Manchester is currently building The Factory, a world-class cultural space in the heart of the city – and a year-round home for MIF, where we’ll stage one of Europe’s most ambitious and adventurous year-round creative programmes. Inspired by our city’s unmatched history of innovation, it will present bold new work by the world’s most exciting artists. A place to create, invent and play, The Factory is where the art of the future will be made.
The Factory will be ultra-flexible, enabling large-scale artistic work of invention and ambition that isn’t made anywhere else. Dance, theatre, music, opera, visual arts, popular culture, and innovative contemporary work, incorporating the latest digital technologies, will come together in ground-breaking combinations, which will be premiered in Manchester before travelling the world. It will offer 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 builds on Manchester’s long history as a dynamic centre for creativity and innovation. With culture a huge driver for tourism and the creative industries being the fastest growing sector in Manchester, The Factory will have an important part to play in the future success of the economy, in the city and beyond. This radical new space will be a unique and significant addition to the arts landscape, nationally and internationally, while playing an important role in the lives of people in and around Greater Manchester.
The avant-garde artist Laurie Anderson broke ground at The Factory in July 2017 and construction work is now well under way. The Factory is designed by Rem Koolhaas’ world-leading practice Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), with Ellen van Loon as the lead architect, and will be their first major public building in the UK. It is situated in Allied London’s new St. John’s neighbourhood, formerly home to Granada TV and next to the Science and Industry Museum, which 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. Development of The Factory is being led by Manchester City Council, in partnership with MIF. The project is currently funded by Manchester City Council, HM Government and the National Lottery.
The Factory will be a rich source of apprenticeships and a major training centre for local people wanting to work in a huge range of roles in the creative industries, from technicians and producers to marketing positions. Drawn from across Greater Manchester, they will gain expertise working alongside world-leading creatives. There will also be opportunities for local artists to develop and grow. The Factory will continue to work with local communities in ever more creative ways, involving them as artistic collaborators in participatory projects and productions shaped by them.
Before The Factory opens, MIF has been presenting a series of pre-Factory events, giving audiences the chance to experience the breadth of work that will be presented there. Pre-Factory commissions that have already taken place include Akram Khan’s Giselle; Thomas Ostermeier’s Returning to Reims; Available Light by composer John Adams, choreographer Lucinda Childs and architect Frank Gehry; Everything that happened and would happen by German composer and artist Heiner Goebbels; Special Edition, a series of musical offerings presented with clubland’s The Warehouse Project; Invisible Cities, a co-commission between MIF, 59 Productions and Rambert; Ivo Van Hove’s The Fountainhead; Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Atmospheric Memory; and a residency by Laurie Anderson. Upcoming pre-Factory events include Virtual Factory, a series of online artworks inspired by the architecture, people and the history of The Factory; underlining the digital ambition of the work that will be presented there.