£78m Manchester Factory arts space

Published: 7 December 2014
Reporter: David Upton

Manchester is to get yet another new arts space.

The Factory Manchester will be a unique, large-scale, ultra-flexible venue capable of transforming from a 2,200-seat theatre to “an immersive artistic environment” with a standing capacity of up to 5,000 and will be the permanent home to the Manchester International Festival.

It is designed to attract the best national and international artists and companies and it is calculated that within a decade it will help create, directly or indirectly, the equivalent of 2,300 full time jobs and be adding £134m a year to the regional economy.

The £78m project will sit at the heart of a new creative village—St John's, in the city centre on the former Granada Studios site—establishing Manchester as the country’s most important arts and cultural employment centre outside London.

It will complement existing venues such as the Whitworth Art Gallery, HOME (due to open next May) and The Lowry and Bridgewater Hall.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Manchester has a thriving creative industries sector and culture plays a central role in our growth strategy.

"The arts are not just a major employer in their own right but help us to develop, attract and keep talented people and is a fundamental element of a city where people choose to live and work.”

More details will be announced in early 2015.