There’s something exciting happening in the world of local theatre. Back with a hot new look and a website to match, Contact Theatre’s autumn programme promises to be more ambitious, diverse and forward-thinking than ever before.
But it’s their dedication to the younger generation and minority groups that’s helping them make waves throughout the city. Located down by the universities on Oxford Road, Contact’s castle-like setting has caused more than a few double-takes by passers by over the years, but it’s what happens inside that’s really started to get people’s attention.
With a clear emphasis on young people aged 13-30, Contact works locally, nationally, and internationally to provide ‘life-changing opportunities’ for the next generation of artists, creative leaders and audiences.
Take a walk along its labyrinth of corridors and performance rooms and you will find plenty of enthusiastic youngsters looking to show off their creativity.
And it’s not just for show either. Innovative performances made by and for young people, for the most part in their teens, are already receiving mainstream attention in many of the theatre’s productions. In fact, much of their autumn schedule features young artists who are keen to put their talents to good use.
“Contact’s world renowned model of engaging young people to help decide our programme ensures our shows are relevant, diverse and entertaining,” says artistic director Matt Fenton.
“The resulting programme is for absolutely everyone, no matter what your age or background. And you see that reflected in our audiences – a genuine celebration of Manchester’s many wonderful and diverse communities. Our autumn 2017 programme continues that radical 20 year tradition.”
The season kicks off – almost literally – with We’re Not Really Here, a new show about the beautiful game, performed by the most important people in football—the fans themselves. 50 Manchester City football supporters will take to the stage with a 90 minute portrayal of a day in the life of a fan.
New Contact supported productions also include transgender artist Kate O’Donnell’s story of transition You’ve Changed, choreographer Aakash Odedra’s exploration of migration #JeSuis and Jackie Hagan’s new show about class, Jumble Soul.
There’s a bit of half-term fun for families from Le Gateau Chocolat, which explores alternative family units and touches upon more sensitive topics like race, sexuality and belonging. There’s comedy from hot new names Mawaan Rizwan and Desiree Burch and international performance in Real Magic from regular Contact collaborators Forced Entertainment.
To round up proceedings, RuPaul’s Drag Race superstar Jinkx Monsoon is back in two brilliant new shows including the UK premiere of Hocum Pokem – a drag tribute to Disney’s Hocus Pocus. The season ends with a re-staging of last year’s sell-out show The Siege of Christmas – an interactive family adventure that takes place all around Contact’s castle-y building.
What makes Contact such a unique place – aside from its looks – is that it has an ethos which places young people’s decision making at the heart of everything. So if you want to experience a theatre production like no other, don’t miss out on this exciting season.
Tickets to Contact’s autumn 2017 season are on sale now. For more information, call 0161 274 0600 or visit online at contactmcr.com.