World-leading artists recreate The Matrix for Aviva Studios in Manchester - FAD Magazine

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World-leading artists recreate The Matrix for Aviva Studios in Manchester

Factory International presents Free Your Mind, a large-scale immersive performance based on The Matrix films created especially for the official opening of Aviva Studios, Manchester’s landmark new cultural venue.

Free Your Mind: Jeremy Coysten @northdesign

Premiering on 18th October 2023, Free Your Mind is a dramatic retelling of the classic 1999 sci-fi film through dance, music and visual effects. Featuring over 50 professional dancers from the North West and across the UK, this world-first adaptation will take place throughout the building’s ultra-flexible spaces.

Directed by Danny Boyle, Free Your Mind brings together the visceral movement of choreographer Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy MBE with a powerful score from renowned composer Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante MBE (co-founders and artistic directors of the Olivier award-winning Boy Blue), large-scale stage sculptures by world-leading designer Es Devlin and the work of the acclaimed writer Sabrina Mahfouz.

Free Your Mind creative team (l – r) Danny Boyle, Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante, Es Devlin, Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy © Rebecca Lupton

The creative team also includes celebrated costume designer Gareth Pugh, award-winning lighting designer Lucy Carter, sound designer Gareth Fry and renowned video designer Luke Halls.  

Working with BAFTA-winning producer Tracey Seaward, this unique cross-art collaboration of world-leading artists, will showcase the breadth and ambition of Factory International’s artistic programme and invites audiences into a new realm of possibilities spanning real and imagined worlds. Free Your Mind will recreate some of the film’s most iconic scenes through hip-hop choreography combined with immersive set design and visual effects, provoking visions of an alternate future.

Created for Manchester, the birthplace of the world’s first industrial revolution, Free Your Mind will explore where the digital revolution has the power to take the world. Free Your Mind journeys from 1999, the year The Matrix was first released and the moment before people’s lives were irrevocably entwined with technology, to the present day, where the Metaverse is about to engulf the world. The show will bring the words of The Matrix character Neo to the forefront:

I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin.

Free Your Mind is a world premiere commissioned and produced by Factory International. Based on the Warner Bros films written and directed by the Wachowskis, produced by special arrangement with Warner Bros Theatre Ventures.

Factory International is the organisation that runs and programmes Manchester International Festival and the landmark new cultural venue, Aviva Studios, a global destination for arts, music and culture in the heart of Manchester. Factory International will commission and present a year-round programme of original creative work, music and special events at its new venue, online, and internationally through its network of co-commissioners and partners.

Designed by Ellen van Loon, OMA Partner and lead architect, the ultra-flexible building is based around vast, adaptable spaces that can be constantly reconfigured, enabling artists to develop works of invention and ambition, of a kind not seen anywhere else in the world. It is the largest national cultural project since the opening of Tate Modern in 2000 and is made possible thanks to initial HM Government investment and backing from Manchester City Council and Arts Council England.

Free Your Mind, Aviva Studios, Water Street, Manchester, M3 4JQ 18th October – 5th November 2023 (13th-17thOctober previews)

Standard Tickets £20, £25, £30, £40 Concessions from £10 Over 12’s only. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult over 18.



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