Preview: Contact Theatre announces autumn season

Photo Credit: Black Gold Arts Festival, Contact Theatre, Manchester

Photo Credit: Black Gold Arts Festival, Contact Theatre, Manchester

Kicking off in September, Contact Theatre’s autumn season runs through to December, jam-packed with a variety of both local and international shows spanning theatre, dance, comedy, spoken word and spectacle.

Arts Festivals

This season brings the return of Contact’s Black Gold Arts Festival, which challenges the under-representation of black performers in UK theatres through showing and celebrating northern black talent. The festival’s programme includes events taking place at the STUN studio at Z Arts as well as at Contact. In the same week, long-time friend of Contact and current Chancellor of The University of Manchester Lemn Sissay performs as part of the 8th Black and Asian Writers Conference


Spymonkey come to the stage to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death by bringing us The Complete Deaths, ‘a riotous romp’ through each and every death the legendary playwright has brought to our stages. That’s seventy-five in total. With the context omitted, the result is hilarious and, naturally, a bloodbath.

Photo Credit: Burning Doors, Contact Theatre, Manchester

Photo Credit: Burning Doors, Contact Theatre, Manchester

Belarus Free Theatre combine forces with Pussy Riot’s Maria Alyokhina to tell the real-life tales of artists striving to get their dissident voices heard above the censorship of oppressive regimes in Burning Doors. Part of Journeys Festival International, the piece draws from the respective stories of iconoclastic Russian performance artist Petr Pavlensky, imprisoned Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov and Maria Alyokhina.

In what promises to be a poignant viewing, the award winning Open Clasp Theatre Company bring us Key Change, a prison drama created through collaboration with female prisoners.

The UK premiere of Return to the Grey Gardens brings us a theatrical spoof of and tribute to the critically acclaimed 1975 film Grey Gardens. The Maysles Brothers’ original documentary would gather a cult following for its portrayal of the eccentric lives of mother and daughter, former society doyennes who fall into hard times. Contact’s live show is re-imagined forty years into the future and sees an ageing drag mother and her bitter drag daughter who continue to perform their routine for an empty house. The show will star Jinkx Monsoon as Lil’ Jinkxy and Peaches Christ as Big Peachy, with Cheddar Gorgeous, Anna Phylactic and the Ultra Violets, with further guest stars to be announced nearer the time.

Photo Credit: Return to the Grey Gardens, Contact Theatre, Manchester

Photo Credit: Return to the Grey Gardens, Contact Theatre, Manchester


In terms of dance, most notably November brings us a double whammy from innovative dance company Candoco, whose members include both disabled and non-disabled dancers. Furthermore, in memory of the end of the 1984/5 British miners’ strike thirty years ago, the Gary Clarke Company presents the highly charged and emotional dance theatre performance COAL.

Kids and Family

For the festive period, Contact and Slung Low bring us The Siege of Christmas. Created and performed by Contact Young Company and directed by Slung Low’s Alan Lane, ages five plus will be able to become immersed in the adventure, as they try to save the Spirit of Christmas from inside the Contact castle.

Other highlights for families include Fun Palaces, a fun-packed day which is free of charge, and Bedtime Stories, from circus theatre innovators Upswing, which will enchant young audiences with the magic of circus, theatre, dance and projections, all viewed from under the cosy covers of a bedroom installation.

The autumn season is now on sale with tickets available via the Contact Theatre website or by calling 0161 274 0600.