Planning permission granted, funding confirmed, and operator announced
The plans for Factory, the brand new flagship cultural venue for the North designed by world-leading architects Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), have been granted planning approval by Manchester City Council today.
The unique venue will be at the heart of the vibrant new creative-led St. John’s neighbourhood, which is being developed by Allied London, in partnership with the council, on the site of the former Granada TV studios.
Factory will accelerate economic growth in the region. Its economic impact will be considerable – creating or supporting almost 1,500 full-time jobs and adding £1.1 billion to the city’s economy over a decade. It will make a direct contribution to the growth of creative industries in the North, and reduce the dependency on London as the provider of creative industries training and employment. It will also develop partnerships with the city’s leading higher education institutions and will further support the city’s drive for high calibre graduate talent retention through job creation.
HM Treasury has this week approved the full business case for the £78m government capital investment in the project.
The new venue will offer audiences the opportunity to enjoy year round, in a new world-class facility, the broadest range of art forms and cultural experiences – including dance, theatre, music, opera, visual arts, spoken word, popular culture and innovative contemporary work incorporating multiple media and technologies. Artists from across the world will be invited to create new work in the building’s extraordinary spaces.
The ultra-flexible space will bring a world-class arts programme to audiences of up to 7,000 at a time. It will welcome around 900,000 visitors a year and is expected to attract around 200,000 visitors a year from outside Greater Manchester.
It has been confirmed that Manchester International Festival (MIF) will operate Factory as well as continuing to deliver the festival every two years. Mark Ball, currently Artistic Director of LIFT, will join MIF’s senior leadership team as Associate Artistic Director, focusing on creation and delivery of the Factory programme. He will start full time at MIF in June, working closely with Artistic Director/CEO John McGrath to create a unified artistic vision for the venue and the festival.
Construction on the ground-breaking new venue is due to begin in Spring 2017. The project is OMA’s first major public building in the UK and is led by project partners Ellen van Loon and Rem Koolhaas, founder of OMA.
OMA lead a multi-disciplinary design team including Buro Happold Structures and MEP, Arup Acoustics, Gardiner and Theobald as cost consultants and Deloitte as planning consultants.
Development of the unique venue is being driven by the extraordinary creative vision and breadth of Manchester’s cultural life.
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Factory is what the arts world and Manchester has been waiting for. It’s the key to unlocking a wealth of new cultural opportunities in the city for audiences and arts practitioners, and also to massive economic gain for Manchester and the wider region. Factory isn’t going to just transform this unused corner of the city centre, it’s going to further transform the way we see the world, and the way the world sees Manchester.”
The Rt Hon Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital & Culture, said: “I want to blast open access to the very best world-class art and culture we have to offer in this country. So we’re investing £78 million into Factory in Manchester that will provide a further boost to the brilliant arts, culture and technology scene in the North. On top of that, it will also help local tourism, generate jobs and provide training opportunities for the next generation of British creatives.”
Ellen van Loon, OMA partner in charge of the project, said: “From classical opera and ballet to large scale performances and experimental productions, Factory in Manchester provides the perfect opportunity to create the ultimate versatile space in which art, theatre and music come together: a platform for a new cultural scene.”
Tom Bloxham, Chairman, Manchester International Festival (MIF) said: “This is a great show of confidence in the cultural future of the North. in just five festivals The Manchester International Festival has established itself as a one of the major international arts Festivals, and we are delighted to now be able to add to the City’s and the Country’s cultural offer all year round through our programming at Factory.”
Speaking of Mark Ball’s appointment, John McGrath, CEO and Artistic Director, MIF, said: “I have been a huge admirer of Mark’s vision as a producer and programmer since his early days at Fierce Festival, and it has been inspiring to see his extraordinary achievements at LIFT. I can’t imagine a better person to join MIF at this key moment in its history, and to ensure an exceptional, international programme of work at Factory.”
Mark Ball said: “Factory is undoubtedly the most exciting and ambitious new cultural space in the country, committed to pioneering arts projects and programmes in an incredible new building right in the heart of Manchester. Over the next few years I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside John and the team at MIF and with some of Manchester’s and the worlds’ most brilliant artists and organisations to help make unforgettable, joyful and exceptional art.”
Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said: “As the nation’s developer of our arts and culture we want to invest in bold schemes that will excite audiences and burnish our international reputation. The Factory has just such potential – it promises to be a powerful catalyst, bringing artists together to work in new ways in an intriguing new space. It promises a programme that will attract future generations of audiences to new types of performance. We are proud to support The Factory, and our partners in Manchester, as they continue their journey to become a standout cultural venue.”
Michael Ingall, Chief Executive, Allied London said:
“The St. John’s neighbourhood has a storied past; rich with culture, creative spirit and radical new thinking. With Factory onsite as our cultural anchor, St. John’s will now become home to the city’s next generation of arts, creativity and contemporary cultural experiences, completely transforming Manchester’s cultural output and standing.”
Images of Factory are available to download from the following link:
Additional images showing key people involved in the project from OMA, Manchester International Festival, Manchester City Council, and Arts Council England are available at the following link:
Manchester City Council Press Office
Tel: 0161 234 1010
Bolton & Quinn
Tel: +44 (0)207 221 5000
Mobile: +44 (0)7711 698 186
Notes to Editors:
Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA)
OMA’s projects include the recently completed Faena Forum, Miami (2016), Pierre Lassond Pavilion for the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec (2016), Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2015) the Fondazione Prada, Milan (2015) and the CCTV headquarters, Beijing. In the UK their projects have included the headquarters for Rothschild Bank in the City of London (2011) and a Maggie’s Centre in Glasgow (2011). They also created the Serpentine Pavilion in 2006. Currently under development are the Taipei Performing Arts Centre, Fondation d’Entreprise Galeries Lafayette, Paris, Qatar National Library, Qatar Foundation Headquarters, Prince Plaza in Shenzhen. Rem Koolhaas won the Pritzker Prize, the world most important prize for architecture, in 2000.
Manchester International Festival
Manchester International Festival (MIF) is the world’s first festival of original, new work and special events. The Festival is staged every two years in Manchester, UK – the next edition will take place from 29 June to 16 July 2017.
Manchester International Festival launched in 2007 as an artist-led festival presenting new works from across the spectrum of performing arts, visual arts and popular culture and has commissioned, produced and presented world premieres by artists as diverse as Björk, Steve McQueen, Maxine Peake, Robert Wilson, Elbow, Wayne McGregor, The xx, Zaha Hadid Architects, Damon Albarn, Punchdrunk and Marina Abramović, among many others.
MIF brings together artists from different art forms and backgrounds to create dynamic, innovative and forward-thinking new work, staged in venues across Greater Manchester – from theatres, galleries and concert halls to railway depots, churches and car parks. The Festival works closely with festivals and other cultural organisations around the world, whose financial and creative input helps to make projects possible and guarantees that they have a life after each Festival has ended.
MIF works widely within communities around Manchester, originally with MIF Creative and now with a new initiative called My Festival. Launched in November 2016, My Festival is a diverse network of creative people who are forging closer connections with MIF – taking part in public projects, connecting MIF to their communities, and joining a new programme of training activities, workshops and other special events.
MIF is a registered charity. Alongside the income received from principle funders Manchester City Council and Arts Council England, income comes from ticket sales and co-commissioning partners; from other public bodies; from private sponsorship; from charitable trusts and foundations; and from individual donations.
Mark Ball was appointed as Artistic Director and Chief Executive of LIFT in April 2009, presiding over 4 highly acclaimed and successful festivals and re-establishing it as one of Europe’s leading and most influential international arts festivals. From 1998 – 2007 he led Fierce!, an annual international festival of performance taking place across the West Midlands. In January 2008 he was appointed Head of Events and Exhibitions at the Royal Shakespeare Company, leading a new department responsible for raising the profile of the RSC amongst new audiences by producing and delivering a range of artist-led projects and commissions. He is the former winner of the Institute of Director’s (IoD) Young Director of the Year and was made a Clore Fellow in 2006/2007 and was previously named by Time Out and The Stage as one of the ten most influential people in British theatre. He also holds posts at a number of arts organisations including trusteeships at Frantic Assembly and he is the Chair of artsdepot.