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Press releases

27 February 2019

All systems go for The Factory

It's all systems go for The Factory - Manchester's landmark new cultural venue - with Laing O’Rourke confirmed as lead contractor.


  • £7m Lottery funding confirmed for new cultural landmark in Manchester
  • Construction to bring 65 apprenticeships, plus numerous work experience opportunities for locals
  • Unique time-lapse footage captures first phase of site ground clearing works

Work has now begun in earnest on the building which will be one of the largest and most flexible cultural spaces in the world, able to showcase artistic work of huge ambition and scale, and expected to attract up to 850,000 visitors a year, and to deliver a £1.1 billion boost to Manchester's economy over a decade.

The work is being carried out by highly skilled and experienced teams - between them with many hundreds of years' construction experience - working alongside new recruits who are just starting out in the industry.

Laing O’Rourke has been on site since June 2018 to oversee the main preparation and clearance works that are necessary before the main construction can begin. Unique time-lapse footage of every stage of the building's construction is being captured to show just what's involved in the creation of the landmark new building.

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, Tom Bloxham, Chair of Manchester International Festival, Tom Higgins, Manchester Operations for Laing O’Rourke, Sarah Maxfield, Area Director North at Arts Council England joined by MIF trainees and construction apprentices

Photo credit: Mark Waugh

Manchester Operations Lead Tom Higgins, Laing O'Rourke, said:  

"We are delighted to have begun working on The Factory, a truly state of the art performing arts venue in the heart of Manchester. 

"Laing O’Rourke has the ability to drive certainty into the delivery programme through our in house capabilities along with a fully integrated supply chain and advanced digital engineering and offsite manufacturing. 

"Early engagement with Manchester City Council led to delivering greater confidence from the client team in the buildability of such a technically challenging and complex venue. We look forward to delivering another iconic building for Manchester." 

Creating opportunities for local people during this early construction phase of the building is a key part of The Factory's long-term aim of being a place not just that people will go to, but that people can also be a part of and learn valuable new skills from. Whether this is learning the necessary skills now to create a building literally from the ground up, or in the future the kind of skills needed to pursue a career in the creative industries, or to further develop talents and go on to become an accomplished artist.  

This commitment to local people includes 65 apprenticeships being created across the project that will see apprentices working on all different aspects of the job from start to finish.  Numerous bespoke work experience opportunities are also being developed for people to take part in, as well as training programmes for long term unemployed people, hard to reach residents, and Manchester based graduates.

Other opportunities during the construction of the building will include homelessness and age friendly projects, volunteering, and the chance for people to get involved creatively through a series of artist commissions.  

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: 

"There is no doubt that The Factory will be a game-changer. Not just for Manchester and the wider region but also, as the world-class venue it will be, for the arts world itself.

"Providing a year-round cultural programme and limitless creative opportunities is only one part of The Factory story.

"The opportunities it will also provide for training and learning new technical and creative industry specific skills are just as important.

"They will be a key part both of The Factory's success and in helping guarantee a successful future for culture and the arts in Manchester and far beyond."

Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said: 

“The Factory will be a world-class centre of creativity, attracting talent from home and abroad.

 “Our £78 million investment is helping to deliver this exciting project that will create jobs and training opportunities across Manchester and the Northern Powerhouse, and support the next generation of artists and creative talent.

“The vision and ambition for the Factory is inspiring and I am excited to see this major cultural and tech hub develop.”



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