Entertainment & Arts

Manchester to get new £78m theatre named The Factory

Sir Kenneth Branagh and Bjork Image copyright johan persson/Carsten Windhorst
Image caption The Manchester International Festival has hosted Sir Kenneth Branagh and Bjork in recent years

A new £78 million theatre and arts venue is to be built on the former site of Granada's TV studios in Manchester, Chancellor George Osborne has promised.

The venue is to be called The Factory, in homage to the city's legendary Factory Records label.

It will hold up to 5,000 people and provide a permanent home for the Manchester International Festival.

The plans were announced by Mr Osborne in his Autumn Statement on Wednesday. The venue is due to open by 2019.

Manchester City Council said the government had pledged £78m, which would cover "a large proportion of the anticipated overall project costs".

A council statement predicted that the building would "play an integral part in helping Manchester and the north of England provide a genuine cultural counterbalance to London".

Image caption ITV has sold the former Granada TV headquarters in central Manchester

The council said it would be a "large scale, ultra-flexible arts space" that would hold 2,200 people when seated, or 5,000 standing.

It has risen out of the success of the biennial Manchester International Festival, which has to date staged major shows and innovative cultural events in existing venues or empty buildings.

MIF chairman Tom Bloxham said The Factory would be "a new kind of large-scale venue comparable in scale to London's Coliseum connected to one side of a Tate Modern Turbine Hall-type structure".

He continued: "As well as providing a new home base for MIF, it will commission and welcome innovative works from companies and artists around the world.

"Like MIF, it will attract groundbreaking and pioneering works which might not otherwise come to the north of England, or even the UK, and the concept is in many ways born from MIF."

Tax breaks

The news about The Factory comes as another major arts centre prepares to open less than a mile away. Home, which will include theatres, art galleries and cinema screens, will open next May at a cost of £25 million.

Mr Osborne also promised to fund a "Great Exhibition" to celebrate the art, culture and design of the north of England, and to provide £3 million for arts projects to commemorate the World War One centenary in cities including Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle.

Meanwhile, he proposed to extend the tax breaks currently offered to TV drama and animation to cover other children's television programmes.

And the government will examine whether to extend the TV drama tax breaks to cover more programmes and widen the existing tax breaks for theatres to include orchestras.

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites