Manchester’s Factory International To Be Renamed Aviva Studios


June 20, 2023

Manchester’s new multipurpose cultural event facility Factory International has agreed a naming rights deal with insurance company Aviva.

The 13,350sqm venue, opening in October, will now be named Aviva Studios after Manchester City Council said it had to sell the naming rights due to rising costs.

The £210m building, which will be the home of the Manchester International Festival (MIF), is predicted to add £1.1 billion to the economy of Manchester and the surrounding region over a decade, as well as supporting up to 1,500 direct and indirect jobs.

The public will be invited to preview the cultural space during this year’s MIF, taking place from 29 June – 16 July. Aviva Studios will officially open with the production Free Your Mind, a large-scale immersive performance based on The Matrix films and created by Danny Boyle, Es Devlin, Sabrina Mahfouz and the co-founders of Boy Blue.

The venue’s development is the largest investment in a national cultural project since the opening of Tate Modern in 2000. It has received £106m of public funding from HM Government and Arts Council England, with additional backing from Manchester City Council.

Aviva will become the principal partner of the Factory Academy, Factory International’s skills training programme which provides opportunities for careers in Manchester’s creative industries. Aviva will also support Factory International’s £10 ticket scheme, to be known as ‘Aviva £10 Tickets’, which will see discounted tickets for those who need them across the year-round programme.

Aviva Studios has the aim of becoming a zero-carbon emissions organisation by 2038. It will operate a zero waste to landfill policy and work towards a circular economy approach to materials.

The multi-million-pound investment by Aviva was brokered on behalf of Manchester City Council and Factory International by Elliot Willis, CEO of WEEM Group.

Manchester City Council leader Bev Craig (pictured right) said, “This will be a momentous year for the venue as audiences experience its wow factor and enjoy inspiring art in its incredible spaces for the first time. It has undoubtedly been a challenge to create this remarkable building with its unique design against a difficult construction context, including rocketing inflation, without diluting the ambitious vision behind it.

“The new partnership helps make this possible, as well as supporting Factory International’s ongoing success and work with the community to open up access to the arts and training opportunities. The Council will receive the largest share of funding, supporting our up-front investment in the venue and the wider St John’s neighbourhood, as well as adding social value.

Factory International chief executive and artistic director John McGrath said, “This historic new partnership will provide vital support for the construction and future life of our landmark new home, building on the generous public funding support already pledged to the project.

“With the city council, we are all committed to strengthening Manchester’s reputation as a nationally and internationally important centre for culture and creativity, as well as bringing jobs, skills, training and creative opportunities for local people and artists.”

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