George Osborne’s announcement in his Autumn Statement that a new £78 million theatre and arts venue is to be built in Manchester has been welcomed by leading Manchester figures.

“The Factory is Mancunian
to the core.”

The venue, which will be called The Factory in homage to the legendary record label, will be located at the heart of a new creative village – St John’s, on the former Granada Studios site, establishing Manchester as the country’s most important arts and cultural employment centre outside London.

Maria Balshaw, director of Manchester City Galleries, said: “Manchester, at the heart of a wider region, has unique potential to become the cultural counterweight to London that the UK needs for successful economic and creative growth. Today’s announcement is a tremendous leap towards realising that vision.”

The Factory will be a unique large scale, ultra-flexible arts space capable of transforming from a 2,200 seat theatre to an immersive artistic environment with a standing capacity of up to 5,000 and will be the permanent home to the Manchester International Festival.

It is estimated that within a decade it will help create, directly or indirectly, the equivalent of 2,300 full time jobs and be adding £134m a year to the local economy.

Chancellor Osborne said: “I have always said that culture is a key part of the Northern Powerhouse. I think that the name that has been suggested is absolutely brilliant. The Factory is Mancunian to the core.”

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