The Factory (Manchester)

Last updated

The Factory

Granada Studio Tours, Manchester, 2011.jpg

Former Granada Studios entrance on Water Street, proposed site of venue
Location Former Granada TV Studios
Water Street
M60 9EA England
Coordinates 53°28′40.1844″N02°15′27.2988″W / 53.477829000°N 2.257583000°W / 53.477829000; -2.257583000 Coordinates: 53°28′40.1844″N02°15′27.2988″W / 53.477829000°N 2.257583000°W / 53.477829000; -2.257583000
Public transit Deansgate train station
Owner Manchester Quays Ltd (MQL)
Operator Manchester International Festival
via the project's board
Capacity 6,500
1,500 theatre space
5,000 flexible 'warehouse' space
Acreage 13,500 square meters
Broke ground 8 July 2017 (2017-07-08)
Opened September 2020 (2020-09)planned
Construction cost £116.5 million
Architect Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), lead designer Rem Koolhaas
Project manager Jenny Baxter
Structural engineer BuroHappold Engineering also civil engineer services and building services
Services engineer Charcoalblue (theatre)
Ove Arup & Partners (acoustic)
General contractor Laing O'Rourke
Main contractors Allied London
Manchester International Festival
on a peppercorn rent of 30 years

The Factory is a £110 million theatre and arts venue to be built on the former site of Granada Studios, in the St John's Quarter of Manchester (currently the site of the Starlight Theatre), [1] being developed by Manchester Quays Ltd (MQL), a development partnership between Allied London and Manchester City Council, [2] and is to be the permanent home of the Manchester International Festival. [3] Its name comes from Factory Records, the independent record label founded by Tony Wilson. [4] [5]

Granada Studios Television studio complex in Manchester, England

Granada Studios were television studios on Quay Street in Manchester with the facility to broadcast live and recorded programmes. They were the headquarters of Granada Television and later ITV Granada between 1956 and 2013. At the time of their closure, the studios were the oldest operating purpose-built television studios in the United Kingdom.

Manchester City and metropolitan borough in England

Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England, with a population of 545,500 as of 2017. It lies within the United Kingdom's third-most populous metropolitan area, with a population of 3.2 million. It is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation. The local authority is Manchester City Council.

Allied London is a property development and investment company that develops landmark projects ranging from re-use to regeneration developments across retail, commercial, office, residential, restaurant, and leisure sectors. The company also offers rental options. They own several buildings in the Spinningfields area of Manchester, as well as Glasgow, Leeds and London.



The development was announced in 2014. [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] Initially the Chancellor, George Osborne, announced that the venue would cost £78 million, [13] subsequently the council stated that they had managed to secure a further £32 million from "a variety of sources" but added that no public money would be used. [14] The council said that the venue would "play an integral part in helping Manchester and the north of England provide a genuine cultural counterbalance to London". [13] The government confirmed the £78 million towards the £110 million in November 2015. They also announced that, from 1 April 2018, they will provide Arts Council England (ACE) with an additional £9 million per annum to offer revenue support to Factory. [15] :9

George Osborne British politician (b. 1971)

George Gideon Oliver Osborne is a British Conservative Party politician, who was Member of Parliament (MP) for Tatton from June 2001 until he stood down on 3 May 2017. He served as Chancellor of the Exchequer under Prime Minister David Cameron from 2010 to 2016. He has been editor of the London Evening Standard since May 2017 and chair of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership (NPP) since September 2016.

Arts Council England arts organization in London, England

Arts Council England is a non-departmental public body of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. It was formed in 1994 when the Arts Council of Great Britain was divided into three separate bodies for England, Scotland and Wales. The arts funding system in England underwent considerable reorganisation in 2002 when all of the regional arts boards were subsumed into Arts Council England and became regional offices of the national organisation.

