Partnership predicts venue will add £1.1. billion to city’s economy

The partnership behind Factory International has announced today (20 June) that the city’s new arts and culture venue will be called Aviva Studios.

The venue, which will be the year-round base of the Manchester International Festival, is expected to inject £1.1 billion into the city’s economy, according to the insurance, wealth and retirement firm.

Aviva Studios, as the home of Factory International, will be a nationally and internationally important cultural attraction in the heart of Manchester

This follows a multi-million pound investment into the building by Aviva, which has joined with Factory International and Manchester City Council to create what MCC hopes will be an “internationally important cultural attraction in the heart of Manchester.”

The partnership also expects the venue to support up to 1,500 direct and indirect jobs along with providing training and engagement opportunities.

Following the receipt of £106m of public funding from HM Government and Arts Council England, the development is reportedly the largest investment in a cultural project since the Tate Modern in 2000, and bosses at both Aviva and MCC seem excited for what it will bring to the city.

Aviva Studios (formerly Factory International) has had a troubled and expensive genesis, to say the least, as we explained in this article in October 2022. 

Amanda Blanc, Group Chief Executive Officer at Aviva said: “Aviva is thrilled to be backing this new, world-class arts building in Manchester. It builds on Aviva’s leading role in the UK, serving more than 15 million customers, employing 16,000 people, and investing billions each year into the UK’s regional economy.

“The new Aviva Studios will help make arts and culture more accessible and inclusive and follows the significant investment Aviva Investors has already made in Manchester, such as the development of Enterprise City.”

2023 06 20 Aviva Studios Body C  Dilantha Dissanayake Pa Wire
Amanda Blanc, Group Chief Executive Officer at Aviva (left) with Bev Craig, leader of Manchester City Council Image: Dilantha Dissanayake / Press Association

Bev Craig, leader of Manchester City Council said: “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.

“The new partnership helps make this possible, as well as supporting Factory International’s ongoing success and work with the community to open up access to the arts and training opportunities. The council will receive the largest share of funding, supporting our up-front investment in the venue and the wider St John’s neighbourhood, as well as adding social value.

“Aviva has the credentials to be an ideal partner. We are looking forward to collaborating with them on this amazing venue and welcome the expansion of their existing commitment to Manchester.”

While audiences will be able to see the venue as it hosts this year’s Manchester International Festival for the first time in June and July, Aviva Studios will officially open in October with the production of Free your Mind, co-created by award-winning director and renowned Mancunian Danny Boyle.

The venue will then serve as the home of Factory International, the operating company, which will provide year-round events including exhibitions, performances and over 80 gigs a year. 

For more information on Aviva Studios visit their website.

Header image credit: Pawel Paniczko

Read next - Strange city (no 2): A forlorn French chanteuse, sad walls and a missing city

Read again - Manchester’s 'Little Brasilia' under threat as development looms

Get the latest news to your inbox

Get the latest food & drink news and exclusive offers by email by signing up to our mailing list. This is one of the ways that Confidentials remains free to our readers and by signing up you help support our high quality, impartial and knowledgable writers. Thank you!