To mark Black History Month, Contact Manchester's artistic director Keisha Thompson is teaming up with the Contact Young Company to direct their new show, Halo (October 24-26). The production marks Thompson’s directorial debut at Contact since taking the reins in June.
The show is Inspired by The Halo Code, a campaign that promises members of the Black community they have the freedom and security to "wear all afro-hairstyles without restriction or judgment". The show explores young people’s personal experiences concerning their hair.
In keeping with all Contact Young Company shows, Halo will be a devised theatrical piece created from scratch by the company, with their own experiences at the show's heart.
Featuring songs and movement, the company will also bring to the narrative its responses to writer Emma Dabiri’s book, Don’t Touch My Hair and the well-known Solange Knowles song of the same name.
Thompson is the first woman, first black person and the youngest director to be appointed as CEO and artistic director at Contact. She says: “My priority is to ensure all staff, participants and artists are protected and celebrated for who they are.
"The Halo Code is closely aligned with my mission and I'm invested in protecting the rights of our community to wear culturally-specific hairstyles, such as the afro, without restriction or judgment.
"I’m calling on all arts organisations to adopt the code, just as Contact will be doing, and to end discrimination in schools and workplaces. I’m hopeful our Contact Young Company's Halo will be another step towards recognition.”
Contact’s award winning Young Company is made up of young performers, actors, dancers, musicians, stand-up comedians, poets and MCs – all from around the greater Manchester area and all between 15 and 25 years old. Each year, the company works with major national and international artists to create new theatre shows.
Info and tickets here