Established in 1972, Contact Theatre is situated in the heart of Manchester’s ever-changing student corridor. The city’s performing arts landscape would be at a huge loss without it, with this Arts Council, University of Manchester, City Council and AGMA-funded institution focused entirely on platforming emerging practitioners and helping train and skill the next generation of actors, directors, writers and more.
Immediately recognisable by its iconic exterior — designed by Alan Short and Associates, and not entirely dissimilar to a castle-factory hybrid (whatever that is) — the award-winning building, in the top 1% for sustainability in the UK, houses one of the most vital and pioneering arts organisations in our region. Anyone aged between 13 and 30 is encouraged to get involved and collaborate, present ideas and turn the seeds of inspiration into something spectacular for stage, site specific work or pretty much anything else they can think of. The artistic programme at Contact Theatre runs year-round, bringing the very best in arts and culture to Manchester – from theatre and music to live art and poetry, there’s something for everyone.
Elsewhere, the Queer Contact programme looks to shine a light on LGBTQIA+ creators and creatives, empowering them to tell stories and showcase powerful productions, with the overall programme at this address as diverse as the target demographic. An on-site eatery ARMR, which takes climate-friendly practices very seriously, is well-known as a popular hangout spot for arts students, graduates and professionals based in the immediate area, which is one of Manchester’s original hotbeds for culture in all shapes and sizes thanks to its two giant universities, highly respected music school, specialist colleges and an impressive array of venues.