The Factory

Manchester, UK

The Factory will be a new kind of large-scale venue that captures the extraordinary creative vision of Manchester International Festival (MIF), with the partnerships, production capacity and technical sophistication to present innovative contemporary work year-round. The Factory is an opportunity to promote cultural innovation, growth, skills development and talent retention across the Northern Powerhouse (Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds).

Render of a building with a movie scene projected onto the building and an audience in the front, behind the building are two light beams and a dark night sky with a full moon to the left

Part of a wider masterplan for St John’s to deliver a cultural enterprise and production district, it will be a seismic catalyst for beneficial economic and social change. It will drive economic growth by retaining creative talent and clustering creative industry, digital and FE/HE partners around the facility to shift the arts ecology in England, producing new work that will enhance the UK’s cultural reputation and output.

St John’s is currently being developed by Allied London in partnership with Manchester City Council and the 15-acre site is based around the former ITV: Granada studios.

“... the ultimate versatile space in which art, theatre and music come together: a platform for a new cultural scene”

Ellen van Loon, Partner, OMA

The building, designed by OMA, has flexibility at its core with independent performance spaces able to be joined for events hosting up to 7,000 guests. Charcoalblue are collaborating with OMA to design the new adaptable auditorium for large scale festival events and productions.

We are working with OMA on the design of the performance spaces utilising virtual reality to visualise the spaces & assist with the sightline analysis. All the technical systems are designed to be as flexible as possible to allow the users to create work with as few technical restrictions as possible, the warehouse alone has the capacity to hang 200 tons of scenery and technical equipment. The technical infrastructure is based around a system of fibre networks to maximise flexibility & data transfer rates whilst coping with the large distances involved in this venue.

Project Details


Manchester City Council







Supporting the industry internationally since 2004

The Queen's Awards for Enterprise: International Trade 2020 UK Theatre Tonic ITEAC Theatres Trust Theatre Communications Group Carbon Literate Orginisation - Silver
Jenni Harris

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