Stunning first behind-the-scenes look at Danny Boyle’s Matrix-inspired show at Factory International

Free Your Mind starts will mix dance, visual effects and music in a ground-breaking production

By Ben Arnold | Last updated 10 October 2023

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(Credit: Tristram Kenton)

Factory International has released the first behind-the-scenes pictures from Free Your Mind, the Danny Boyle-directed show that will officially open Aviva Studios later this month.

A re-telling of sci-fi classic The Matrix, the show is a mix of dance, visual effects and music, with a cast of over 50 professional dancers from all around the north west and 100 other cast-members and participants from Greater Manchester.

The director of movies from Shallow Grave to Trainspotting has devised the show alongside choreographer Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy and a score from Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante, who are the co-founders and artistic directors of the Olivier award-winning Boy Blue hip hop dance theatre company.

Free Your Mind Factory International
(Credit: Tristram Kenton)

It will also feature  large-scale stage sculptures by world-leading designer Es Devlin, with scripting from acclaimed writer Sabrina Mahfouz. 

Also among the creative team are costume designer Gareth Pugh, award-winning lighting designer Lucy Carter, sound designer Gareth Fry and renowned video designer Luke Halls.

Conceptually, the narrative of the show will explore how and where the technological revolution might take us, journeying from 1999 when The Matrix was released to now, and the advances that we’ve seen since from AI to the Metaverse.

The show will also make prominent use of the line uttered by Neo in the original movie: “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.” 

The show will be the first project to launch Factory’s new cultural programme, and launch Aviva Studios in full, following the first look during the Manchester International Festival over the summer.

Free Your Mind opens on October 18 and runs until November 5, with preview shows happening from October 13.

Tickets range from £20 to £40, and are available here.