Factory International is a global destination for arts, music, and culture opening in the heart of Manchester in 2023. The design of the landmark new cultural space is led by Ellen van Loon of the world-leading practice Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA). Its development is being led by Manchester City Council, with backing from HM Government and Arts Council England. 

Programmed and operated by the team behind Manchester International Festival (MIF), Factory International will commission, produce and present an ambitious year-round programme of original creative work, music and special events by leading artists from across the globe. It will also stage the city-wide Festival every other year at Factory International and at venues and spaces across Greater Manchester. Driven by the same interests and ambitions that defines MIF, artists will be encouraged to create work in new ways, to collaborate across disciplines and blur the boundaries between art and popular culture.   

Construction of Factory International, Manchester

Image Credit: Pawel Paniczko. Courtesy: Factory International

The building design is based around large, open, ultra-flexible spaces that can be constantly reconfigured, enabling large-scale artistic work of invention and ambition that isn’t made anywhere else in the world. It will offer audiences the opportunity to enjoy year-round, in a new world-class facility, the broadest range of art forms - from major exhibitions and concerts, to intimate performances and immersive experiences – including over 80 gigs a year. 

The 13,350 square metre building includes a 21m high warehouse with capacity for up to 5,000 people standing, which can also be divided by a movable, full-height acoustic wall, and a hall with a flexible stage which can house an audience of up to 1,600 seated or 2,000 standing, as well as other spaces inside and out. The warehouse and the hall can also work together, with the proscenium capable of opening fully into the warehouse and allowing the stage to run deeper into the building.  

Its public spaces, from the foyers to its outdoor areas, will come alive with year-round activities such as family friendly workshops, pop-up food stalls, music, workshops and markets, many of them free, creating a thriving riverside destination for everyone to enjoy. 

Artist Impression of Exterior of Factory International

Image Credit: OMA. Courtesy: Factory International

International in spirit and practice, Factory International will collaborate with venues, festivals and companies across the world to commission artists together. Working with local, national and international partners and co-producers, it will produce and premiere major new work, before it travels globally, and share ideas, projects and training with peers worldwide.  

The possibilities of digital technology lies at the heart of the vision for Factory International, driving experimentation and innovation in its physical productions and enabling the creation of entirely new experiences for audiences through digital first works created within the virtual world. It will also engage audiences beyond its physical structures through broadcast and streaming of live and hybrid projects. 

A laboratory for experimentation and R&D, Factory International will be a training ground for the next generation of creators. Artists from Manchester and all over the world will be commissioned to make new work in physical and online realms, while talent development programmes such as the Factory Fellowships will see emerging artists placed alongside international creatives.  

Artist Impression of Interior of Factory International

Image Credit: OMA. Courtesy: Factory International

Through the Factory Academy, it will become a major training centre for local people, equipping them with the skills needed for careers in the creative industries and helping to build the technicians, producers and other creative talent that will bring the future alive. 

Building on MIF’s record of working with communities, as audiences and as participants, Factory International will be a space where local people are actively involved – from participating in flagship commissions, co-designing programmes of activity, to shaping the organisation through involvement in its public forums. 

Rooted in Manchester, Factory International will strengthen the city’s status as a national and international centre for culture, creativity and innovation, as well as a major visitor destination. The economic impact of Factory International will be considerable, creating or supporting up to 1,500 direct and indirect jobs and adding £1.1 billion to the city’s economy over a decade. 

Located in the new St John’s neighbourhood next to the River Irwell, Factory International will be at the heart of a burgeoning city centre hub for culture, creativity and digital innovation and make a major contribution to the ongoing regeneration of this part of the city centre. 

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  1. Divine
    Wow, this is actually very inspiring. And it also reminds me of a house a saw in kotor https://prian.info/montenegro/kotor-municipality/kotor/ really there are a lot of similarities. I actually really want to buy it and live there as i like strange houses a lot and really would like to spend my life there. I believe that someday i will also visit Manchester

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