“The Factory opens up a new kind of opportunity for artists. This uniquely flexible venue provides real space and time for artists to explore different kinds of collaborations and invent new kinds of art in a city that has invented so much. The Factory will be a place where audiences embrace the unexpected, where Manchester meets the world and where artists truly love to work”. John McGrath, Artistic Director & CEO of MIF and The Factory.
What is The Factory?
The Factory is a world-class cultural space being developed in the heart of Manchester. Building on the success of MIF, it will commission and present the world’s most exciting artists, attracting up to 850,000 visitors a year.
At 13,300 square metres, 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. Here, the world’s best artists will let their imaginations run free as they experiment and embark on new collaborations, the fruits of which will be premiered in Manchester before travelling the world.
MIF will run The Factory with an internationally important creative and cultural programme, as well as reaching out into every corner of Manchester and harnessing the talent and energy that is found across the city. MIF will continue to present The Festival every two years at The Factory and in other locations around the city.
Development of The Factory is being led by Manchester City Council, in partnership with MIF. Designed by world-leading architects OMA, founded by Rem Koolhaas, the project is currently funded by Manchester City Council, HM Government and the National Lottery.
What kind of work will be presented at The Factory?
The Factory will commission and present work from across the spectrum of performing arts, visual arts and popular culture. 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.
Before it opens, MIF is presenting a series of pre-Factory events, giving audiences a chance to experience the type of work that will be seen there. Following Akram Khan’s Giselle; Thomas Ostermeier’s Returning to Reims; Available Light by John Adams, Lucinda Childs and Frank Gehry; and Heiner Goebbels’ Everything that happened and would happen, MIF19 features three pre-Factory events: Atmospheric Memory, The Fountainhead and Invisible Cities.
Skills and training
A major focus at The Factory will be on providing training and skills for future generations of creative talent. Drawn from across Greater Manchester, they will gain expertise working alongside world-leading creatives. The Factory will also work with local communities in ever more creative ways, involving them as artistic collaborators in participatory projects and productions shaped by them.
Activities already underway, include MIF’s first Creative Traineeship Programme, which runs from January to August 2019 and sees seven people working in different roles leading up to and during MIF19. The Jerwood Creative Fellows programme is supporting six Manchester-based artists. Other initiatives include an apprenticeship programme, which will employ up to 65 people during The Factory’s construction phase and a new Factory Academy which is being set up later this year.
MIF has also initiated the Greater Manchester Cultural Skills Consortium, which brings together arts organisations from across the region, including Contact, the Hallé, HOME, The Lowry, MIF, Octagon Theatre Bolton, Oldham Coliseum Theatre, Palace Theatre & Opera House, Royal Exchange Theatre, Royal Northern College of Music, Science and Industry Museum, Walk the Plank and Z-Arts, to offer a variety of apprenticeship roles, ranging from technical and production to visitor experience and customer service.
Recruitment for the first roles, as Creative Venue Technicians, is due to begin in June 2019, with training starting in September. People wanting to find out more, or register their interest, should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why in Manchester?
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 Factory will provide time and space for artists to explore new ways of working and creating, supported by a team that has unrivalled experience in producing ambitious large-scale work. It will be a laboratory for new ideas as much as a showcase, an all-encompassing hothouse where the art of the future will be made.
When will it be built?
The avant-garde artist Laurie Anderson broke ground at The Factory in July 2017. Construction work is under way, with the building due to open in 2021.
Where will it be?
The Factory 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.