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Oxford Road’s Contact Theatre is officially reopening following £6m transformation

Contact is BACK, and it’s looking better than ever before…

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Adrian Lambert

Following its closure in 2018, Oxford Road’s iconic Contact Theatre is officially reopening its doors following a massive £6 million building transformation.

Having established itself back in 1972, Contact has long been a staple part of Manchester’s theatre scene, and has provided a stage for an abundance of budding artists and performers over the years – and now, it’s officially making its long-awaited comeback. 

The newly refurbished Contact is returning with a whole host of exciting new facilities under its belt, such as new and improved performance spaces, a purpose-built recording studio for young people’s music projects, a unique health and science development space created in partnership with Wellcome Trust, new offices for artists and cultural organisations to hire, a new and improved public bar and free work and social spaces.

Adrian Lambert

Adrian Lambert

Contact has also secured a partnership with Manchester’s Indian street food icons, Chaat Cart, as well as a number of other exciting new ventures that are yet to be unveiled.

On the theatrical side of things, the theatre’s performance programme will be kicking off in October with Contact Young Company’s Everything All of the Time, a physical and visual journey through a new world, directed by Contact’s Artistic Director, Matt Fenton. Following that, ERGON Theatre will present The Wicked Problem, an immersive performance where audiences will act as the jury in the world’s first ecocide trial.

Mika Onyx-Johnson’s Pink Lemonade is also on the bill, combining original beats, poetry and movement in an explosive autobiographical journey of sexuality, identity and self-discovery. Dibby Theatre and theatre-maker and star of the hit Channel 4 series, It’s a Sin, Nathaniel Hall will present First Time, an award-winning autobiographical show about growing up positive in a negative world.

The Black Pride Manchester Vogue Ball, a collaboration by Contact and House of Ghetto will be hosted in December by the legendary Rikki Beadle-Blair at music venue Gorilla. Contact will also be home to Dick Whittington and his Cat, Eight-Freestyle’s modern, upbeat telling of the classic rags-to-riches story.

Bronwen Sharp

Graham Clayton-Chance

Additional events, shows and exhibitions on the bill include Sisterhood by Speakers Corner Art Director Neesha Tusli Champaneria and photographer Vivek Vadoliya, Come to my Mum’s by Afreena Islam-Wright and Anthology of Joy by The Museum of Half Truths.

Matt Fenton, Chief Executive and Artistic Director at Contact, said on the reopening: “We are overjoyed to be reopening Contact to the public after two years of building works and the challenges of the global pandemic.

“We believe young people deserve the very best resources to create and imagine, and over the last year our new building has been full of early career artists making use of our brilliant new spaces. We have also renewed our vision and mission to reflect the new reality facing our communities, and to ensure all young people are empowered by the arts and creativity.”

For more information, tickets, show times and general updates, head over to the official Contact website and Instagram page.

The full programme listing is as follows:

Everything All of the Time

Wednesday October 6th – Saturday October 9th 2021

Sisterhood

Monday September 27th  – Monday December 6th 2021

Open exhibition

Anthology of Joy

Friday October 8th – Saturday October 23rd 2021

Open exhibition

Black Gold Arts Festival

Tuesday october 19th – Friday October 29th 2021

Ergon: The Wicked Problem

Wednesday November 3rd – Saturday November 6th 2021

Pink Lemonade

Tuesday November 23rd – Saturday November 27th 2021

First Time

Tuesday November 30th – Saturday December 4th 2021

House of Ghetto presents The Black Pride Manchester Vogue Ball

Thu December 18th 2021

Dick Whittington and his Amazing Cat

Saturday December 11th 2021 – Monday January 3rd 2022 

Queer Contact

Friday February 11th – Saturday February 19th 2022

News News News

Saturday March 5th 2022

The Bread We Break

Thursday March 24th – Thursday March 31st 2022

Frankenstein: How to Create a Monster

Monday May 9th – Saturday May 14th 2022

The Glad Game

Monday May 16th – Tuesday May 17th 2022

 

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The Manchester Art Fair is back and you can get FREE tickets today

Pieces from world renown artists like Banksy will be up for grabs across the weekend

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Manchester Art Fair

One of the UK’s most ambitious art fairs is coming back to Manchester this year and you can get your hands on free tickets for the exclusive event TODAY.

