Manchester International Festival (MIF) has appointed four new board members and a new venue director as the organisation prepares to move to The Factory in Manchester’s upcoming £1.35bn St. John’s neighbourhood.

Sheena Wrigley (pictured) has been appointed as venue director, having previously worked as director of the Palace Theatre and Opera House, Manchester (cap. 3,675), chief executive of West Yorkshire Playhouse (1,100) (now Leeds Playhouse), and executive director of HOME, Manchester (500).

Football pundit and businessman Gary Neville, entrepreneur Grace Ladoja, visual artist Ibrahim Mahama, and TV commissioner Shaminder Nahal have also joined the MIF Board.

MIF 2021, which goes on sale from 20 May for its event on 1-18 July, will feature a programme of visual and performing arts and music by artists from over 20 countries. Events will take place in indoor and outdoor locations across Greater Manchester along with livestreams.

MIF will go from a biennial festival to a year-round event of art, music and culture when it completes the move to The Factory, designed by Ellen van Loon of Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA).

The Factory, which is expected to be completed by late 2022, is being developed by MIF and Manchester City Council, with funding from the council, the Government and the National Lottery.

Wrigley said, “The Factory will have enormous impact for communities, audiences and the cultural ecology of the north of England. I am thrilled to be part of this ambitious, international adventure and to have a role in shaping a new kind of arts company, rooted in a part of the UK I care passionately about.”

Wrigley will take up the position in September and will lead on venue management, operations, and visitor experience, as well as overseeing the producing and technical teams.

MIF artistic director and chief executive John McGrath said, “As we grow into operating The Factory, our new year-round home in the city, each [board member] will help guide us with fresh ideas and innovative ways of working, building on our international achievements and allowing us to grow ever-deeper connections in the city.”

MIF chair Tom Bloxham MBE said, “All four [board members] have real enthusiasm and energy, plus a breadth of experience and knowledge that is going to be invaluable as we move towards The Factory, which marks a real step change, not just for the organisation, but for Manchester and the whole of the country.”