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The Factory ‘could be Royal Opera House and Warehouse Project in one day’

Written by
Kaleigh Watterson

Manchester’s new £110m arts venue The Factory will be unlike anywhere else in the world and ‘could be the Royal Opera House in the morning and the Warehouse Project in the evening’, according to Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese.

The Factory, part of the St John’s development at the former Granada Studios, will be a unique, ultra-flexible arts venue capable of being transformed from a seated theatre space to a standing environment suited to a range of art forms.

It will also provide a permanent home for the Manchester International Festival and allow for more events in the non-festival years. Proposed events would be unusual dramatic experiences, similar to the 2013 performance of 'Macbeth' starring Kenneth Branagh in St Peter’s Church, but on a larger scale.

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The centre will not compete with other venues in the city but instead complement other institutions, in particular the nearby Museum of Science and Industry, says Sir Richard. St John’s will also feature creative performance space, an office scheme, a hotel and 3,000 new homes.

The council has launched a design competition to find a team to design and develop The Factory, and it is expected work will start on site in January 2017 ahead of its opening in 2019.

See Time Out's guide to Manchester's best theatres.

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