In July 2016, the council gave further details about the sources of the £110 million capital cost of the building: [15] :13-14 The following year, July 2017, the council announced changes to the design of the building would mean a larger orchestra pit, alterations to the facades and the capacity of the smaller venue reduced from 1,700 to 1,500. The revised designs will mean an increase in the overall cost to £111.65 million, £1.6 million to come from council borrowing and £50,000 from the Treasury. [16] [17]

HM Treasury United Kingdom government department

Her Majesty's Treasury, sometimes referred to as the Exchequer, or more informally the Treasury, is the British government department responsible for developing and executing the government's public finance policy and economic policy. The Treasury maintains the Online System for Central Accounting and Reporting (OSCAR), the replacement for the Combined Online Information System (COINS), which itemises departmental spending under thousands of category headings, and from which the Whole of Government Accounts (WGA) annual financial statements are produced.

Funding for the building of The Factory [15] :13-14 [16]
Source of fundingAmount £m ( % of all funding )
Exchequer via ACE grant
Manchester City Council
ACE Lottery grant
Fundraising by MIF
Exchequer grant

Total amount = £111.65m

The council also announced that an application for a new charity, The Factory Trust, to be chaired by Sir Howard Bernstein has been made to the Charities Commission. The council state that, "once the trust has charitable status, it will begin a programme of applications to Trusts and Foundations alongside approaches to individuals and corporations." [16] :7

Howard Bernstein

Sir Howard Bernstein was the Chief executive of Manchester City Council at Manchester Town Hall from 1998 to 2017. Originally joining the Council as a junior clerk, he became the Chief executive in 1998, responsible for setting development goals and encouraging investment in the city. He is Honorary Professor of Politics at The University of Manchester.

The Charity Commission for England and Wales is the non-ministerial government department that regulates registered charities in England and Wales and maintains the Central Register of Charities.


The entire space will cover 13,500 square metres and will be flexible enough to accommodate combined audiences of up to 6,500, although it is envisaged that it will operate mainly as a 1,500 seat theatre space plus a 5,000 capacity flexible performance space (the warehouse). [16] The scheme also includes the restoration and reuse of the northern brick arched portion of the Grade II-listed Colonnaded Railway Viaduct [18] and a public realm to the north and west of the Factory building. [19] [20]

Plans for the Factory will also align with the adjacent Museum of Science and Industry, which "will become part of the creative public realm, with MSI's creative science ... balancing the creative and cultural production of Factory." [15] :11 The MSI plan to build a new £6 million Special Exhibition Gallery alongside the Factory; the new gallery is set to be complete by 2018. [21] [22]

Project board structure

In the summer of 2015, it was announced that the design and development process would be overseen by a Project Board set up by Manchester City Council with Maria Balshaw appointed the Single Responsible Owner for the project. Funding and project monitoring is the responsibility of ACE, who have agreed to second Simon Mellor, ACE's Executive Director, Arts and Culture, [23] for up to two days a week (to be based in the Manchester project office in Manchester Town Hall). His role will be to support the further development of the business case and to work up the technical brief for the design team. [24] Mellor was previously a General Director at MIF. [25] Other contacts for the project include: Joanne Roney (the council's Chief Executive), Dave Carty (development manager of the council's City Centre Regeneration) and Pat Bartoli (head of the council's City Centre Regeneration Team). [15] :4

In June 2016, it was announced that the chief operating officer for BBC England, Jenny Baxter, was to become project director of The Factory from autumn 2016, at a salary of £140,000 to be paid by Manchester City Council. [26] [27]

Manchester City Council granted planning permission for the building in January 2017, announcing at the same time that Manchester International Festival will operate the centre, with Mark Ball, the current artistic director of the London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT), joining MIF in June 2017 as Associate Artistic Director to oversee the creation of The Factory. [28] [29]

In July 2017 several new board members were announced (along with chair, Howard Bernstein):

Further additions to the board were announced in September the same year:

