Oxford Road’s Contact Theatre is officially reopening following £6m transformation
Contact is BACK, and it’s looking better than ever before…
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.
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.
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
Monday September 27th – Monday December 6th 2021
Anthology of Joy
Friday October 8th – Saturday October 23rd 2021
Black Gold Arts Festival
Tuesday october 19th – Friday October 29th 2021
Ergon: The Wicked Problem
Wednesday November 3rd – Saturday November 6th 2021
Tuesday November 23rd – Saturday November 27th 2021
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
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
Elmer the elephant art trail coming to Blackpool with 30 sculptures to find
‘Elmer was yellow and orange and red and pink and purple and blue and green and black and white’
Blackpool is to play host to an Elmer the Patchwork Elephant art trail, inspired by author David McKee’s popular children’s book character.
The epic trail, happening next spring, will see 30 patchwork elephant sculptures as part an event from Wild in Art. The elephant sculptures are expected to attract thousands of visitors in a bid to raise funds to support a children’s hospice
Each large sculpture will be uniquely decorated by established and up and coming artists, creating a parade through the northern seaside town that will be enjoyed by visitors and locals for its eight-week stay.
A herd of smaller Elmers will accompany the trail, decorated by local children and young people through schools and youth organisations. The smaller elephant sculptures will be displayed inside some of the town’s tourist, cultural and leisure locations.
Brian House — the Fylde coast’s only children’s hospice — has announced Blackpool’s first major public art trail in partnership with Wild in Art and Andersen Press. They’ll be sponsored by businesses and organisations and be placed around key landmarks, streets, and open spaces across Blackpool, with visitors encouraged to visit as many as possible.
After the trail, the sculptures will go up for auction to raise vital funds to support Brian House’s specialist care to patients and their families. The Elmer trail arrives for spring 2024 — but there’s already a lot of excitement about the anticipated event.
Much-loved by children across the world, Elmer books have sold more than 10 million and been translated into more than 50 languages since the elephant’s first appearance in 1989. Linzi Warburton, head of fundraising at Brian House, said: “We have kept this a secret for a long time and now we are so excited to share this news with everyone.
“Elmer is a much-loved character and represents kindness, differences, acceptance, and friendship. There’s no other beloved character like him which celebrates the differences that make our children so very special.
“Elmer’s Big Blackpool Parade is the largest event we have ever organised, and we are delighted to be partnering with Wild in Art and Andersen Press with their expertise and advice.
“We hope people from Blackpool and beyond are as excited as we are and join us in celebrating this incredible character and how he represents the children we are privileged to care for. Not only will this art trail do great things for our community, but it will raise vital funds and awareness for our incredible children’s hospice which is a lifeline for local families.”
Charlie Langhorne, managing director and co-founder of Wild in Art, said: “Elmer will bring colour and creativity to Blackpool next year and we are thrilled to be teaming up with Brian House and Andersen Press on this exciting art trail.
“Our events are designed to bring the enjoyment of public art to everyone while offering new ways for people to explore their local area and we hope that, through the trail, we can inspire businesses, the creative sector and the wider community to come together to create something very special which will have significant impact.”
Paul Black, PR and brand director at Andersen Press, said: “Everyone at Andersen Press is delighted to be working with Brian House and Wild in Art to bring Elmer to the seaside. These events are hugely special, community-driven spectaculars which can bring people together with something fun and engaging for everyone.
“I look forward to seeing the creativity of Blackpool come to life with the help of Elmer the Patchwork Elephant next year.”
The Black Friar hosting HUGE Easter egg hunt to raise money for kid’s cancer charity
This looks eggcellent!
The Black Friar is hosting an Easter ‘Eggstravaganza’ family-fun day with plenty of child friendly activities and a spring menu for all to enjoy.
The Black Friar pub in Salford will be holding an Easter ‘Eggstravaganza’ family-fun day next month in their award-winning spring garden.
The jam-packed, fun-filled day will take place on Saturday April 8th between 10am and 2pm, with two time slots available to book at the historic landmark, located on the corner of Blackfriars Road.
The day will be in support of Kidscan, a local children’s cancer research charity, also based in Salford. Kidscan invests in research dedicated to either improving existing treatments for childhood cancers, developing new drug delivery systems, or finding the next generation of targeted treatments.
The Black Friar wrote: “We’re extremely grateful and excited to be working with this wonderful charity – we hope your support will aid and raise more awareness of their work.”
