Factory International

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Immersive experiences

Manchester International Festival (MIF) is a biannual arts and culture festival – since its launch in 2007, it has delighted in crossing boundaries, raising eyebrows and bringing together some of the biggest names in Theatre, Art and Music in cutting edge collaborations and exciting new works. Steeldeck have been lucky enough to work alongside MIF on many projects over the years and 2023 was no exception.

The inaugural event in the new home of MIF and Factory International – Aviva Studios, was ‘You, Me and The Ballons’ by pioneering Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. It was created especially to show the enormity of MIF’s new home, prior to the official opening in October 2023.

‘You, Me and The Balloons’ was Yayoi Kusama’s largest ever immersive environment and Steeldeck were asked to provide bespoke stages to display some of the amazing inflatable creations. Using our stock rental equipment, we created some weird and wonderful shapes, built a brand-new giant circle and created a massive, raised area to house the incredible inflatable tendrils created by Kusama.

The stages were designed to hide all the workings of the inflatable sculptures, creating a magical world. We complemented the structures with carpet and fascia, as well as working alongside our friends at EC Creative, to clad everything in dibond and match the required colour of the carpets we installed.

We continue to work with Factory International closely, currently running in Aviva Studios is ‘Free Your Mind’ a Matrix inspired, immersive dance experience, directed by Danny Boyle and designed by artist and designer Es Devlin – which has just opened and received acclaimed reviews. We were fortunate to build the stage and the audience risers in the Warehouse Space for ‘Free Your Mind.’

We look forward to the next challenges posed to us by MIF and Factory International.