Primed for inauguration in June 2023, Factory International – Europe’s most anticipated arts venue – has unveiled its formal opening production, a daring and immersive ‘Matrix’ experience helmed by Danny Boyle beginning in October 2023, taking place between a hypnotic Yuyoi Kusama exhibition for Manchester International Festival and a nine-day programme of creativity developed by Mancunians.

The £186m cultural space and creative hub – and the UK’s biggest investment into a national cultural project since the Tate Modern in 2000 – will officially open with Free Your Mind, a blockbuster audiovisual dance odyssey featuring “spectacular visual effects, a cast of professional dancers and hundreds of Manchester participants”.  Based on The Matrix, the Danny Boyle-directed experience includes choreography by Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy, music by Michael Asante, original work from playwright and poet Sabrina Mahfouz and stage sculptures by designer Es Devlin.

Speaking with trademark restraint on the details of Free Your Mind, Boyle said: “You know what it’s like, especially at the moment, you think: what the fuck is going on? This is a project where we try to address that … through dance, really. That’s not giving too much away but it does reveal some of the ambition of it.”

Prior to the official opening, Factory International will form the centrepiece of Manchester International Festival, running from 29 Jun – 16 Jul 2023. Its main warehouse, sparse and industrial yet sweeping and grandiose, will accommodate world-renowned artist Yuyoi Kasama’s mesmeric exhibition, “You, Me and the Balloons” – a labyrinth of polka-dot spheres and inflatable sculptures, including dolls over 33-feet tall.

Following Free Your Mind, Factory International’s outdoor areas and reconfigurable indoor spaces will host The Welcome, an inclusive nine-day arts showcase in which Greater Manchester residents share music, circus performances, fashion and more with one another as a celebration of the venue as a community space, in keeping with Manchester International Festival’s commitment to amplifying local talent and workers.

For more information, head to the Factory International website.

Thu 1 Jun
Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Fri 30 Sep 2022