After a brief hiatus last year, the White Circle Manchester Art Fair is back with a bang and it is boasting a fantastic line up of both modern and contemporary paintings, sculptures, photography and limited edition prints from a selection of some of the worlds most acclaimed galleries and artists.

Art work by world-renown artists such as Damien Hirst, Tracy Emin and Banksy will be available to purchase at the weekend-long event, as it will from some of the UK’s finest like Saul Hay, Laura Jordan and Ian Rayer-Smith… So start getting your pennies saved up.

Manchester Art Fair

Plenty of Manchester’s favourite artists will also be in attendance throughout the weekend, including Saul Hay Gallery (Castle Street), Contemporary Six (Princess Street), Hot Bed Press (Cow Lane), Simone Ridyard with her urban sketches and the wonderfully raw expressive paintings of Ian Rayer Smith.

But perhaps the most talked about aspect of this year’s fair is the booming market of the ever-so mysterious NFTs – Non-Fungible Tokens. White Circle Manchester Art Fair will demystify the world of NFTs, with advice on purchasing, the link to cryptocurrency, and a selection
of exhibitors in the fair selling exclusive NFTs.

Fair Director Sophie Helm said, “We are really excited to part of bringing live art events back to the city with White Circle Manchester Art Fair in November supporting the city’s cultural recovery. Our audience of art lovers will be able to buy art from over 130 galleries and artists who will be exhibiting at the fair over the weekend, as well as well learning more about NFTs.”

Manchester Art Fair

Sarah Maskell, Founder of White Circle, added: “The opportunity to support Manchester Art Fair has been the most amazing collaboration. As we open up offices and public spaces to celebrate the role culture plays in our environment, this event is an integral part of that journey.

“I feel very fortunate to be able to help continue the support the show gives artists in reaching people, sharing their talents and the joy art brings to our community.”

The fair opens with a launch night at Manchester Central on Friday November 19th
from 5-9pm, followed by public admission the following days on Saturday November 20th, 10am-6pm and Sunday November 21st, 10am –5pm.

And guess what? For today only, you lovely Proper Manchester readers can get tickets for the event for FREE. Click here to get yours.

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The UK’s largest indoor Christmas theme park is coming back to Manchester after four years

Christmas 2021 is going to be a good one…

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Winter Wonderland

After a four year hiatus, the UK’s largest indoor Christmas theme park is making its grand return to Manchester. 

The iconic Winter Wonderland will be coming home to Trafford’s indoor venue EventCity to celebrate the 2021 festivities with magical Christmas experiences such as reindeer, elves, fairies and even Father Christmas and his famous grotto.

There will also be a number of child-friendly theatrical performances taking place on the main stage with daily performances ideal for the whole family, including shows like the Ice Princess Show, Christmas Meltdown and the return of Winter Wonderland’s spectacular Christmas Circus.

Winter Wonderland

And it wouldn’t be a Christmas bonanza without an abundance of festive food, would it? From German bratwursts to waffles and crepes, plus lots of Christmassy games stalls to keep the kids happily entertained, there’ll be something for everyone to feast upon.

Elsewhere, a German bar will also serving up fresh Bavarian beers and other festive drinks and adult refreshments.

Speaking on the grand return, Winter Wonderland’s organisers Tammy and Billy Silcock of Kingpin Events said: “We are absolutely delighted to be returning to Manchester this Christmas after a four-year gap, after the last eighteen months we all need to create magical memories with our families, and we hope the return of the event will spread joy across the region.

“And, as a special thank you for the hard work of our NHS and Armed Forces, we are introducing reduced ticket prices on specific days throughout the run.”

Winter Wonderland

Tickets for the event are now on sale now and are priced at £29.50 for adults and children off-peak, and £35 at peak times. OAPs are priced at £20 and £27.50 while those under the age of three can visit for free at any time. 

Located at Event City next door to the Intu Trafford Centre, Winter Wonderland will be running from Saturday December 4th 2021 to Sunday January 2nd 2022.

To book your own tickets and for more information about the event, click here.

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Terrifying immersive drive-in cinema experience is returning to Manchester for Halloween

Reckon you’re brave enough for this?

