A Radcliffe-born film director is bringing a large-scale, immersive performance based on The Matrix to Manchester this month.

Free Your Mind, directed by Danny Boyle, forms part of Factory International’s upcoming programme of events and created especially for the official opening of Aviva Studios, Manchester’s landmark new cultural venue.

Premiering on Wednesday, October 18, Free Your Mind is a dramatic retelling of the classic 1999 sci-fi film through dance, music and visual effects.

Featuring more than 50 professional dancers from the North West and across the UK, the "world-first" adaptation will take place throughout the building’s ultra-flexible spaces.

Bury Times: Free Your Mind rehearsals in the Sackville Street Building, Manchester Free Your Mind rehearsals in the Sackville Street Building, Manchester (Image: Courtesy Factory International)

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The Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire director brings together the visceral movement of choreographer Kenrick "H2O" Sandy with a powerful score from renowned composer Michael "Mikey J" Asante (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.

Last month, Boyle spoke to Factory International for a behind the scenes look at the show and explained how the production came to be.

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

“They run a company called Boy Blue and they’ve been together since they were at school.

“You try to manipulate it into a show which delivers a big punch to a big audience, that’s why we’ve chosen the Matrix to work on together because its something that connects us all, from all strands of life people know it its one of the great pieces of sci-fi.”

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Mikey J Asante said: “We have come from the same spaces, backgrounds as a lot of people who haven’t had these opportunities.

Kendrick Sandy said: “Boy Blue is about that supporting, nourishing, helping to flourish.

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 main 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.

It is based on the Warner Bros films written and directed by the Wachowskis and produced by special arrangement with Warner Bros Theatre Ventures.

Bury Times: Free Your Mind opens the Arriva Studios building this monthFree Your Mind opens the Arriva Studios building this month (Image: Courtesy Factory International)

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.