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but where, where do they make balloons?

The brand name 'Factory' holds a special place in the hearts of Manchester people and memories of a man remembered as 'Mr Manchester' - Tony Wilson - who sadly died in 2007 aged just 57.

Back in the late 1970's Manchester had a 'Factory' nightclub which eventually led to the creation of independent record label Factory Records by Wilson and Alan Erasmus. Home to the original 'Madchester' sound the label launched the careers of some huge acts including Joy Division, New Order, Happy Mondays and James. Factory were also partners in the equally famous Haçienda nightclub.

Jump forward to 2023 and the brand new 'Factory', strange shaped, other worldly, shiny building was ready to open. (Would you believe we haven't even photographed it!)


"Aviva Studios is the new home of Factory International. A hive of invention and discovery, we’ll produce a year-round programme of the world’s best new dance, theatre, music, visual and performance arts and digital commissions in this landmark new space.

Built with flexibility in mind, the design of the building is led by Ellen van Loon of the world-leading practice Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA). The multi-use space can adapt to host any kind of set-up — from intimate theatre shows and intricate exhibitions, to huge multimedia performances and warehouse-scale gigs fit for the greatest artists of our time."


Now we love unusual art exhibitions, experimental theatrical events and generally anything new! So we kept a close eye on the launch events for the building. Great excitement when the launch event was announced as an exhibition by Japanese balloon artist and polka dot lover Yayoi Kusama.


Born in 1929 (we'll not mention her age!) Kusama is known for large inflatable sculptures which look to us like balloons and she indeed she calls them 'balloons! She is also a big fan of polka dots which she believes are 'a way to infinity' and allow us to become 'part of the unity of our environment'.


It is hard to imagine before you visit the sheer scale and wondrous surroundings of 'You, Me and the Balloons.'. From the moment you walk into the strange yellow polka dot room and climb the stairs to the enormous exhibition space filled with 'balloons' and polka dots with the artist reciting a poem continuously and clouds for you to relax on it is an other worldly experience like no other!

It was wonderful to see people of all ages enjoying the surreal world around them as they walked through the immense space of the 'Factory' building.

Testament to the grand theatre of the exhibition and, I think, 'word of mouth' the entire run sold out , so congratulations to all of you who managed to see it and immerse yourself in such a weird and trippy experience!

We can't wait to see what comes next! Exciting times!








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