By Steve Cooke
Contact [Manchester Young People’s Theatre Ltd] has returned after a £6m building transformation.
Contact is where young people change their lives through the arts, and audiences of all ages experience exciting new shows. They are the leading national theatre and arts venue to place young people at the decision-making heart of everything. At Contact, young people aged 13-30 genuinely lead, working alongside staff in deciding the artistic programme, making staff appointments and act as full Board members.
Contact’s performance programme kicks off in October with Contact Young Company’s Everything All of the Time, directed by Contact’s Artistic Director, Matt Fenton. Everything All of the Time is a physical and visual journey through a new world, squashed into an hour of hedonism, love, anger, nostalgia, and hope.
Contact and Black Gold Arts will come together during Black History Month to deliver a line-up of outstanding, Black-led art, performance, and film, featuring the live world premiere of mandla rae’s stunning ‘as british as a watermelon’, and films from Chanje Kunda and Mele Broomes.
Commissioned by Contact and Re:Con (Contact Young Producer’s), ERGON Theatre present The Wicked Problem, where audiences act as the jury in the world's first ecocide trial. Mika Onyx-Johnson’s Pink Lemonade combines original beats, poetry and movement in an explosive autobiographical journey of sexuality, identity and self-discovery. Dibby Theatre and HIV+ theatre-maker Nathaniel Hall - star of hit Channel 4 series It’s a Sin - present First Time, an award-winning, hilarious, and heart-breaking autobiographical show about growing up positive in a negative world.
The Black Pride Manchester Vogue Ball presented by Contact and House of Ghetto will be hosted in December by the legendary Rikki Beadle-Blair, featuring the fiercest QTIBIPoC vogue houses in the North at legendary Manchester venue Gorilla. And Contact will be home to Dick Whittington and his Cat, Eight-Freestyle’s modern, upbeat telling of the classic rags-to-riches story.
Contact has returned with new and improved performance spaces; a purpose-built recording studio for young people’s music projects; a unique health and science development space created in partnership with Wellcome Trust; new offices for artists and cultural organisations to hire and work alongside Contact staff; a new and improved public bar; free work and social spaces; a new partnership with Manchester’s Indian street food heroes, Chaat Cart, and many other exciting new features.
Contact is located on Oxford Road, a short distance from Oxford Road Station and Manchester city centre.