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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA


By Steve Cooke

MIF [Manchester International Festival] is nearing the completion of its new year-round home, THE FACTORY.

This promises to be one of the most exciting projects for many a year, a huge boost to our creative community with: ‘one of Europe’s most ambitious and adventurous year-round creative programmes’.

Inspired by Manchester’s unmatched history of innovation, it will present bold new work by the world’s most exciting artists. A place to create, invent and play, where the art of the future can be made.

The Factory is designed to be ultra-flexible, enabling large-scale artistic work of invention and ambition that isn’t made anywhere else. Dance, theatre, music, opera, visual arts, popular culture, and innovative contemporary work, incorporating the latest digital technologies, will come together in ground-breaking combinations, which will be premiered in Manchester before travelling the world. It will offer space for the world’s greatest artists and thinkers to make, explore and experiment, and for communities and individuals from Manchester and beyond to meet, exchange ideas and learn new skills.

The Factory builds on Manchester’s long history as a dynamic centre for creativity and innovation. With culture a huge driver for tourism and the creative industries being the fastest growing sector in Manchester, The Factory will have an important part to play in the future success of the economy, in the city and beyond.

This radical new space will be a unique and significant addition to the arts landscape, nationally and internationally, while playing an important role in the lives of people in and around Greater Manchester.

The Factory also will be a rich source of apprenticeships and a major training centre for local people wanting to work in a huge range of roles in the creative industries, from technicians and producers to marketing positions. Drawn from across Greater Manchester, they will gain expertise working alongside world-leading creatives.

There will also be opportunities for local artists to develop and grow. The Factory will continue to work with local communities in ever more creative ways, involving them as artistic collaborators in participatory projects and productions shaped by them.

Pre-Factory commissions that have already taken place including a residency by Laurie Anderson.

Upcoming pre-Factory events include Virtual Factory, a series of online artworks inspired by the architecture, people, and the history of The Factory; underlining the digital ambition of the work that will be presented there.

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