We Are Factory International

Producers of extraordinary art from world-renowned figures to Manchester’s rising stars.

Whether you’re into music, dance, performance, theatre, exhibitions or gaming, we’ve got something for you. But don’t expect your run-of-the-mill programme – we pride ourselves on bringing different artists and types of art together. This is Manchester, after all – a city with a history of innovation that's hard to beat.

With our vision to invent tomorrow together, we’ve always got an eye on the future. We’re all about new ways of creating and collaborating to bring you unforgettable art and experiences. At our new home Aviva Studios, you’ll find a year-round programme that does just that.

Every two years we run Manchester International Festival (MIF) – the festival of brand new artistic work known world-over, that’s 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.

And 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.


Aviva Studios is the new home of Factory International. A hive of invention and discovery, we’ll produce a year-round programme of the world’s best new dance, theatre, music, visual and performance arts and digital commissions in this landmark new space.

Built with flexibility in mind, the design of the building is led by Ellen van Loon of the world-leading practice Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA). The 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.

With a dynamic home to match our ever-evolving city, we invite artists to create bold new work – 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.

We’re an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation, which means funding thanks to taxpayers plays a huge part in supporting our work. And as a registered charity, we also rely on the kindness of supporters to deliver our programmes in Manchester.

An adult and child high-five on stage during The Welcome

Vision and Mission

Factory International invents 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 organisation. You should feel at home 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

  • Red and white polka dot spheres in a mirrored room

    Every two years Manchester International Festival (or MIF for short) brings the most exciting artists on the planet to the city to create ambitious new work.

    Known world-over for our world-firsts, we produce work that blurs boundaries and opens new possibilities. We bring artists together to invent — think Massive Attack collaborating with Adam Curtis. 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: take Yoko Ono’s Bells for Peace, Jeremy Deller’s Procession or Marta Minujin’s Big Ben Lying Down with Political Books for starters.

    Since our very first edition in 2007, the Festival has shocked and inspired crowds in spaces of all shapes and sizes – from theatres, galleries and concert halls to railway depots, churches and car parks. Aviva Studios is our new base – but trust us, MIF is still gonna pop up all over the city every other year.

    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 1.6 million people — and counting.

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