One of the most highly-anticipated venues set to open in Manchester this year, Factory International, will be renamed Aviva Studios in one of the UK’s biggest cultural corporate sponsorship deals. Aviva, Manchester City Council and Factory International have announced a long-term partnership which includes landmark support for Manchester’s iconic new arts and culture venue to be named after the insurance company.
The huge arts and cultural venue, due to fully open in October, will be the home of Factory International and is predicted to add £1.1 billion to the economy of Manchester and the surrounding region over a decade. However, earlier this year, an additional £25.2m was added to Factory International’s budget to allow it to complete the building work, taking its original estimate from £110m to £210.8m.
The chosen name, Factory International, was a nod to the creative heritage of the site which was previously where the old Granada Studios were located. However, due to rising costs of the development Manchester City Council has chosen to form a long-term naming rights agreement in order to recover a significant proportion of these capital costs.
Aviva Studios will officially open in October with the production Free Your Mind, a large-scale immersive performance based on The Matrix films and created by Danny Boyle, Es Devlin, Sabrina Mahfouz and the co-founders of Olivier Award-winning Boy Blue. Yet, audiences will be invited to preview the trailblazing cultural space ahead of its opening during this year’s Manchester International Festival (29 June 2023 – 16 July).
Programmed and operated by Factory International, the organisation behind the world-renowned Manchester International Festival, the new venue will host a year-round programme of original creative work, music and special events by some of the world’s leading artists. The new building has been designed by Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) and built with flexibility in mind featuring large, open, adaptable spaces.
Bev Craig, Leader, Manchester City Council: “Aviva Studios, as the home of Factory International, will be a nationally and internationally important cultural attraction in the heart of Manchester. This multi-year, multi-million pound partnership reflects the magnitude of the venue not just for the city but for the north of England and the UK as a whole.
“This will be a momentous year for the venue as audiences experience its wow factor and enjoy inspiring art in its incredible spaces for the first time. It has undoubtedly been a challenge to create this remarkable building with its unique design against a difficult construction context, including rocketing inflation, without diluting the ambitious vision behind it.”