Following the construction phase of their £6.75 million project to extend and refurbish Manchester’s iconic Contact Theatre, the organisation has announced an ambitious, urgent fundraiser to kit out the building before reopening at the end of September 2020.
First established in 1972 and a famous landmark on Manchester’s Oxford Road corridor, Contact is a leading UK theatre and arts venue, recognised nationally and internationally as a centre for excellence in the promotion of youth leadership and creativity.
The contractors completed their work on the expanded and refurbished Contact building in July 2020, creating an environment that puts young people at the heart of the organisation.
Now, Contact is asking the public to help them raise £20,000 by the end of September to bring that environment to life before they throw open the doors to the new home for emerging creatives from across Greater Manchester.
Part of the money raised will go towards completing a purpose-built recording studio for young people’s music and media projects. The new music studio will double the size of the previous one and will be fully soundproofed and technically equipped for the first time in its history, enabling even more young people to take part in free music workshops and develop their talent with professional musicians.
This space will be made freely available both to participants in Contact’s many projects and courses, and to other groups and individuals within the local community. Contact has continued to run online courses for budding musicians throughout lockdown, and the finished studio will let participants complete the songs and works that they have been creating at home.
Donating £20 will buy a mic stand, and donating £100 will put a microphone in that stand, which will allow the voices of young people across Greater Manchester to be heard.
The fundraiser will also go towards properly fitting out and equipping a brand new rehearsal studio, which will be available for Contact’s Young Company to create new performances and shows. CYC usually perform three entirely new public shows per year, both at Contact and other cultural spaces around Manchester, which in recent years has included Manchester Art Gallery and the Science and Industry Museum. In addition, other young artists will be able to hire these spaces to work on and showcase their performances.
Funds raised will also help finish a brand new Arts, Health and Science space, the first of its kind in a UK theatre. This space, supported by Wellcome will bring young people, artists, healthcare professionals and scientists together to research and explore issues relating to young people and local communities, informing arts and wellbeing projects and future theatre productions.
A successful fundraising campaign will enable Contact to reopen in Autumn 2020 for socially distant participation and creative activities, with performances scheduled to start in 2021.
Matt Fenton, Chief Executive and Artistic Director at Contact said: ‘It’s vital we’re able to welcome young people back safely to our building this Autumn. For the price of a few drinks, you can make a real difference to the creative life of a young person in Greater Manchester. Please help us raise £20,000 to kit out our spaces by the end of September, and continue to support young people from all backgrounds to stay active and stay creative.’
Fikayo Falade, Contact Young Company member said: ‘ Contact is an amazing place that has helped me to grow as a person, develop new skills and make friends. They have never once asked me for a penny, and I’ve done so much there. Please support this campaign to help the next generation of artists and performers.’