Arts and Culture

Factory International’s Free Your Mind – an immersive performance of the Matrix films, arrives later this month

Ahead of the official premier of Manchester’s new cultural landmark Aviva Studios, behind-the-scenes footage of its brand new performance Free Your Mind has been released.

Free Your Mind is a world-first adaptation of the famous Matrix films, which will take audiences down the rabbit-hole of alternate reality.

Director Danny Boyle and BAFTA-winning producer Tracey Seaward will be bringing together over 50 professional dancers from the North West and across the UK – alongside almost 100 participants from Greater Manchester.

In an interview with Factory International, Boyle said: ‘It’s all shapes, all sizes, all abilities. I love that.”

Danny Boyle’s creative vision for the show

The show journeys from 1999, the year The Matrix was first released, to the present day, where virtual reality technology is growing at a rapid rate.

The performance 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.

Boyle said: “There’s three of us who came up with the idea: Kenrick Sandy the choreographer, Mikey J Asante the composer and myself.”

The choreography and visual effects to expect in Free Your Mind

Based in Aviva Studios; a new global destination for arts, music and culture in the heart of Manchester; Factory International is commissioning a year-round programme of original creative work, music and special events.

The importance of the venue being a base for Manchester’s residents ignited the project.

Boyle admitted: “The ambition of it sounds a bit embarrassing, but it was to literally hand over the keys of the building to the people of Manchester.”

Manchester’s International Festival debuted the new space earlier this year, although the official opening will begin with the Free Your Mind performances later this month.

It is hoped that it will strengthen the city’s status as a national and international centre for culture, creativity and innovations, as well as becoming a major visitor destination.

Audiences will be able to enjoy the broadest range of art forms from major exhibitions and concerts to intimate performances and immersive experiences.

Rehearsals showing Free Your Mind by Factory International @ Sackville Street Building. Directed by Danny Boyle. Choreography by Kenrick ÔH2OÕ Sandy and Score from composer Michael ÔMikey JÕ Asante (co-founders of Boy Blue). Designer Es Devlin. Words by Sabrina Mahfouz and Costumes by Gareth Pugh. Lighting by Lucy Carter. (Taken 14-09-2023) ©Tristram Kenton 09-23 (3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550 Mob 07973 617 355) email: [email protected]

Free Your Mind runs from 13 October to 5 November. Tickets are available here.

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