Contact Theatre


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Contact Theatre 2009.jpg
CapacitySpace 1: 320 seats
Space 2: 80 seats
ArchitectAlan Short

Contact is an arts organisation in Manchester that focuses on youth leadership.[1]


Contact was founded in 1972 by Barry Sheppard (General Manager of what was then Manchester University Theatre) and Hugh Hunt (Professor of Drama), as Manchester Young People's Theatre as part of the University of Manchester. Following a £5 million investment from Arts Council England, Contact was reopened in 1999 as an arts venue for young people. It is funded by Arts Council England, the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities, Manchester City Council and the University of Manchester, but it is independently run. Diversifying its work away from traditional theatre, Contact's remit now covers dance, music, poetry, spoken word, hip hop and art. Its programme includes touring work and in-house productions, co-productions and collaborations developed with Key Partner Companies and young people.

Contact is a registered charity.

Artistic Directors

  • Paul Clements (founding artistic director) [2]
  • John McGrath 1999–2008
  • Baba Israel 2009–2012
  • Matt Fenton 2013-current


  • Stirling Royal Institute of British Architects Building Of The Year (1999)
  • Arts Council Breakthrough Award: In Recognition of the Pioneering work achieved with Young People
  • TMA Eclipse Award for Cultural Diversity
  • Arts Council England Art04 Outstanding Achievement Award
  • Arts Council England Art07 Rising Star
  • TMA Award for Diversity 2013
  • Co-operative RESPECT Inclusive Venue of the Year 2013
  • Lever Prize Winner 2014


Contact's distinctive building was designed by architect Alan Short and Associates as part of the venue's 1999 redesign. Arts Council England contributed £4.5 million toward the building, with matched funding from English Partnerships and land donated by the University of Manchester. It is located on Devas Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock, near the university's School of Education and Department of Drama. The main 320-seat auditorium (Space 1) was refitted and an 80-seat studio (Space 2) was added in the newly built turret.

Contacting The World

Since 2002 Contact has hosted Contacting The World, a biannual international project which brings together young people from around the world to create new theatre. Twinning companies so they can collaborate, exchange members and share ideas Contacting The World culminates in a Festival Week in July.

Contacting The World has featured companies from Malaysia, Trinidad, Nigeria, Rwanda, Palestine, Brazil, Poland, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Jordan, Bangladesh, Syria, Iran, South Africa, New Zealand, The Philippines, Nepal, Zambia, Germany, Turkey, the UK and USA.


  1. ^ Coyle, Simon (19 December 2014). "Contact Theatre: The art of helping city's enterprising youngsters". men.
  2. ^ "Paul Clements | Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama". Retrieved 2019-05-10.

External links

  • Contact Theatre official website
  • Contacting The World

Coordinates: 53°27′47″N 2°13′55″W / 53.46306°N 2.23194°W / 53.46306; -2.23194