Opening programme announced for Factory International

4 October 2022
  • OMA
  • OMA
  • OMA
  • OMA
  • OMA


United Kingdom

OMA create landmark cultural space in Manchester

The opening plans have been announced for Factory International, Manchester’s new landmark cultural space designed by Tenderstream member OMA. The venue will welcome visitors in June 2023 with its first production, Free Your Mind, a large-scale immersive performance based on The Matrix films presented across the building’s flexible spaces, directed by Danny Boyle. Before the official opening, the new venue will form the centrepiece of the 2023 Manchester International Festival, with a major exhibition in its warehouse space celebrating three decades of Yayoi Kusama’s inflatable sculptures, shown together for the first time.

Spanning 13,350 sq m, the building will offer multiple configurations, enabling large-scale artistic work. At street level, the venue’s public spaces along the River Irwell will host activities such as concerts, markets and workshops. Danny Boyle stated: “I'm delighted to be part of Factory International as a starting point for a kind of identity that this extraordinary new building is going to have. It's a space that gives you an enormous amount of potential. It's wildly ambitious in terms of its scale. In my lifetime, to see a new space like this open is hugely empowering, and I hope the new generation of artists feel that power.”

Factory International is OMA’s first major public project in the UK. The project was led by Ellen van Loon with Carol Patterson and Gary Owen, who created a design that embraces Manchester’s industrial as well as its creative past. The arches that once supported the historic viaduct known as the Pineapple Line are preserved as part of the foyer. The building's main space, the Warehouse, is conceived as one large industrial space left bare to be adapted by its users as they see fit, with a movable full-height acoustic wall making it possible to divide the space for two separate events. The Warehouse is complemented by the Hall, a 1,600-seat auditorium with a flexible stage and a proscenium that can open fully into the Warehouse. 

Ellen van Loon said: “Factory International will be a new type of performance space – a unique crossover between a fixed theatre and flexible warehouse. Super-sized moveable walls enable endless configurations within a large space, allowing audiences unexpected vistas of performers. I hope that whenever people come to Factory International, they always experience something different, as if with each visit they encounter a different building.”

Lucy Nordberg

Tenderstream Head of Research

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