We Are Factory International

Welcome to Factory International.

Here, art gets turned inside out by world-renowned figures together with Manchester’s rising stars. Whether it’s music, dance, an exhibition, performance or a new combination – expect a twist on the familiar or a leap into the unknown. After all, this is Manchester – a city with a history of innovation that's hard to beat.

You’ll find people collaborating in and around our venue – mixing disciplines and blurring boundaries to produce intimate concerts, digital experiences and unforgettable shows all year round.

But we're so much more than our building. We run Manchester International Festival (MIF) — the festival of brand new artistic work, known world-over, that has animated and captivated our city since 2007.

We’re also training the creative workforce of the future through the Factory Academy, supporting artists to realise their potential, and working with local communities to build our programme. But we don’t stop at Manchester – we take our work to partner venues and festivals all around the world and create extraordinary digital experiences – inviting everyone to play in our virtual world.

Our building

The Factory external view render

Our new home, set to open in 2023, will host a year-round programme of the world's best dance, theatre, music, visual arts, performance, installation and digital commissions. MIF will continue to take over the city every two years, using the venue as its base. With the next edition of the festival also set for 2023, there's never been a better time to be in Manchester.

Built with flexibility in mind, the design of Factory International is led by Ellen van Loon of the world-leading practice Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA). Our multi-use space can adapt to host any kind of set-up — from intimate theatre shows and intricate exhibitions, to huge multimedia performances and warehouse-scale gigs fit for the greatest artists of our time. We offer a dynamic space to match our ever-evolving city — inviting artists to create bold new work by providing a canvas to make, explore and experiment.

Supporting the next generation

With our roots firmly in our city, we invite communities from Manchester and beyond to meet, exchange ideas, learn new skills and have their say — supporting future artists, makers, doers and thinkers to reach their full potential.

-On our free Factory Academy programme, you can train to become one of tomorrow’s technicians, producers and educators.

-If you're an emerging artist, you can develop your practice with one of our Artist Development programmes.

-For those who want to want to work on large-scale interdisciplinary events across the world, you can sign up for our International Training.

-We believe there is creativity in everyone, at any age, and our Learning Programmes work with people from early years and schools to later life.

-Through Co-curation, our Forums and Community Partnerships, you can shape the work we do across Manchester.

A workshop of sitting participants, a man with blonde hair is delivering a workshop in front of a digital screen

Vision and Mission

Factory International is where we invent tomorrow together. Through our work we want to use art, music and culture to create the meeting points between real and imagined lives, physical spaces and digital worlds. 

So what does this look like in reality?

We invent: we commission performances, events and installations that have never been seen before, using cutting-edge technology to challenge how we interact with the world around us.

We look to tomorrow: we believe in the importance of training the next generation of producers, artists and arts workers, building a cultural industry that reflects our city and our reality. 

We do it together: we work closely with local communities, inviting co-curation and community collaboration that opens up our outlook and strengthens our connection with one another.

We believe in being open, inventive, equitable, determined and international in everything we do. These are the values we embody through the work we do and how we do it.

Our approach

  • Access

    Factory International's open to all, so here are some things that we do to try to make our work and organisation as access friendly as possible.
  • Participation

    From joining our Forums to commissions you can take part in, there are lots of ways you can shape the work we do at Factory International.
  • Equity and Representation

    Factory International is designed to be a communal and welcoming space. You should feel at home here and valued for who you are.
  • Environmental Sustainability

    Sustainability targets are integral to our mission and always under review. Find out more about our progress and next steps.

Manchester International Festival

  • Cast members during a performance of Tree of Codes at MIF15

    Image Marc Brenner

    Since its first edition in 2007, Manchester International Festival has invited some of the greatest artists on the planet to shock and inspire our audiences in spaces of all shapes and sizes – from city centre car parks to grand concert halls.

    Renowned for our world-firsts, we commission work that blurs boundaries and opens new possibilities. We bring artists together to invent — think Massive Attack collaborating with Adam Curtis. Marina Abramović and Robert Wilson presenting a retelling of the artist’s life featuring Willem Defoe, Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah taking us on a dramatic odyssey to contemporary South Africa. Or Maxine Peake and Sarah Frankcom re-imagining the life of Nico. And we invite extraordinary responses to our city and times: Yoko Ono’s Bells for Peace, Jeremy Deller’s Procession or Marta Minujin’s Big Ben Lying Down with Political Books.

    Not content with just bringing the best to our city, MIF also takes incredible arts and culture from the North to the rest of the world as part of our International work. With the help of our partners, many of our Manchester-made projects have travelled to more than 30 countries, reaching an audience of 1.4 million people — and counting.

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