|Capacity||Space 1: 320 seats|
Space 2: 80 seats
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.
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.
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.
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