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30th October 2023

Official opening week for Aviva Studios

Aviva Studios officially opens this week, read about its opening, its past, and what’s to come
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Official opening week for Aviva Studios
Credit: Rory Bishop @ The Mancunion

Wednesday 18 October saw the full opening of Aviva Studios, a new multi-art and performance space intended for exhibitions, theatre, music and other artistic activity.

The studio, found in Deansgate, describes itself as a “landmark new cultural space for Manchester and the world.”

The 13,350 square metre space cost £242 million, exceeding its original budget by £130 million.

The studio has become the Treasury’s largest cultural investment since the creation of London’s Tate Modern over 20 years ago.

The building, originally named Factory International in reference to the city’s industrial past and the musical heritage of Factory Records, was renamed Aviva Studios in a £35 million deal with the titular insurance company.

The Factory brand is still retained elsewhere in the scheme including the Factory Academy, a set of free training programmes in the arts, and Factory Sounds, a financial grant to support local musicians.

The site is also intended to become the home of Manchester International Festival (MIF) and aims to extend the festival beyond its usual summer period.

The space was soft-launched whilst works finished over July and August as a part of the MIF showcase of Yayoi Kusama’s ‘You, Me and the Balloons’ exhibition.

Credit: Rory Bishop @ The Mancunion

The venue hosts two spaces, including a 5,000 person warehouse space and 1,600 seat theatre.

The formal opening included Danny Boyle’s ‘Free Your Mind’ which makes use of both spaces. The Guardian described Boyle’s show as having “an energy and an imaginative power that fills the space” and marked it a “triumphant beginning” to Aviva Studios.

Other shows this autumn and winter include ‘A Night With the Johnny Marr Orchestra,’ celebrating the Manchester indie rock icon, and ‘Afrique en Cirque’, a circus performance centred on African culture and themes of diaspora.

Tickets for both, and other events, can be purchased on the Aviva Studios website.


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