It’s that time of year again where your arty calendar is rammed to the rafters with fantastic things. No day may pass without the temptation of something rather creatively stimulating occurring in Manchester city centre. The students are back and the arts organisations are getting us giddy with their autumn/winter programmes.
To begin proceedings and to run in the middle of Black History Month, Contact on Oxford Road are hosting the Manchester round of the biennial ‘Afrovibes’ Festival. A nationwide event, ‘Afrovibes’ will be at Contact week commencing 15th October with an interesting programme of spoken word, music, theatre and dance from South Africa and beyond.
Following on from the success of 2010, ‘Afrovibes’ promises to be challenging, stimulating and though provoking. Included in the programme is the play ‘And the Girls in their Sunday Dresses’ which sees two women from very different walks of life meet and, despite their vastly different experiences, strike up an unlikely friendship. Described by many as an African ‘Waiting for Godot’, ‘And the Girls…’ brings South Africa’s most celebrated award-winning comediennes, Lesego Motsepe and Hlengiwe Lushaba, to the Manchester stage.
Another festival highlight is ‘Thirst’; an innovative piece of theatre that combines dance, physical theatre, song and African storytelling. Written and directed by James Ngcobo with choreography by Gregory Maqoma, ‘Thirst’ draws on Nguni mythology and carries an ecological message that resonates with us today.
Thirst’ draws on Nguni mythology and carries an ecological message that resonates with us today.
All these things and many, many more African delights can be found at Contact during the week where their bustling café space will be transformed into the Township Café for the duration of the fest. This will be serving South African fare as well as hosting a whole range of fringe events; workshops, debates, after-show talks, late night music and pop-up performances are to be expected.
Running alongside ‘Afrovibes’ and making full use of the fantastic space, Blank Media Collective are hosting their first exhibition at Contact. The Blank Media Collective curators have built on the ideas to be explored during ‘Afrovibes’ and looked further into issues such as location, the notion of travel and the exchange of people and their ideas.
The Emptiness Between Us That Says Everything III, Oil on Canvas by Pernilla Iggstrom who is exhibiting as part of 'Location Relative'
The resulting exhibition, ‘Location Relative’, intends to make full use of the Contact space to look into ideas of heritage and identity through the eyes of a wide array of mixed-media artists. Blank Media Collective say “The exhibition goes beyond the traditional use of wall space to create a more dynamic and engaging experience. Furthermore the launch event will feature an evolving, interactive work which will require participatory interactions; your history, journeys, ideas and collaboration relating to the themes. The result will be a musical journey through time and space with Blank Media Collective’s (Multi)National Anthem.
The result will be a musical journey through time and space with Blank Media Collective’s (Multi)National Anthem.
Including the work of artists such as Katy Beinart, Trevor Kiernander and Shani Peters, to name a few, ‘Location Relative’ looks at our individual journeys and their combined pathways.
‘Afrovibes’ comes to Manchester’s Contact on 15th October and ‘Location Relative’ launches in the same space on the 16th. For more information about Afrovibes visit the webpage, and to read more about ‘Location Relative’ go to Blank Media Collective.