Cultural venue in Manchester given the go ahead

Nicola Sullivan, 18.01.2017
Factory will be built on former Granada Studios site
Factory – a new cultural venue in Manchester – has been given planning permission by Manchester City Council.

The building, designed by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, will form part of St John’s neighbourhood, which is currently being developed by Allied London in partnership with the city council on the site of the former Granada TV studios. The Treasury has approved the full business case for the £78m government capital investment.

Factory will offer a range of events 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 at the venue, which will be run by the Manchester International Festival (MIF).

Mark Ball, currently the artistic director of LIFT, will join MIF's senior leadership team as associate artistic director, focusing on the 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 vision for the venue and the festival.

As part of the Northern Powerhouse the new venue is expected to create hundreds of full-time jobs and accelerate economic growth.

Richard Leese, the 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."