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Park N Party / Scare City

Halloween fanatics, this one is for you: An immersive drive-in cinema experience is coming to Manchester and it looks wonderfully spooky.

Screening from October 1st, Park N Party will be reopening the gates to the Scare City Horror Drive-In at Secret City to put on an immersive, open-air experience featuring performances from live actors alongside some of the scariest and most iconic Halloween films of all time.

Spooky favourites such as Annabelle, Evil Dead and The Ring will be shown across several large screens that you can watch from the comfort of your car – though be warned, eerie ghouls will be lurking in the shadows.

Park N Party / Scare City

Park N Party will be adopting a witchy theme this year, with the events description reading: “We are conjuring a spellbindingly satanic experience complete with horrifying live actors, drive through scare tunnel, your favourite horror movies and much more.

“Scare City 2.0 is an immersive event that will enchant and disturb all who dare enter for a Halloween like no other.”

Once the movie and spooky fun is over, you can recover from your frights with a drink at Secret City’s new bar, which offers an array of drinks and food, including loaded fries and burgers.

There’ll also be plenty of photo opportunities to show off your horror-filled night including a drive-in tunnel, the scare zone, a ritual area, an abandoned gas station, and a very Halloween-esque graveyard.

Fancy it? Click here to book your tickets.

Here’s the line-up in full:

  • Friday Oct 1st, 9:00pm: The Wretched
  • Saturday Oct 2nd, 3:00pm: Paranorman
  • Saturday Oct 2nd, 6:00pm: The Nun
  • Saturday Oct 2nd, 9:00pm: A Quiet Place
  • Sunday Oct 3rd, 3:00pm: Coraline
  • Sunday Oct 3rd, 6:00pm: The Cabin In The Woods
  • Sunday Oct 3rd, 9:00pm: Annabelle
  • Wednesday Oct 6th, 9:00pm: The Descent
  • Thursday Oct 7th, 9:00pm: Poltergeist (2015)
  • Friday Oct 8th, 9:00pm: Insidious
  • Saturday Oct 9th, 3:00pm: Coco
  • Saturday Oct 9th, 6:00pm: The Babadook
  • Saturday Oct 9th, 9:00pm: A Quiet Place Part II
  • Sunday Oct 10th, 3:00pm: Hocus Pocus
  • Sunday Oct 10th, 6:00pm: Evil Dead (2013)
  • Sunday Oct 10th, 9:00pm: Annabelle Comes Home
  • Wednesday Oct 13th, 9:00pm: The Witch
  • Thursday Oct 14th, 9:00pm: Get Out
  • Friday Oct 15th, 9:00pm: Insidious Chapter 2
  • Saturday Oct 16th, 3:00pm: Frankenweenie
  • Saturday Oct 16th, 6:00pm: Cabin Fever (2016)
  • Saturday Oct 16th, 9:00pm: The Ring
  • Sunday Oct 17th, 3:00pm: The Corpse Bride
  • Sunday Oct 17th, 6:00pm: Annabelle: Creation
  • Sunday Oct 17th, 9:00pm: Deliver Us From Evil (2014)
  • Wednesday Oct 20th, 9:00pm: Paranorman
  • Thursday Oct 21st, 9:00pm: Insidious Chapter 3
  • Friday Oct 22nd, 9:00pm: Exorcist
  • Saturday Oct 23rd, 3:00pm: Monster House
  • Saturday Oct 23rd, 6:00pm: The Woman In Black
  • Saturday Oct 23rd, 9:00pm: The Grudge
  • Sunday Oct 24th, 3:00pm: The Addams Family (2019)
  • Sunday Oct 24th, 6:00pm: The Strangers
  • Sunday Oct 24th, 9:00pm: Hostel
  • Wednesday Oct 27th, 9:00pm: It Comes At Night
  • Thursday Oct 28th, 9:00pm: Orphan
  • Friday Oct 29th, 9:00pm: Quarantine
  • Saturday Oct 30th, 3:00pm: The Witches (2020)
  • Sunday Oct 31st, 3:00pm: The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Sunday October 31st, 6:00pm: Evil Dead (2013)
  • Sunday October 31st, 6:00pm: The Ring
  • Sunday October 31st, 9:00pm: Blair Witch
  • Sunday October 31st, 9:00pm: Halloween 2018

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