Know your theatre:
The most unusual-looking theatre building you’ll ever come across, Contact has undergone more radical changes of direction than your average performing arts organisation.
Built as the performance space for Manchester University Drama Department, it was briefly used by the ‘69 Theatre Company before it became the Royal Exchange Theatre Company.
In 1972 the building became home to the Manchester Young People’s Theatre, aka Contact, a sadly now little-remembered repertory company under the likes of Richard Williams that presented many of Alan Bleasdale’s stage successes and gave young actors such as Mark Rylance their early experiences. Anyone see Rick Mayall in Brecht there?
The set-up later changed again, to take Contact back to its young people's theatre roots, funded by the Arts Council, the university and local authority bodies.
The rebuild in 1999 produced the highly-distinctive ventilation chimneys.
The theatre now provides opportun-ities for emerging young artists, with touring productions and shows created by the 13-30 year olds of the young people’s company.
Currently closed until 2020 for another upgrade/rebuild, meanwhile there are performances in city venues
Pic: Joel Chester Fildes
Contact Theatre, Devas Street, Manchester M15 6JA
Box office 0161 274 0600 (Mon-Fri 10am-6pm), General inquiries 0161 274 0646. Staff and projects have relocated to Millennium Powerhouse, Moss Side until the building reopens
This fascinating - not to say quirky - architectural edifice near the university has a main 320-seat auditorium (Space 1) and an 80-seat studio. When it reopens there will be new performance spaces; a new recording studio; an arts and health development space; new offices for organisations to hire; a new café/bar and other new features.
Contact doesn't have its own parking but visitors can use the university car park, which is directly outside and subject to charges.
Online box office:
Go here and follow the booking route to your show choice