Aviva Studios, the UK’s largest investment in a national cultural project since the opening of Tate Modern in 2000, opens today in Manchester.
The £210m project is the new home of Factory International, which organises the Manchester International Festival. The development was supported by Manchester City Council, while the government provided £99.05m, with £7m coming from National Lottery funding via Arts Council England. In June, it was announced that the venue would be sponsored by insurance firm Aviva, in a £35m deal.
Arts Council England chair Nicholas Serota said: “Aviva Studios is set to make a huge difference to the social, economic and cultural life of people across Greater Manchester and the North, as well as attracting national and international visitors to the city.
“Manchester International Festival has demonstrated that ambitious projects can stretch our imagination and that there is a need for a space of this size and versatility in Manchester. This extraordinary building will allow Factory International to build on its international reputation for developing and delivering world class artistic activity and will enable young people to forge a career in the arts.
“None of this would have been possible without the public funding invested in the development nor without the commitment of Manchester City Council and its belief that culture really can transform lives.”
Aviva Studios has opened with Free Your Mind, a large-scale immersive performance based on the film The Matrix. This has been directed by Danny Boyle, with contributions from choreographer Kenrick Sandy, composer Michael Asante, set designer and artist Es Devlin and writer Sabrina Mahfouz.
Factory International said its new venue will create and support up to 1,500 direct and indirect jobs and will add £1.1bn to Manchester’s economy over a decade.
The building was designed by Ellen van Loon, a partner at architectural practice OMA. Construction work started in July 2017.
Factory International, which will deliver a year-round programme of work at Aviva Studios, as well as the biennial festival, is one of ACE’s largest National Portfolio Organisations (NPO). It will receive almost £30m over three years from the arts council.