Factory: Manchester’s new creative hub

“Factory is, without doubt, what the arts world and Manchester has been waiting for.”

These are the words of Sir Richard Leese, the leader of Manchester City Council, who, like many others, is thrilled and excited that Manchester is going to be the home for this amazing creative hub.

Copyright: Courtesy of OMA

Factory has recently been given the go ahead, and is set to be built on the old Granada Studios site. This £110 million investment will be completed in 2020 and is going to be where art, music and theatre combine, creating a huge arts hub in the heart of the city.

The new venue will create 1500 jobs, have a 1500 seat theatre, and will be the new home for Manchester’s International Festival. The biennial arts festival is currently based in the Blackfriars area, but will move into Factory on completion, after the next festival in July 2019.

Rem Koolhaas is the architect working alongside Ellen van Loon, the designer. She says, “…Factory in Manchester provides the perfect opportunity to create the ultimate versatile space in which art, theatre and music come together: a platform for a new cultural scene.”

Copyright: Courtesy of OMA

All this sounds incredible but you’ve got to wonder what this means for Home, which opened in 2015. This contemporary art and theatre centre is at the heart of the First Street development, surrounded by restaurants and bars. But Factory seems to be like a pumped-up version of Home, offering a bigger theatre space (1500 vs 500) and a lot more funding (£110m vs £25m) to name a few. So, will they work together and promote each other? Or will this draw people away from Home? Whatever the outcome is, it’s great that Manchester has these creative hubs, and its good to see investment in the arts happening outside of London.

One thing is for sure, this hub is going to be a huge pull for Manchester and really help develop and encourage the arts and creative industry. So that makes us happy!


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