Design team appointments

The £9.5m design contracts were put out to tender in July 2015. [31] The design team are being procured through the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) procurement process via seven lots, each with an estimated duration of 45 months (3 years, 9 months i.e. the summer of 2019) from the award of the contract in mid-November 2015:

Successful bidder: (see " Architectural design team " below) [33]
Successful bidder: Charcoalblue [33]
Successful bidder: Buro Happold [33] [34]
The five shortlisted firms: Buro Happold [33] [34]
Successful bidder: Gardiner and Theobald [33]
Successful bidder: WSP UK (Trading as WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff) [33]
Successful bidder: Ove Arup & Partners [33]

Architectural design team

Rem Koolhaas of OMA pictured in 1987. Rem Koolhaas 1987.jpg
Rem Koolhaas of OMA pictured in 1987.

On 23 September 2015, the Architects' Journal announced the shortlisted design teams, [35] however the former president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Angela Brady, was amongst a number of architects who expressed their concern that there are no architects amongst the jury that would name the successful bidding firm. The jury comprised: Richard Leese, (leader of Manchester City Council), Tom Bloxham, (chairman of the festival and Urban Splash), and Michael Ingall, (chief executive of Allied London). The jury were assisted by a technical panel: Maria Balshaw, (director of the Whitworth, University of Manchester and Manchester City Galleries - comprising Manchester Art Gallery and Gallery of Costume), Pat Bartoli, (head of the council's City Centre Regeneration Team), John McGrath, (artistic director and chief executive of the festival), Greg Attwood, (development director at Allied London), and Dave Carty, (development manager of the council's City Centre Regeneration). [36]

Out of the 48 architectural firms who expressed an interest, the following nine were invited to go forward by the council:

Rafael Viñoly Architects · Diller Scofidio + Renfro · Bennetts Associates · Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) · Zaha Hadid Architects · SimpsonHaugh and Partners · Grimshaw Architects · Mecanoo International · Haworth Tompkins Limited

The successful company chosen by the council was Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) with its lead designer Rem Koolhaas. [33] [37] [38]


The timeframe established by the Project Board contained the following key milestones: Note 1

When the procurement process was completed, a detailed design and delivery strategy as well as a detailed business case was presented to Manchester City Council's Executive Committee. [15]

The planning application was submitted to the council in November 2016, [40] and approved in January 2017. [41]

Revised timetable

A revised planning application, taking account of some design changes, is due to be submitted in September 2017 with a decision expected in November 2017. This will result in the venue opening in September 2020, with test events from April / May 2020, [16] rather than the original plan of the opening ceremony at the beginning of 2020. [39]

Training and employment

It is intended that the Factory should deliver a skills, engagement and training programme that is divided into two elements:

  1. Factory Plant, which build's on the festivals existing learning programme [15] :10 and,
  2. Factory Academy, "a new, virtual academy and centre for excellence in training the next generation of technicians, producers and creatives for the performing arts and live events industries across the Northern Powerhouse." [15] :11

It is also anticipated that the venue will have 125 permanent staff plus 15 apprentices. [15] :12–13 Funding will come from the Factory Trust which is due to be established for the purposes of fundraising. [42]

See also

Further reading

Related Research Articles

Science and Industry Museum Science museum in Liverpool Road, Manchester

The Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, England, is a large museum devoted to the development of science, technology and industry with emphasis on the city's achievements in these fields. The museum is part of the Science Museum Group, a non-departmental public body of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, having merged with the National Science Museum in 2012.

City of Manchester Stadium home ground of Manchester City Football Club in England

The City of Manchester Stadium in Manchester, England, currently known as the Etihad Stadium for sponsorship reasons, is the home of Manchester City and with a domestic football capacity of 55,097, the fourth-largest in the Premier League and eighth-largest in the United Kingdom.

Contact Theatre theatre in Manchester, England

Contact is an arts organisation in Manchester that focuses on youth leadership.

