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Aviva Studios new shows

The Fete of Britain, coming in late February. Pic: Charlie Waterhouse
The Fete of Britain, coming in late February. Pic: Charlie Waterhouse

Factory International - at Manchester's new landmark £240m Aviva Studios - has announced more details of its 2024 spring programme. A trio of works respond to a world in crisis:

The Fete of Britain (February 22-24), a four-day takeover by Hard Art – a group of artists, musicians and creatives including Brian Eno, Es Devlin, Cornelia Parker, and Jeremy Deller. They will respond to the crisis in democracy and the climate emergency with a mix of play, talks and performances. The ‘fete’ will ask how we can face the challenges of the 21st Century and how we can make the world safer and fairer.

In the year of a crucial US election, fix+foxy’s award-winning theatre production Dark Noon (March 6-10) explores the great American myth of the Wild West. Premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe last year, this production - directed by Tue Biering and Nhlanhla Mahlangu and told by seven South African actors - takes audiences through the bloody history of the birth of modern America and asks: what if history wasn’t written by the victors, but by the vanquished?

Later in the month, Collective Ma’Llouba’s The Long Shadow of Alois Brunner (March 21-23) by Syrian playwright Mudar Alhaggi, raises questions about refuge, justice and hope. Weaving together Syrian and German history to tell the story of how one of the most wanted Nazi criminal escaped justice, the play explores exile, accountability, political memory and the complex thread that ties the past to the present.

These newly-announced works join a group of already-announced theatre and dance commissioned by Factory International.

Director Robert Wilson joins forces with CocoRosie for a stage adaptation of the Jungle Book (March 28-31).

Maxine Peake, Sarah Frankcom and Imogen Knight join forces with Gazelle Twin and Daisy Johnson to present a feminist theatrical reimagining of John Bowen’s Robin/Red/Breast (May 17-26) - first broadcast as part of the BBC’s Play for Today series in 1970.

Keith Khan’s The Accountants (May 7-12) transforms data from India and China into a visual allegory for the stage, combining visuals from leading Chinese choreographer Xie Xin and Mumbai’s Terence Lewis.

In April, Factory International also presents a specially-commissioned programme from acclaimed Manchester-based artist David Hoyle. A cabaret star, actor, and visual artist, Hoyle’s infamous alter-ego The Divine David transported him from radical alternative settings to Channel 4. Please Feel Free to Ignore My Work (April 10-28) celebrates the artist's body of work across multiple mediums created over four decades.

In the autumn Aviva has Traplord, by Ivan Michael Blackstock (September). The award-winning dance artist and cultural innovator presents dance meditating on life, death and rebirth, using theatre and spoken word as well as movement to explore themes of mental health and masculinity. The show, co-produced by Factory International, premiered at 180 Studios in London and won the 2023 Laurence Olivier award for best new dance production.

Following it in November will be Laurie Anderson's Ark. Six years after breaking ground on the site of Aviva Studios and four years after presenting To the Moon for the 2019 Manchester International Festival, Laurie Anderson returns to the city with an ambitious new music and multimedia experience that asks: if we are headed towards disaster, will there be an Ark?

Fuelled by Anderson’s fascinations and weaving together threads from her decades-long career, ARK

explores how the world might need to be reconfigured to be saved. ​

More info and tickets here


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