Resonating the energy and vibe of now, Contact’s autumn season promises a rollercoaster of relevant and remarkable new work from the country’s hottest artists and performers.
From neurodivergent cabaret to a carbon-neutral dance party and tennis and poetry bonanza, the castle of curiosity is set to delight. Contact’s new Artistic Director/CEO Keisha Thompson will also premiere 14%, a new play examining Britishness and football culture.
Contact’s 50th birthday year starts this August celebrating some of its most distinctive work and projects to date. The accompanying autumn season showcases brand new Contact supported works, new work from Contact’s Young Company and the best of the UK’s new touring shows and emerging artists.
NEW from Contact:
Contact’s Young Company will premiere a new show Halo directed by Contact’s new Artistic Director Keisha Thompson. Inspired by the Halo Code, a campaign fighting for the protection and celebration of Black hair and hairstyles in schools and workplaces, with the Halo Collective.
In November Contact premieres 14%, a new play written by Keisha Thompson and directed by Kwame Asiedu with music by Werkha. Set in a train carriage, this two-hander sees protagonists Nadia and Nik attempt to quantify their Britishness. Piloted as a ‘Talawa First’ in 2021 and now premiering alongside the World Cup supported by National Football Museum, 14% addresses racism in football culture and the politics of DNA testing.
A tennis and poetry bonanza, Roma Havers’ Lob is about moving through sporting spaces as a queer body. The show finally comes to the stage following its initial premiere as part of Queer Contact festival in 2021 as a Contact Commissioned film.
Candid, ferocious, funny and loud, Glowingis a new theatre and comedy show by Amy Vreeke exploring an unfiltered portrayal debunking the myths of motherhood.
Demi Nahndra’sThe Trauma Show comes about through her obsession with childhood trauma, naming it, analysing it, healing from it, and getting on stage to perform it. The Trauma Show explores the impacts of adverse childhoods, ‘making a show and dance out of it, mourning our little selves, ‘therapist’ culture and how TikTok can heal us all’.
Pioneering club night Black Angel 25 returns for a special event in October to celebrate 25 years and the birth of the Black and Asian LGBT+ club scene in Manchester.
With My Ear To The Wall is an intimate and tactile audio installation featuring interviews with Contact participants. Eavesdropping into the tender insights of the lives of strangers inciting empathy, the installation inspires a sense of closeness and almost voyeuristic curiosity about mental health. With my Ear to the Wall is created by Jenny Gaskell, a Manchester-based artist.
The autumn season kicks off on 29 September with Sadler’s Wells touring a full-length ensemble production from Spoken Movement. Family Honour blends hip hop and theatre from internationally award-winning choreographer Kwame Asafo-Adjei.
Following on is Not F**kin Sorry from Not Your Circus Dog, a sell-out show via Soho Theatre. This collective of learning disabled and neurodivergent performers are unapologetic, performing shameless sexy, punk, crip cabaret. Not F**kin Sorry is filled with luscious lip syncs, sweaty dances and verbatim stories.
Groove is a brand new performance from critically acclaimed OUTBOX featuring a fierce and mighty cast of intergenerational dancers and actors who explore the dance floor as a place of protest, identity, belonging and desire.
Lava Elastic is the UK’s first openly neurodiverse comedy/performance/poetry night created by neurodivergent performer Sarah Saeed (aka operatic comedy diva Marianna Harlotta).
Pigfoot is a multi award-winning theatre company telling stories about the climate crisis, with the least carbon impact possible. Hot In Here is a carbon-neutral dance party celebrating action for climate justice that has been developed from interviews between young people in the UK and climate activists around the world.
Daytime Deewane by Azan Ahmed is the latest production from Half Moon, the UK’s leading small-scale young people’s venue and touring company. Inspired by the daytime raves of 1990s British Asian culture, Daytime Deewane explores the beauty and struggle of living with a multi-cultural identity as a teenager.
Last Gasp lands somewhere between the realms of the live and the virtual, presence and absence, between staying home and venturing out. Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver as Split Britches combine spoken word, movement and Zoom technology to respond to a world turned upside down.
20 Stories High is bringing their double bill Touchy Live with live music, Hip Hop, film, and poetry, from Liverpool’s finest rappers, singers, and poets. Touchy is a collection of award-winning short films on the theme of touch and Anthology is a raw piece of gig theatre that is a collection of uncompromising, emotive, and funny personal testimonies.
Hear Me Now is a book launching in September of 101 brand new monologues written for actors who are either from the Global Majority and/or deaf and disabled. Hear Me Now (Volume 2) is published by Bloomsbury, and co-created by writer-producer Titilola Dawudu and Tamasha.
The celebrated poetry prize The Forward Prizes Award Ceremony is being hosted at Contact in November with jury chair, celebrated novelist, columnist and activist Fatima Bhutto.
Keisha Thompson Contact’s new Artistic Director and CEO said: “It is Contact’s 50th year from August. During this time, we have established a unique place for young people to forge creative careers. The autumn season will celebrate dynamic new work from some incredible talent and highlight some of our precious alumni. Our artists are making work about the most prescient issues – from climate justice to motherhood, football to queer stories. We hope our audiences will enjoy digesting these topics via visually stunning and vibrant performances. Whether you fancy spoken word, theatre, comedy or dance or ingenious new multi-media works, we will have something for you. You have my word!”
Tickets go on sale at 10am on Friday 24 June. For full listings, tickets and more information visit www.contactmcr.com/whats-on/