Contact Theatre: New Season

Contact, Manchester’s vibrant contemporary performance venue, today announces its exciting and provocative spring/summer programme

By Lee Isherwood | Last updated 3 December 2018

Share this story

Contact, Manchester’s vibrant contemporary performance venue, today announces its exciting and provocative spring/summer programme of outstanding theatre, dance, spoken word, cabaret, music and live art. This season, running from January to July, features Contact festivals Queer Contact and Flying Solo.


The season opens with Avant Garde Dance, who, returning to the UK after a sold-out international tour present the Black Album, a triple bill of effortlessly stylish dance. Also in January, Contact alumna Yusra Warsama returns with a one-woman show The Clows Plucked Your Sinews; based on real events, it is a timely and unique exploration of the violence of empire.

February sees the eighth year of Contact’s annual celebration of the best LGBT art and culture, Queer Contact. Exploring sexuality, gender, religion and belief, artists include Erasure’s Andy Bell, and US transgender performers and activists Kate Bornstein and Our Lady J. At the end of the month 20 Stories High and Theatre-Rites present The Broke ‘N’ Beat Collective; raw and gritty yet funny and moving, this show uniquely explores the hardships faced by young people in the UK.

In March, contemporary theatre pioneers Reckless Sleepers smash walls and convention to present Negative Space, while renowned Manchester based Quarantine present Summer. Autumn. Winter. Spring., an extraordinary quartet of work in a major co-production with Contact and Home. A piece of mass portraiture, this epic event will take place at Old Granada Studios, and can be seen in four parts or as a day-long event.

In the same month Contact and SICK! Festival present SICK! Lab, a four-day programme of events, discussions and shows exploring what makes us who we are. Bryony Kimmings and Tim Grayburn bring their international hit show about clinical depression and men, Fake it ‘til you Make it. Universally acclaimed, this warm and honest show explores the wonders and pitfalls of the human brain. Then, renowned performance and video artist Kim Noble (The Mighty Boosh, Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace) presents You’re Not Alone, a provocative, moving and darkly comic performance.

Contact’s Flying Solo festival returns in May. This well-established annual event showcases the art of the solo performer. Flying Solo features Contact commissioned performances Faslane by Jenna Watt, a timely insight into the current nuclear debate, and Untouchable by Ria Hartley, a tender, personal look at recovery for a family dealing with the repercussions of a violent history. The 10-day festival features a great variety of topics and performance styles from artists including Ben Mellor, Cheryl Martin, Contact Young Company, Kate O’Donnell, Louise Wallwein, Matt Miller and Stuart Bowden.

Contact’s Artistic Director and Chief Executive, Matt Fenton said:
‘The new season is one of the most diverse and innovative programmes to be found anywhere in the country, featuring major artists alongside exciting new talent. This season sees the return of many Contact commissioned artists who are flourishing in their careers and performing in Manchester as part of national tours, fresh from international success, cementing Contact’s role in nurturing talent and supporting the next generation of diverse artists. Most exciting of all is that local young people have worked directly on choosing our programme of events, and are integral to its delivery.’