Work begins on ‘game-changing’ Manchester cultural hub

Some of the apprentices and trainees involved in the project with Sir Richard Leese Leader of Manchester City Council

Building work has begun on The Factory in Manchester, which is hoped will become one of the biggest cultural spaces in the UK, attracting up to 850,000 visitors a year and delivering a £1.1bn boost to Manchester’s economy over a decade.

Located next to the Science and Industry Museum in the city, The Factory will be a major cultural, creative, and technological hub, and it is expected to make an important contribution to the regeneration of this part of the city centre.

Designed by international architects OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture), The Factory’s flexible design will allow it to host major concerts to intimate performances and will offer a programme of backstage training and skills for local people as well as creating 1,500 jobs over ten years.

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: ‘There is no doubt that The Factory will be a game-changer.  Not just for Manchester and the wider region but also, as the world-class venue it will be, for the arts world itself.

‘Providing a year-round cultural programme and limitless creative opportunities is only one part of The Factory story.

‘The opportunities it will also provide for training and learning new technical and creative industry-specific skills are just as important.

‘They will be a key part both of The Factory’s success and in helping guarantee a successful future for culture and the arts in Manchester and far beyond.’

Manchester International Festival will manage and create the year-round artistic programme for The Factory and their chair, Tom Bloxham said: ‘It’s great to see The Factory – just a dream a couple of years ago – is now being realised!  It’s part of our vision for Manchester’s future as one of the world’s great cultural cities, through the ambitious programme that’s being developed and the opportunities for artists to make work in different ways.

‘It’s a visible manifestation designed by OMA, one of the world’s great architects, of the boldness and the innovation that’s always been at the heart of this city’s story and I look forward to seeing it taking shape over the coming months.’

The Factory has been backed with £78.05m funding from government and has the full support and £7m of Lottery funding for the project, in addition to £9m annual revenue funding already confirmed for three years from 2018-22.

Thomas Barrett
Senior journalist - NewStart Follow him on Twitter


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