Manchester Central Convention Complex

Manchester Central Convention Complex is an exhibition and conference centre converted from the former Manchester Central railway station in Manchester, England.

The Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) is a Dutch architectural firm based in Rotterdam, founded in 1975 by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and Greek architect Elia Zenghelis, along with Madelon Vriesendorp and Zoe Zenghelis.

Turner Contemporary Art gallery in Kent, England

Turner Contemporary is an art gallery in Margate, Kent, England, intended as a contemporary arts space and catalyst for the regeneration of the town. The title commemorates the association of the town with noted landscape painter J. M. W. Turner, who went to school there, and visited throughout his life.

Arup is a multinational professional services firm headquartered in London which provides engineering, design, planning, project management and consulting services for all aspects of the built environment. Founded by Sir Ove Arup in 1946, the firm has over 14,000 staff based in 92 offices across 35 countries, and is present in Africa, the Americas, Australasia, East Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Arup has participated in projects in over 160 countries.

Palace Theatre, Manchester theatre in Manchester, England

The Palace Theatre, Manchester, is one of the main theatres in Manchester, England. It is situated on Oxford Street, on the north-east corner of the intersection with Whitworth Street. The Palace and its sister theatre the Opera House on Quay Street are operated by the same parent company, Ambassador Theatre Group. The original capacity of 3,675 has been reduced to its current 1,955.

Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay waterside building located alongside Marina Bay near the mouth of the Singapore River, purpose-built to be the centre for performing arts for Singapore.

Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay is a performing arts centre located in Downtown Core near the mouth of the Singapore River. Named after the nearby Esplanade Park, it consists of a concert hall which seats about 1,600 and a theatre with a capacity of about 2,000 for the performing arts.

Project Arts Centre

Project Arts Centre is a multidisciplinary arts centre based in Temple Bar, Dublin, which hosts visual arts, theatre, dance, music, and performance.

Tobacco Factory multi-use building which houses Thali Cafe, animation and performing arts school, loft-style apartments, a café bar, offices and a theatre

The Tobacco Factory is the last remaining part of the old W. D. & H. O. Wills tobacco factory site on Raleigh Road, Southville, Bristol. It was saved from demolition by the architect and former mayor of the city George Ferguson and through his vision has become a model of urban regeneration. It is now a multi-use building which houses Thali Cafe, animation and performing arts school, loft-style apartments, a café bar, offices and a theatre.

The Lowry arts centre in Salford, England

The Lowry is a theatre and gallery complex at Salford Quays, Salford, Greater Manchester, England. It is named after the early 20th century painter L. S. Lowry, known for his paintings of industrial scenes in North West England. The complex was officially opened on 12 October 2000 by Queen Elizabeth II.

The Manchester International Festival is a biennial international arts festival, with a specific focus on original new work, held in the English city of Manchester. The festival is a biennial event, first taking place in June–July 2007, and subsequently recurring in the summers of 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015. MIF17 took place from 29 June to 16 July 2017. The organisation is based in Blackfriars House, adjacent to Blackfriars Bridge but is due to move to a new £110 million new home, The Factory, by the beginning of 2020.

Durham Performing Arts Center

The Durham Performing Arts Center opened November 30, 2008 as the largest performing arts center in the Carolinas at a cost of $48 million. The DPAC hosts over 200 performances a year including touring Broadway productions, high-profile concert and comedy events, family shows and the American Dance Festival. Operated under the direction of Nederlander and Professional Facilities Managaement (PFM), DPAC has twice been listed as the #1 performing arts organization in the Triangle region by the Triangle Business Journal. Construction of the DPAC was part of a larger plan to redevelop downtown Durham by the Capitol Broadcasting Company, and includes other nearby properties such as the American Tobacco Historic District, the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, and the studios of the CBC-owned Fox 50 TV station.

