The Factory

Johnny James, Managing Editor
Image courtesy of The Factory

The Factory, St Johns, Manchester, M3 3JE – Visit Now

The Factory – Manchester International Festival’s new permanent home – is getting ever closer to completion. Costing an eye-watering £168m, the venue is set to reshape the city’s cultural output and standing, while hoping to attract 850,000 people a year to the city and bring in £1.1bn to the economy over a decade.

Its name a less-than-subtle nod to Tony Wilson’s exalted record label, The 7,000-capacity Factory is being built on the site of the old Granada TV studios, where it will host theatre, concerts and exhibitions from major national and international names. Promising “one of Europe’s most ambitious and adventurous year-round creative programmes”, the venue will house a 2,200-seat theatre and what is promised as an “immersive artistic environment with a standing capacity of 5,000.” Both will apparently be ultra-flexible, enabling large-scale artistic work that isn’t made anywhere else, premiered in Manchester before travelling the world.

The Factory under construction, image by Pawel Paniczko.


Alongside its artistic programming, The Factory is set to become a training centre for people in pursuit of careers in the creative industry. Delivered by Manchester International Festival, the Factory Academy will offer local residents the opportunity to gain expertise working alongside world-leading creatives, with apprenticeships for budding producers, technicians, and arts marketeers on the cards. There will also be opportunities for local artists to develop and grow, with the venue making plans to work with communities and involve them as artistic collaborators in participatory projects and productions.

Out of all the exciting new openings on the North’s horizon, The Factory is one in particular that the culturally curious have their eye on. 2023 is the current due date. Finger’s crossed!