Manchester’s historic Contact Theatre is marking its fiftieth birthday this month and, to celebrate, is throwing a whole host of unique and exciting events and giveaways.
The theatre, which recently underwent a massive £6m refurbishment, opened all the way back in 1972 as the Manchester Young People’s Theatre, with it eventually changing its name to Contact Theatre in the 1990s.
The theatre was made a reality by Hugh Hunt, the man responsible for producing and directing some of the UK’s most successful and critically acclaimed shows throughout the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s.
After serving in the war, Hunt settled in Manchester and founded the drama department at the university, eventually instigating the University Theatre building which opened in 1965.
Contact Theatre was born nearly a decade later to give students and other young people a chance to ‘change their lives through the arts’, taking on a unique approach of placing the students at the heart of everything, including programming, decision-making and even staff appointments.
It was revolutionary for its time, and still is to this very day, fifty years on. So, to celebrate half a century of Contact Theatre, there’s a whole host of very special events and giveaways… fifty of them, to be precise.
Contact has already kickstarted its eclectic roster of events, activities, competitions and giveaways to mark the special anniversary, with the theatre starting celebrations with its first ever ‘Poet Lock-In’ earlier this week.
This saw poet Georgie Brooke be locked in the building for fifty long hours to write a fifty word poem.
Other events on the line up include a 50m walk, which will see the first person seen receive a £50 ticket voucher, and 50% off shows for Contact members.
And throughout November, anyone who calls Contact on the fiftieth minute of the hour gets a 50p ticket to a show and, on National Hot Chocolate Day, there will be a free hot chocolate given to the first fifty people in the building.
Keisha Thompson, Artistic Director and CEO of Contact said: “Contact has been a huge part of my life for almost two decades, but our organisation’s incredible history, and its impact on Manchester, reaches far beyond that.
“I’m so excited to look back at our achievements during our birthday, but even more excited to set the vision for what the next fifty years of Contact could look like.”
For the listings of all of Contact’s 50th birthday celebrations, including exclusive productions, events, workshops and more, head on over to their website.
Chester Zoo launches spooky Halloween trail with dragons, spiders and snakes
Guests will be tasked with identifying a ‘magic word’ hidden across the indoor trail
Chester Zoo has unveiled its first ever immersive Halloween-themed trail complete with dragons, spiders and snakes.
Luna’s Lost Spell Halloween Trail will take place at the conservation zoo from October 1st – October 31st, and will give guests the chance to learn about a variety of ‘sinister’ species with six animal stations.
Along the indoor trail, visitors will encounter the formidable Komodo dragon, gaboon viper,
poison dart frogs, blue Komodo viper, tarantula and the eerie upside-down jellyfish.
Each animal station will boast spellbinding facts about these hair-raising species, all of which will contain a secret letter.
Using augmented reality, visitors will be tasked with identifying and collecting these letters to form a ‘magic word’. Each letter will be revealed through a QR code with a fun and interactive experience before being stamped on a virtual postcard.
Those who can crack the code and figure out the magic word will be rewarded with a sweet treat.
Gemma Bamford, Chester Zoo’s Admissions and Membership Manager, said: We’re so excited to launch our very own Halloween themed trail around the zoo this October.
“As well as learning cool facts about animals around six locations in the zoo, guests can collect a letter at each area that spells out a secret word. Once visitors uncover ‘Luna’s lost spell’ they can head to the apothecary at the zoo entrance for a sweet treat.
“Halloween is the perfect opportunity to shine a spotlight on some of the unknown species Chester Zoo is home to, inspiring visitors to care for our cause of preventing extinction of not only the renowned species like elephants, giraffes and rhinos, but the more unusual and extraordinary animals that may just shock, surprise or spook you!”
The trail will be completely free to take part in, and will take around two hours to complete.
The theme of the trail is linked to the BIAZA Vital Venom and Practical Poisons campaign which aims to raise awareness of the ‘cool, perhaps creepy, but crucial creatures venomous and poisonous’.
Throughout October, Chester Zoo will also be running a Halloween-themed bus tour where guests are driven to each of the six locations on the trail before the zoo opens.
The bus will also make a stop at the Fruit Bat Forest, giving guests the rare opportunity to see the bats before the lights go down.
Luna’s Lost Spell Halloween Trail will take place at Chester Zoo from October 1st – October 31st.
Entry to the trail is free, though slots will need to be booked in advance.
For more information and to book your tickets, visit the Chester Zoo website.
There’s a FREE ’80s disco night with cocktails and live music coming to Manchester
Live DJs will be spinning classic anthems from the 1980s across the night
The disco night to trump all disco nights is coming to Manchester this weekend with the promise of cocktails, dancing, and some good old fashioned nostalgia.
Prestwich Social will be bringing a taste of the ’80s to the popular Manchester suburb, which was recently named as one of the best places to live in the whole of the UK.
The 350-capacity bar and restaurant is nestled within the heart of Prestwich, and has become a firm favourite among locals thanks to its varied food menu, tempting deals and expansive list of unique and quirky cocktails.
And now, Prestwich Social has unveiled its brand new Social 54 ’80s Party Night, which will take place every Saturday night from 9:30pm til late.
The event is completely free to attend, and will include live DJs spinning classic anthems from the 1980s and a whole array of ’80s-themed cocktails, such as a boozy Ghostbusters-centric drink complete with sparklers, marshmallows and, of course, a giant figurine of the famous Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
Fancy dress is also encouraged, with free wigs, glasses and visors straight from the legendary nightclub era available to use and try on throughout the night.
Prestwich Social is the only late-night bar in the neighbourhood, so the Social 54 ’80s Party Night is certain to be an evening to remember.
The first event is set to take place this Saturday (October 1st) from 9:30pm til late with free entry all night long.
Walk-ins are welcome, but to book a table, visit the Prestwich Social website.
Victoria Baths to be transformed into night market with street food and live music
As well as over 100 local vendors, there will be an array of tasty street food and live entertainment across the evening
Manchester’s historic Victoria Baths is set to be transformed into a magical night market with over 100 independent vendors, street food and live music.
The Night Market will be taking over the iconic building next month to showcase the very best talent Manchester’s local business scene has to offer.
There will be everything any passionate shopper could hope for, varying from artisans, artists, jewellers, designers, bakers and candlestick makers.
Also in attendance will be an outdoor street food village for hungry shoppers, complete with numerous themed bars and a ‘Vintage Pool Party’ filled with vintage treasures with a live DJ.
And this year there will be The Turkish Rest Room Salons, which will see three of Manchester’s most exciting singer-songwriters – Dilettante, Anna McLuckie and Ellen Beth Abdi – transform the exquisite Turkish Rest Room into a performance space.
This unique concert venue promises to be a ‘hidden delight and an oasis of calm within the bustling market’, and has been handed over to the artists themselves, who will each ‘own the room’ for their one hour concert set.
The Night Market will be taking over Victoria Baths on Friday October 7th from 7pm til late.
Early Bird tickets are £6, though two can be bought on offer for £10. There is also the option to purchase a Night Owl ticket for £4 for those planning on arriving later in the evening.
For more information and to book tickets, click here.