Northumberland Development Project future Tottenham Hotspur stadium

The Northumberland Development Project is a mixed-use development project that centres on the building of the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to replace White Hart Lane as the home ground of Tottenham Hotspur. The stadium has a planned capacity for 62,062 spectators, and is designed to host football as well as NFL games. The development plans also include 585 new homes, a 180-room hotel, a local community health centre, the "Tottenham Experience" – a Spurs museum and club shop - an extreme sports facility, as well as the Lilywhite House, which contains a Sainsbury's supermarket, a sixth form college and the club's headquarters.

Bord Gáis Energy Theatre Irelands largest all-seated indoor theatre

The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre is a performing arts venue, located in the Docklands of Dublin, Ireland. It is Ireland's largest fixed-seat theatre. It was designed by Daniel Libeskind for the DDDA, built by Joe O'Reilly, and opened by Harry Crosbie on the 18 March 2010. It is owned by Bernie and John Gallagher, who bought the theatre in 2014 from NAMA, through their company, Crownway.

HOME (Manchester) centre for international contemporary art, theatre and film in Manchester, England

HOME is a centre for international contemporary art, theatre and film in Manchester, England, that opened in 2015.

Performing Arts Center (Manhattan) performing arts center at the World Trade Center in New York City

The Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center (PACWTC), also called the Performing Arts Center for short, is a multi-space, 150 to 800-seat performing arts center under construction at the northeast corner of the World Trade Center complex. The site is located at the intersection of Vesey, Fulton and Greenwich Streets in Manhattan, New York City.

St Johns, Manchester

St John's is a proposed £1 bn development of a 6 hectare plot within central Manchester, England. The site is being developed by Manchester Quays Ltd (MQL), a partnership between Manchester City Council and Allied London.


