also be easily configured into more intimate spaces. The adjoining theatre space is similarly flexible, with room for around 1600 people, and can be connected to the warehouse to form a single, super-sized venue of 7000+, where artists can imagine, create and present works of unmatched daring and ambition. Open 364 days a year, The Factory’s foyers and extensive outdoor space will house interactive performance, debate, food events and more, becoming a new kind of meeting place for visitors, staff and artists.
The Factory is situated at Allied London’s new St. John’s neighbourhood, formerly home to Granada TV and next to the Museum of Science and Industry, who will be an important collaborator for The Factory. St. John’s is being designed with a focus on cultural enterprise, creation and production, and The Factory will be at its heart.