I’m a freelance journalist and published poet, based in Manchester.
My debut poetry pamphlet is available at www.wildpressedbooks.com/david-keyworth.html
Published August 1st 2020
Back in contact
A new purpose-built recording studio, refurbished performance spaces, offices for artists and cultural organisations, a rehearsal studio for young performers and a dedicated arts and health space are part of the transformed Contact Theatre, which is due to reopen in September.
At a time when the word 'contact' is associated with 'tracing', the Oxford Road venue will initially re-open for 'socially distant participation and creative activities.' Live performance, with audiences, is scheduled to start in 2021.
Contact Theatre, Manchester By Pit-yacker - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, /commons.wikimedia.org
Contact say: "Whilst we've loved being out and about across the city performing in unusual spaces (piss bricks in abandoned tunnels under Victoria Station, anyone?) there really is no place like home."
Established in 1972, as part of the University of Manchester, Contact closed in 2018 for a £6.75m refurb. In the interim, it borrowed space across a variety of Manchester locations including the Palace Theatre, a sari shop on Wilmslow Road (for theatre show Handlooms), Upper Campfield Market, the Science and Industry Museum and Manchester Academy for the Vogue Ball - where "club culture meets high art."
It also used live streaming for its events such as May's Our City Speaks - which featured a line-up of poets and spoken word artists, hosted by Reece Williams.
Contact was awarded £3.85 million by Arts Council England. It secured additional funding from other supporters including Manchester City Council. the Foyle Foundation, the Granada Foundation, Wellcome Trust, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Wolfson Foundation and the Oglesby Charitable Trust. Help in-kind was given from Manchester University and Bruntwood Ltd.
A 'dedicated team of young people' Con:Struct, were also involved in the transformation project.
Contact has used the Powerhouse, Moss Side as a semi-permanent home, while its historic home was being refreshed. Situated between the Whitworth Art Gallery and university buildings, it has a particular focus on working with young participants and performers (aged 13-30) although it welcomes audiences from all ages and backgrounds.