The event will include a chocolate Easter egg hunt, kids’ DJ, charity tombola, bubble blowing, arts and crafts table, face painting and more, all aimed to keep your little ones entertained while you enjoy the (hopefully) sunny weather in the Black Friar’s lovely spring garden.
The outdoor kitchen and bar will be open serving freshly made flatbreads, breakfast rolls, juices and coffee as well as alcoholic beverages — in case you feel like treating yourself to a little tipple over the long weekend.
Bookings are also available for lunch if you want to make a day of it and enjoy the spring a la carte menu.
Dishes on the seasonal menu will include crispy pork belly with pineapple, slaw and commit fat chips, braised octopus, black eyed bean and chorizo feijoada and pimiento, and spinach and seitan cannelloni with salsa verde, and a pine nut, lemon and herb crumb – plus its famous pies.
There’s also a ‘little tuckers’ kids’ menu with favourites like mac and cheese, chipolatas, nachos and chocolatey desserts. The Black Friar wrote: “Bring your bunnies down for a hopping good time at our jam-packed family-fun day!”
Book your tickets here.
Date: Saturday 8 April
Venue: The Black Friar Salford
Times: Either 10am-12pm or 12pm-2pm
Price: £3 adults, £2 kids
Celebrate the mums in your life with something special from Selfridges this Mother’s Day
Hurry, it’s not too late to sort something special for Mother’s Day!
For this Mother’s Day celebrate the mums in your life with a special gift or experience at Selfridges.
Selfridges, based in both Manchester’s Exchange Square and the Trafford Centre, has it all covered with a range of ideas to suit every mother figure this March 19th.
At Selfridges Exchange Square you can shower her with love by gifting her a special bouquet of seasonal blooms. Frog Flowers — with a shop based in the Northern Quarter — will be selling a variety of beautiful bunches perfect for gifting from now until Sunday 19th.
If you want to treat yourself or the mother figure in your life there’s a Beauty and Fragrance Workshop from now until Saturday 18th with some of the best-loved brands. On Friday 17th you can celebrate with Armani for a Spring Glow Masterclass, starting from 12.30pm, 4.30pm and 6pm.
To introduce the new launch of My Way Parfum — an extension of one of its bestselling fragrances — the designer brand will be showcasing a fresh spring look inspired by the bottle and the iconic Armani glow products, including its brand-new eye tints.
Tickets are £10. (Please note, the price of your ticket is fully redeemable against products purchased on the day). Please call 0161 838 0613 to book now.
On Saturday 18th, Dior city artist Vicky O’Connor will be hosting a masterclass showcasing the new Dior collection along with a Fragrance Experience to celebrate Mother’s Day. A soft everyday look will be created using nude and rose tones.
The glow-up will be linked with Dior Prestige Skincare, using rose at its heart and inspired by the relaunch of Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet fragrance packaging. Tickets are £35. (Please note, the price of your ticket is fully redeemable against any products purchased on the day). Please call 0161 838 0636, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book now.
You can book online for any of the events held at Selfridges Exchange Square here.
Selfridges at the Trafford Centre will also be holding Beauty and Fragrance Workshops using some favourite brands, available now until Saturday 18th.
On Friday 17th at 3pm, head over to Keihl’s and discover the famous pharmacy-feel skincare products. Learn all about the natural and effective formulas of favourite products, including the Midnight Recovery and Super Multi Corrective collection. Tickets are £10 and fully redeemable against any Kiehl’s products. Call 0161 629 1146 to book now.
Musical entertainment will be playing from 12-5pm, creating an upbeat shopping experience with a DJ set across the accessories and beauty department, while you shop ‘til you drop over the Mother’s Day weekend.
It’s not Mother’s Day without perfectly picked blooms so you’ll be pleased to hear the Frog Flowers are also found on the lower level, supplying some of the most exquisite blooms to make her feel special and appreciated.
The ‘new mum’ experience will include a day of pampering and much needed ‘you time’, plus the chance to buy something special for your little one.
You can enjoy a personalised blow-dry in your preferred style at natural hair care brand Aveda, a luxurious facial by the experts at Dermalogica, and a one-on-one consultation with a children’s brand specialist and £50 gift card. Price: £135. Book now here.
And, if you’re looking for something to do together — held at both its Exchange Square and Trafford Centre stores — Selfridges is offering a Beauty Concierge for Mother’s Day. The Mum and Me package will cost £80 for 1hour 30minutes. So you can make the day extra special with a makeover for you and your lovely mum. You can book this now here.
Hurry, it’s not too late to sort something special for Mother’s Day!