The Northern Quota

News Live from Manchester

Contact Theatre closes its doors for 2018

  • Contact announces city-wide performance programme as building transformation given green light 
  • Northern Quota reporter Jess Stoddard attends press night of Contact's 2018 new program

The Contact theatre will close the doors of its iconic Oxford Road building at the end of December 2017 ahead of a major £6.75million capital redevelopment.

During this time, the organisation’s staff will relocate to the Millennium Powerhouse in Moss Side, with a year-long programme of performance and participation activities taking place in partner venues across Greater Manchester.

Contact announced the first part of its exciting year out programme, which will see it forge new creative partnerships with venues including the Palace Theatre Manchester, Manchester Academy, the Museum of Science and Industry and The Lowry, as well as various interesting and unexpected spaces, including a working sari shop on Manchester’s Curry Mile.

With the Queer Contact Festival (3-24 Feb) being hosted at venues across Greater Manchester, the Contact Youth Company tackling the tough subject of votes for women and working-class men in She Bangs the Drums

Contact Youth Company will be taking to the stage at the Museum of Science and Industry (8-10 Mar) in a humorous and political reflection on votes for women and working-class men, She Bangs the Drums and Contact and Rasa co-production Handlooms by Rani Moorthy shifts the scene to a working sari shop, Alankar House of Saris on Wilmslow Road ((13-25 Mar), the 2018 program is one not to be missed.

Contact’s other arts and leadership projects such as Contact Young Company, Future Fires and The Agency will continue to engage and inspire young people while the building on Oxford Road undergoes transformation.

It will continue to regularly announce performances, projects and activities for the rest of 2018.  Contact’s young producers group Re:Con are currently working on a project in response to the anniversary of the anti-Section 28 protests in Manchester in 1988, and a brand new Christmas show written by the award-winning Jackie Hagan will be taking place at a partner venue during December.

Working alongside a dedicated team of local young people, Con:Struct, and with architects Sheppard Robson, Contact will re-open in 2019. The refurbished building will feature a new performance space, a recording studio for young people, new offices and rehearsal spaces for artists and other cultural organisations, and a new café and bar. The project aims are to increase the number and range of creative opportunities for young people and to strengthen the organisation’s financial sustainability. Access throughout the building will also be upgraded as well as improving its environmental performance.

The project will be funded by over £6million of investment from Arts Council England and Manchester City Council with generous grants and donations from local and national trusts and foundations. Corporate and individual supporters and a public fundraising campaign will raise the remaining £600,000.

Matt Fenton, Artistic Director and Chief Executive at Contact said: "This is an incredibly exciting and important time for Contact. While our building is expanded and improved, 2018 will see us present a year-long programme at partner venues and found spaces across the city, taking Contact productions to new communities and letting new audiences experience our work. Contact productions will also be touring nationally, and a recent show will be broadcast on BBC TV and iPlayer. We’re also thrilled to be relocating our staff and all of our participatory projects to the Powerhouse in Moss Side.

"As a team we’re really looking forward to forming new relationships with the organisations there to provide new opportunities for young people in the area. We are extremely grateful to Arts Council England and all our other funders, trusts and foundations, and our partner venues for their support on this project which will enable Contact to offer even more life-changing opportunities for young people, sustainably and for many years to come."

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