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From opera to raves, Manchester's £186m Factory International cultural centre is aiming to transform the UK's arts and music scene

A £186m cultural project is set to transform the arts and music scene in the UK and globally
Factory International will open to the public in June 2023
It is the largest investment in a national cultural project in the UK since the opening of London's Tate Modern in 2000
The building has been designed by Ellen van Loon
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A £186m cultural centre, set to transform the arts and music scene globally, will open its doors in June this year.

Factory International, based in Manchester UK, but with a global outreach, is the largest investment in a national cultural project in the UK since the opening of London's Tate Modern in 2000.

The centre will house 13,350sq m of flexible floor area, utilising supersized moveable walls that can be used to reconfigure the space for different exhibitions and performances.

The new cultural centre has been named after the Factory Records record-label which was founded by the late Tony Wilson in the 1980s and launched local bands such as the Happy Mondays and Joy Division. Wilson also ran Manchester’s Haçienda nightclub.

Designed by OMA's Ellen van Loon, Factory International is located near the former site of Granada Studios – where popular TV shows such as Coronation Street were filmed.

The centre forms part of the St John's new cultural community which being developed by Allied London. The building is owned by Manchester Quays, a partnership between Manchester City Council and Allied London.

Factory International will act as the permanent home for the Manchester International Festival (MIF), which runs from 29 June to 16 July and will be operated by the festival.

The opening of the festival will be marked by an immersive exhibition by Japanese conceptual artist Yayoi Kusama, called You, me and the balloons which will run from 29 June 2023 to 28 Aug 2023.

The cultural space will open in October with a contemporary dance show directed by filmmaker Danny Boyle and designed by Es Devlin, called Free Your Mind.

Free Your Mind will be inspired The Matrix and will involve some of the performers who worked with Boyle on the opening ceremony for London 2012. The first 5,000 tickets will be sold at reduced rates to enable the community to participate.

Manchester City Council gained a £100m grant from the UK government via Arts Council England towards the scheme under chancellor George Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse initiative. The pandemic has caused delays and cost overruns, with the building reputedly costing £75m more than expected and being four years late.

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A £186m cultural centre, set to transform the arts and music scene globally, is set to open its doors later this year.
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