The Factory

Where the art of the future will be made

“The Factory opens up a new kind of opportunity for artists. This uniquely flexible venue provides real space and time for artist to explore different kinds of collaborations, 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 Manchester International Festival (MIF), it will introduce the world’s most exciting artists to audiences of up to 850,000 a year, drawn from across the city, as well as nationally and internationally.

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, embark on new collaborations, the fruits of which will be premiered in Manchester before travelling the world.

MIF will run The Factory, overseeing the development of a creative and cultural programme that will be internationally important and reach out into every corner of Manchester, harnessing the talent and energy to be found across the city. The Festival will also continue to be presented every two years, in venues around the city and in The Factory itself, after it opens.

Fondazione Prada, Milan - Italy
Bibliothèque Alexis de Tocqueville, Caen - France
The Seattle Public Library, Seattle - USA

The Factory is led by Manchester City Council in partnership with MIF. It is designed by world-leading architects Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), founded by Rem Koolhaas.


Special Edition

MIF x WHP Read more



Akram Khan View the trailer

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, we are presenting a series of pre-Factory events, giving audiences a chance to experience the type of work that will be seen there. Pre-Factory commissions that have already taken place include Akram Khan’s Giselle , Thomas Ostermeier’s Returning to Reims and Available Light by composer John Adams, choreographer Lucinda Childs, and architect Frank Gehry.

Our first 2018 pre-Factory event was Everything that happened and would happen by German composer and artist Heiner Goebbels, which had its world premiere at the historic former railway station, the Mayfield, integrating live music, performance and large-scale multimedia installation. Following this exceptional commission, we returned to the Mayfield in November, partnering with The Warehouse Project for Special Edition, a series of musical offerings curated with the broadcaster Mary Ann Hobbs, which featured Bonobo’s international Outlier series, Manchester’s very own Grime King of the North Bugzy Malone and the mighty Bicep, plus amazing visuals from lighting designer Stuart Bailes


Returning to Reims

Thomas Ostermeier View the trailer


Everything that happened and would happen

Heiner Goebbels


Available Light

Lucinda Childs, John Adams,
Frank Gehry View the trailer

Skills and training

A major focus at The Factory will be on providing training and skills for the next generation of technicians, producers and marketeers. Drawn from across Greater Manchester, they will gain expertise working alongside world-leading creatives. We will also work with local communities in ever more creative ways, involving them as artistic collaborators in participatory projects and productions shaped by them.

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, whilst 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 shaped.

When will it be built?

The avant-garde artist Laurie Anderson broke ground at The Factory in July 2017 and work is underway to develop the site, which will bring an overlooked part of the city back to life. More details will be announced in due course.

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 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.

Find out more

Sign up to the MIF newsletter

Official partners

Public sector partners

Media partners

Join mailing list Sign in Basket 1