Backed by £100m of Government funding, Manchester will see the unveiling of a major new venue in June 2023, with the opening of Factory International – a multipurpose, 13,350 square metre, cultural event facility expected to host around 80 gigs per year.

Located in the St John’s area, Factory International will include the Warehouse; a 5,000-capacity industrial-style main performance space that will provide a technical grid on its ceiling to enable flexible use ranging from exhibitions to concerts. A moveable, 21-metre-tall, acoustic wall will enable two events to be staged concurrently in the space.

The venue, which will be programmed and operated by the Manchester International Festival team, will also feature a 1,600-seat auditorium with a flexible stage set up. The auditorium and warehouse will be made available for simultaneous use.

Factory International will first be used as the centre piece for the Manchester International Festival, due to run from 29 June – 16 July 2023. The warehouse space will host a range of large inflatable sculptures created by renowned Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.

The venue’s first major show will be Free Your Mind, a large-scale “immersive performance” involving dance, music and visual effects based on The Matrix film franchise. The production team includes designer Es Devlin, writer Sabrina Mahfouz and film director Danny Boyle. Some 5,000 tickets for the show will be made available for £10. It is scheduled to run from 18 October – 5 November 2023.

The venue, which was part funded by Manchester City Council and Arts Council England, has been designed by Metropolitan Architecture. Open spaces around the building and alongside the River Irwell will be used for outdoor events. It is expected to support around 1,500 jobs and contribute an estimated £1.1 billion to the city’s economy during its first decade.

Arts minister Stuart Andrew said, “This represents a great example of the Government’s commitment to distribute arts funding right across the country. It is fantastic to see such an exciting programme of events being put together for its opening and I look forward to seeing the positive impact the venue has on the city.”