Ahead of the £1.3 billion transformation of Old Granada Studios, Allied London have launched a quirky new ensemble

When developer Allied London acquired the Old Granada Studios (OGS) site, they knew that any future plans must involve culture. 

After all, as headquarters for Granada Television until 2013, OGS was once a cultural mainstay: producing the first kitchen sink drama Corrie, witnessing the Beatles’ first ever TV performance in 1962 and hosting everything from King Lear to Brideshead Revisited.

And so the property developers announced St John’s: a new £1.3bn neighbourhood ‘founded on enterprise, culture and living’ - due to be completed over multiple phases by 2022.

170522 St Johns Allied London
The £1.3bn St John's neighbourhood will be home to £110m Factory arts centre and the St John's Collective orchestra St John's

‘Enterprise’ will be covered by the likes of flexible workspace and a five-star hotel, while ‘living’ refers to various apartment developments that build on the existing complex. 

‘Culture,’ meanwhile, is where the St John’s Collective comes in. Headed up by Jonathan Raine (Allied London’s Director of Corporate by day, multitalented musician by night) and Manchester Camerata (described by The Times as ‘Britain’s most adventurous orchestra’), the new orchestra will be starting workshops this month and aims to inspire Mancunians to be creative with classical music. 

180116 St Johns Collective Old Granada
St John's Collective's first workshop in OGS's Studio 2 in January OGS

Conducted in ‘unusual, hidden spaces’ across the city, workshops will see the group learn a new work by Raine - an experienced flautist, violist, violinist and composer - which will be performed to the public this spring.  

Helping to mentor will be Manchester Camerata, founded in 1972, which has become famed for ‘redefining what an orchestra can do.’ Camerata pioneered the popular Hacienda Classical gigs, is at the forefront of music-led dementia research and has won a slew of awards for its innovation - the perfect partner for an ambitious new ensemble.

St John’s Collective will be joined in the ‘culture’ department by a lively events programme at OGS - last year spanning Adidas exhibitions to Dirty Dancing pop-ups - and The Crystal Maze, launched in spring 2017. 

Future projects include the Bonded Warehouse, which will feature both dining venues and creative spaces, and the North's new flagship cultural centre, the £110m Factory, designed by world-leading architect Rem Koolhass's OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture) and due to be completed in 2020.    

Factory Manchester 684R
The £110m Factory centre will form the cultural centrepiece to St John's

“We have always been clear from the start that the new St. John’s neighbourhood is founded on the three pillars of enterprise, culture and living, which is the driving force in everything we do here," says Raine.

"Of course, the Factory will be coming to this part of Manchester in 2020, but there are also many other ways in which we can showcase the huge untapped cultural potential within the city. 

“It has always been Allied London’s and my ambition to use music to bring people together within the communities we have and will create as developers, and the St. John’s Collective will aim to do just that in a fun, inspiring and innovative way alongside some of the best musicians in the city”.

Old Granada Studios Stock
OId Granada Studios will soon be transformed with hotels, restaurants, arts, living and work spaces

To find out more, or register your interest in taking part visit, visit www.stjohnscollective.com