Contact theatre handed over by contractors

The theatre's new foyer - and inset, the building captured in drone footage. Pics: Contact

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Paul Genty

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Manchester young people's theatre on schedule for September reopening

Manchester’s Contact Theatre is back in business after two and a half years of working in outside spaces.

Building contractors working on the theatre’s almost-£7million refit have formally handed the building back to the theatre company.

Construction work to transform the building into an “artistically, commercially and environmentally-sustainable theatre of the future” began in January 2018.

Working with award-winning architects and sustainable design specialists Sheppard Robson, the building now has a dedicated arts and health space – the first of its kind in any UK theatre; a new, purpose-built recording studio, a dedicated rehearsal studio for young performers, refurbished performance spaces and offices for artists and cultural organisations to hire.

Theatre bosses have plans to increase the number and range of creative opportunities for young people, strengthen financial performance, improve access and environmental performance, secure a long-term future for its work, nurture talent and creativity, offer distinctive cultural work created in Manchester, and help more young people at risk of exclusion to “connect, create and thrive”.

The building is on track to reopen in September for socially-distant participation and creative activities, with performances expected to start in 2021.

Money for the project has come from a £3.85 million investment from Arts Council England and grants from other supporters, trusts and foundations.

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