Contact will close the doors of its iconic Oxford Road building at the end of December 2017. The move is due to an imminent major £6.75 million capital redevelopment.
In the period of its temporary closure, the organisation will relocate to the Millennium Powerhouse in Moss Side. In store for you however is a year-long programme of performance and participation activities in partner venues across Greater Manchester.
The programme will see it forge new creative partnerships with venues including the Palace Theatre Manchester and Manchester Academy. Additionally the Museum of Science and Industry and The Lowry are on the list too. Also included is a working sari shop on Manchester’s Curry Mile plus are various other interesting and unexpected spaces.
The season will kick off in style in February 2018 with two high profile shows. The shows are part of the annual Queer Contact Festival. It will begin with Dancing Bear at the Palace Theatre Manchester, produced by Jamie Fletcher & Company and Contact. Dancing Bear flips between dramatic storytelling and catchy pop songs. It explores personal, social and mental health issues experienced by LGBT+ people. This will be followed by Contact Vogue Ball at Manchester Academy 2 .
Queer Contact Festival marks its 10th anniversary with its biggest line-up of events yet. Partner venues include: Palace Theatre Manchester, Manchester Academy, Manchester Central Library, People’s History Museum, Waterside, Texture and 53Two.
The award-winning Contact Young Company will present Manchester’s rich social history in a celebration of the 100 year anniversary. Marking the Representation of the People Act (1918). She Bangs the Drums will take place at the Museum of Science and Industry in a humorous and political reflection on votes for women and working-class men. Following this, Contact and Rasa co production Handlooms by Rani Moorthy shifts the scene to a working sari shop, Alankar House of Saris on Wilmslow Road. Handlooms explores the generational gap between a mother and son, who are both seeking solutions to a business crisis. Finally, as a teaser for what’s to come later in the year.
Contact 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. It is in response to the anniversary of the anti-Section 28 protests in Manchester in 1988. Also a brand new Christmas show written by the award-winning Jackie Hagan will be taking place at a partner venue during December.
Contact will re-open in 2019. The refurbished building will feature a new performance space, a recording studio and rehearsal spaces for artists and cultural organisations.
The project will be funded by over £6 million 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.
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.
TNT Arts & Culture