A major capital gift of £2m has been secured towards Manchester’s landmark new cultural space, Factory International, ahead of its opening in 2023.
The gift comes from The Law Family Charitable Foundation and will be recognised through the naming of the Hall, one of Factory International’s flexible performances spaces. In addition the Foundation has also pledged £888k to support the Factory Academy, Factory International’s skills and training programme that has already provided thousands of opportunities for local residents.
Factory International, which is currently being developed in the heart of Manchester, will be a global destination for arts, music and culture, commissioning and present a year-round programme of extraordinary, ground-breaking and interdisciplinary work by leading artists.
The first major public building to be designed by internationally-renowned architects Rem Koolhaas’ Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) in the UK, its development is being led by Manchester City Council. Manchester International Festival (MIF) will operate the landmark venue as well as continuing to deliver the city-wide Festival every other year.
The design of Factory International is based around large, open, flexible spaces that will constantly change and reconfigure to meet the needs of the work created and shown in the building: from large-scale multimedia performances to epic installations.
Its key components include the warehouse, a vast space higher than four double decker buses stacked on top of each other which can accommodate 5,000 people standing; and the Hall, an auditorium theatre space split between fixed balcony and stalls, capable of accommodating between 1,500- 2,000 people, with an orchestra pit for 80 musicians. The theatre space is made exceptional by its relationship to the warehouse through a supersized proscenium and can be configured to stage works independent of the warehouse or utilise the floor of the warehouse to give an extraordinary stage area.
The £2m gift, secured via the Factory Trust, is an early win for the venue’s long-term philanthropic fundraising strategy and, with other discussions at an advanced stage, is expected to be followed by further announcements in due course.
The generous charitable sum will be added to more than £105m in national public funding that has been secured for The Factory project – money that would not have otherwise been available for the cultural sector or the region. This includes £78m HM Treasury investment, £7m Arts Lottery and £21m Kickstart Capital from the Cultural Recovery fund all administered by Arts Council England. Manchester City Council is also making a significant contribution, more than £50m to date, as part of its commitment to supporting culture and the creative industries – an increasingly important part of the city’s economy. Further work to secure major commercial sponsorship and investment is also progressing well.
Attracting up to 850,000 visitors annually, Factory International will add around £1 billion to the economy over a decade and create or support 1,500 jobs. Its pioneering programme of skills, training and engagement will benefit local people and the next generation of creative talent from across the city, whilst apprenticeships and trainee schemes are already underway during the construction phase. Located in the new St John’s neighbourhood next to the River Irwell, Factory International will be at the heart of a burgeoning city centre hub for culture, creativity and digital innovation.
The Law Family Charitable Foundation established by Andrew Law and Zoë Law, who both have long standing links to Manchester, supports a range of educational, arts and charitable causes. Other beneficiaries include Salford’s theatre and gallery complex, The Lowry; the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester; Speakers for Schools, which provide state schools in the UK with access to a fantastic network of inspirational speakers, the Sutton Trust, which aims to improve social mobility in the UK through providing educational opportunities,; and cancer support charity Maggie’s.
Andrew Law, said: “Manchester has a global reputation as a centre for creativity and the arts and this will be further augmented by the addition of the fantastic and diverse programmes of work planned for the Factory International. Culture is a brilliant contributor to growth and regeneration, and the Academy is designed to bring these benefits to local young people. Zoë and I look forward to seeing the impact first hand that this project will have in the region.”
Cllr Luthfur Rahman, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Factory International is a bold and exciting project which will reinforce Manchester’s position as one of the world’s leading cultural and creative centres as well as generating jobs, opening up new training opportunities and supporting the city’s wider economy.
“We are delighted to welcome this generous gift from the Law Family Charitable Foundation and we are excited that Andrew & Zoë have so fully embraced the vision of what Factory International will deliver for the city, the region and the country.”
John McGrath, Artistic Director and Chief Executive Manchester International Festival & Factory International said: “This is a really significant boost to Factory International as we prepare for opening in 2023 and we are extremely grateful to The Law Family Charitable Foundation, whose £2m gift joins over £100m national public funding already secured for the project as well as the Council’s support. We also have a major commercial sponsorship programme taking shape and this fantastic contribution supporting the Hall will provide a natural boost to those efforts.”
Sir Howard Bernstein, Chair of the Factory Trust, said: “On behalf of the Trust I would like to extend our thanks to the Law Family Charitable Foundation. It is gratifying when successful people with connections to Manchester want to contribute so generously to the city and region’s ongoing success and help nurture its talent.
“Factory International is an exciting proposition and we’re confident that others who understand its verve and ambition will want to support its creation.