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Aviva lands ‘multi-million-pound’ Factory International naming rights

l-r: Aviva CEO Amanda Blanc and MCC's Bev Craig

Aviva, Manchester City Council and Factory International have announced a long-term partnership which includes landmark support for Manchester’s iconic new arts and culture destination, to be named Aviva Studios.

The venue, which includes the site of the Old Granada Studios and will be the home of Factory International, is predicted to add £1.1 billion to the economy of Manchester and the surrounding region over a decade.

It will support up to 1,500 direct and indirect jobs and provide training and engagement opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds.

The “multi-million-pound” investment by Aviva, the UK’s leading insurance, wealth and retirement business, will make a “substantial” contribution to the building and future success of the venue which seeks to be a “resource for Manchester, the North, and the UK for many years to come.”

The announcement comes after Factory International sought £25m of extra funding from the council last October as a bridge while it sought naming rights. The total value of the new deal has not been announced, but MIF executive director Randel Bryan told the council at the time that naming rights were expected to raise “at least £25m.”

Audiences will be invited to preview the new cultural space during this year’s Manchester International Festival from June 29 – July16. Aviva Studios’ official opening will be in October 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 Olivier Award-winning Boy Blue.

Programmed and operated by Factory International, the organisation behind the Manchester International Festival, the new venue will host a year-round programme of original creative work, music and special events by some of the world’s leading artists. Its development is the largest investment in a national cultural project since the opening of Tate Modern in 2000, thanks to £106m of public funding from HM Government and Arts Council England, with additional backing from Manchester City Council.

Aviva will also work closely with Factory International and Manchester City Council on a number of initiatives linked to long-term sustainability and community impact. This includes being the Principal Partner of the Factory Academy, Factory International’s award-winning skills training programme which provides opportunities for careers in Manchester’s growing creative industries. A core aim of the Factory Academy is to diversify the workforce in an increasingly important sector for the region.

As part of Factory International’s affordable pricing strategy, which will see discounted tickets for those who need them across the year-round programme, Aviva will also support its £10 ticket scheme, to be known as ‘Aviva £10 Tickets’.

Amanda Blanc, group chief executive officer, Aviva said: “Aviva is thrilled to be backing this new, world-class arts building in Manchester. The new Aviva Studios will help make arts and culture more accessible and inclusive and follows the significant investment Aviva Investors has already made in Manchester, such as the development of Enterprise City.”

The new building has been designed by the world-leading Office for Metropolitan Architecture, led by architect Ellen van Loon, and is the acclaimed practice’s first major public building in the UK.

The new waterfront building is the anchor of the new St John’s neighbourhood, a cultural, creative and technological hub which will make a major contribution to the ongoing regeneration of this part of the city centre. It lies at the heart of an extensive cultural quarter, including the Science and Industry Museum next door, and within walking distance from other cultural sites including The People’s History Museum, Everyman Cinema, John Rylands Library, the Opera House, Royal Exchange Theatre and HOME.

Bev Craig, leader, Manchester City Council said: “Aviva Studios, as the home of Factory International, will be a nationally and internationally important cultural attraction in the heart of Manchester. This multi-year, multi-million-pound partnership reflects the magnitude of the venue not just for the city but for the North of England and the UK as a whole.

“Aviva has the credentials to be an ideal partner. We are looking forward to collaborating with them on this amazing venue and welcome the expansion of their existing commitment to Manchester.”

John McGrath, chief executive & artistic director, Factory International, added: “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. Aviva’s values and commitment align with our own and we will also be working together on a range of initiatives, from sustainability to our £10 ticket scheme to ensure that our programme of work is accessible to all.

“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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