Theatre launch campaign to raise £500,000 for revamp

Contact Theatre

One of Manchester’s most popular theatres has launched the final phase of its fund raising campaign.

Contact has launched the final phase of its Capital Redevelopment fundraising campaign, with a target of £500,000, after raising over £6m of its £6.65m target.

The campaign was launched with Making Contact, an event at Manchester Art Gallery introduced by Contact supporter Julie Hesmondhalgh, Contact’s chief executive and artistic director Matt Fenton.

Front and centre of the campaign is Con:Struct, the dedicated team of young people aged 13-30 leading the project to transform the building for the next generation of audiences, artists and young people.

The team revealed the plans for the building, which is looking to reopen in Summer 2019, along with a new film to introduce Contact to a wider audience.

The funds will complete the Contact redevelopment, supporting new and improved performance spaces; a purpose-built recording studio for young people’s music projects; an arts and health development space; new offices for artists and cultural organisations to hire and work alongside Contact staff and a new café/bar.

The Con:Struct team have attended more than 50 meetings and sessions since June 2016, initially having appointed lead architects Sheppard Robson.

Since then they have been involved in procuring F Parkinson Ltd as the official contractors, who broke ground in late March 2018; interviewing and appointing the caterers; consulting on its fundraising policy; interior design choices and signage strategy.

First established in 1972, Contact last underwent a major building redevelopment in 1999 with a ground-breaking new environmentally sustainable design.

Twenty years on, the building needs to expand in order to cope with the growing demand from young participants and audiences as well as further improving Contact’s economic and environmental sustainability.

Matt Fenton said: “We are incredibly grateful for the generous support we have received so far to get this project up and running, with our contractors now on site.

“To have raised over £6 million in the last 18 months is testament to how much people value what Contact does with and for the young people of Greater Manchester, the kinds of radical new performance we produce with them, and the many communities we reach.”

Former Coronation Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh said: “I know more lives transformed because of Contact than I can count.

“Some of the most prolific artists I’ve met started out at Contact. Contact has always championed young people, and were years ahead of everyone in promoting diversity.

“I’m delighted to support this new era in Contact’s life in our glorious city, bringing that wonderful building bang up to date to host the next generation of exciting, vital, diverse and ground-breaking work.”