  1. "Starlight Theatre". Old Granada Studios: St Johns . Retrieved 9 August 2015.
  2. Chapman, Stephen (27 September 2013). "Granada's Quay Street complex bought by Allied London and Manchester City Council". Prolific North. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  3. Williams, Verity (15 June 2016). "MIF's Giselle at The Palace Theatre, preview: Dancing to a different tune". Creative Tourist. Creative Tourist Ltd. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  4. Sherwin, Adam (29 July 2015). "The Factory project: New £110m arts venue named after Tony Wilson's Factory Records to open in Manchester". The Independent . Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  5. Williams, Jennifer (22 July 2015). "Manchester's £110m Factory Theatre takes a big step forward with architects set to be appointed". Manchester Evening News . Trinity Mirror . Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  6. "Autumn Statement: £78m 'Factory' theatre planned for Manchester". Architects Journal. 3 December 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-14.
  7. "£78m for The Factory Manchester - a new large scale, ultra-flexible arts space". 3 December 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-14.
  8. "Manchester to get new multi-million pound theatre". 3 December 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-14.
  9. "REVEALED: New £78m Arts & Theatre Space For Granada Studios". Manchester Confidential. 3 December 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-14.
  10. "The Guardian view on Manchester's new cultural space: from one kind of factory to another". The Guardian. 5 December 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-14.
  11. "Manchester to get new £78m theatre named The Factory". BBC News. 3 December 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-14.
  12. "New multi-million pound theatre and £250m science institute to be built in Manchester, Chancellor confirms". Manchester Evening News. 3 December 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-14.
  13. 1 2 "Manchester to get new £78m theatre named The Factory". BBC. 3 December 2014. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  14. Youngs, Ian (29 July 2015). "The Factory Manchester £110m arts venue approved". BBC. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  15. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Manchester City Council (July 2016). Executive meeting: 16. Updated Draft St Johns Strategic regeneration framework and Factory Manchester (Report). Manchester City Council . Retrieved 22 July 2016. Pdf.
  16. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Manchester City Council (26 July 2017). Executive meeting: 9. Factory Manchester (Report). Manchester City Council . Retrieved 29 July 2017. Pdf.
  17. Williams, Jennifer (26 July 2017). "Manchester's new flagship arts centre was designed with poor acoustics and an orchestra pit that was too small - and it'll cost us £1.6m to fix it". Manchester Evening News . Trinity Mirror . Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  18. Historic England 1200805
  19. OMA (October 2016), "Introduction", in OMA, Design and access statement: Factory (151 pages) (pdf), OMA, p. 7
  20. "The Factory". Manchester Quays Ltd (MQL). Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  21. "Building our new gallery". Museum of Science and Industry. Retrieved 18 January 2017. Pdf of Carmody Groarke's design.
  22. "Museum of Science and Industry". Carmody Groarke. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  23. Hutchison, David (20 July 2015). "Simon Mellor appointed project director for Manchester's the Factory". The Stage . The Stage Media Company Limited. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  24. 1 2 Manchester City Council (29 July 2015). Executive meeting: 16. The Factory Manchester: Project Delivery (Report). Manchester City Council. pp. 222–224. Retrieved 5 August 2015. point 5.0. Pdf.
  25. Woolman, Natalie (3 January 2012). "MIF general director Simon Mellor to join arts council". The Stage . The Stage Media Company Limited. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  26. Williams, Jennifer (21 March 2016). "Council advertises for £140,000 arts chief to head Factory project". Manchester Evening News . Trinity Mirror . Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  27. Chapman, Stephen (2 June 2016). "BBC's Jenny Baxter to lead Factory Manchester". Prolific North. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  28. "Manchester's Factory gets the go-ahead". Manchester City Council. 12 January 2017. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  29. BWW Newsdesk (12 January 2017). "LIFT Artistic Director Mark Ball joins Manchester International Festvial". Broadway World. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  30. Coyne, Nadja; Hargreaves, Jamie-leigh (14 September 2017). "Manchester International Festival appoints nine new board members" (PDF) (Press release). Manchester: Manchester International Festival. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 September 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  31. Clark, Tim (27 July 2015). "Manchester seeks architect for £110m The Factory venue". Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  32. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Provision of design services lots 1-7 for the Factory Development, Manchester". 24 July 2015. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  33. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 admin (26 November 2015). "The Factory Manchester arts building". e-architect. World Architecture. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
  34. 1 2 Barrett, Emma (23 March 2016). "BuroHappold part of the team appointed to design and deliver Manchester's newest flexible arts space, The Factory". BuroHappold Engineering . Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  35. Fulcher, Merlin (23 September 2015). "Stellar shortlist revealed for Manchester's new £110m arts venue". Architects' Journal . Emap Ltd . Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  36. Marrs, Colin (1 October 2015). "No architects on Manchester's Factory competition jury". Architects' Journal . Emap Ltd . Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  37. Brown, Mark (25 November 2015). "Rem Koolhaas wins Factory design project as Manchester goes Dutch". The Guardian . Guardian Media Group . Retrieved 26 November 2015.
  38. Staff writer (November 2015). "Images". Bolton & Quinn. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  39. 1 2 Manchester City Council (January 2017). Executive meeting: 20. Updated Draft St. John’s Strategic Regeneration Framework and Factory Manchester (Report). Manchester City Council. p. 1. Retrieved 13 January 2017. Pdf.
  40. Fulcher, Merlin; Braidwood, Ella (24 November 2016). "OMA lodges plans for Manchester's £110m 'Factory' arts venue". Architects' Journal . Emap Ltd . Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  41. "MIF announced as operator for Factory". Manchester International Festival. 12 January 2017. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  42. "Skills, Training and Education Lead, Factory Project (job description)" (PDF). Manchester International Festival. March 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 March 2017. Retrieved 22 March 2017.


Note 1 The original timeline was as follows:
  • May 2016 - planning application submission
  • January 2017 to December 2018 - construction
  • January 2019 to June 2019 - commissioning of facilities and test events
  • July 2019 - opening ceremony
Note 2 The revised timeline was as follows:
  • End of 2019 - opening ceremony
Reference to Note 1
Reference to Note 2