Factory International presents Free Your Mind at Aviva Studios

Creative Tourist
Free Your Mind at Aviva Studios
Image courtesy of Tristram Kenton.

Factory International presents Free Your Mind at Aviva Studios, Manchester 13 October — 5 November 2023 Tickets from £10.00 — Book now

Boasting a dream team of top creatives, Free Your Mind is a Matrix-themed large-scale performance spectacular created especially for the official opening of Manchester’s landmark arts venue Aviva Studios, home of Factory International.

Let your mind be altered as you are propelled on a “thrilling journey through the Matrix”. Experience the classic sci-fi film as a live performance world premiere specially adapted for Aviva Studios’ innovative and ultra-flexible space. With super-sized moveable walls allowing for different configurations and performance possibilities, we’re thrilled to see this large-scale futuristic production created especially for this cutting-edge art space.

Image courtesy of Tristram Kenton.

What do we know about this exciting never-seen-before work so far? Well, we’ve been told that Free Your Mind is planned to be a work of epic proportions. A dramatic and visceral cross-art collaboration, the production will feature eye-popping visual effects and an ensemble of professional dancers performing alongside participants from across Greater Manchester.

Crafted and performed especially for Manchester, the birthplace of the world’s first industrial revolution, Free Your Mind moves forward to examine the potential of the digital revolution. Inspired by some of The Matrix films’ most iconic scenes, this world premiere performance will take audiences on an electrifying journey, evoking visions of an alternative future and “a new realm of possibilities”.

Back in 1999 when The Matrix was released, we watched the lead character Neo as he made a simple choice: would he take the red pill or the blue pill? A jump into the unknown with the potential to learn a life-changing truth or remain blissfully ignorant in a simulated world. Alongside gravity-defying moves and gripping action, the film has also brought us over two decades of discussion around existentialism and questions around what it is to be human, the reality we live in and the amount of control we really have.

Free Your Mind at Aviva Studios
The Free Your Mind creative team (L-R): Danny Boyle, Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante, Es Devlin, Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy. Image courtesy of Rebecca Lupton.

Fast forward to 2023 and we’re still no closer to an answer. Big tech, social media and advances in artificial intelligence impact our lives greatly – we’re told that this ever-shifting landscape was the initial impetus for Free Your Mind. Blending dance with immersive design and utilising the liveness of performance, this new production conjures a world where humans are enslaved by algorithms, posing the questions: can we break free and if we could, do we even want to?

An iconic team of creative forces are set to bring the show to life. With hip-hop choreography by Kenrick ‘H20’ Sandy MBE and a powerful score from Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante MBE (both co-founders and artistic directors of the Olivier-award winning Boy Blue); mind-blowing stage sculptures by world-renowned designer Es Devlin, costumes by leading fashion designer Gareth Pugh and words by the acclaimed writer Sabrina Mahfouz – all directed by Danny Boyle – Free Your Mind looks packed with ambition and vision. A truly explosive, celebratory official opening for Aviva Studios.

Factory International presents Free Your Mind at Aviva Studios, Manchester 13 October — 5 November 2023 Tickets from £10.00 Book now

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