April 2018

Contact Fundraising Campaign

Contact launches rousing fundraising campaign to raise final 500k of £6.65m capital redevelopment. Con:Struct. a dedicated team of young people (aged 13 – 30) leads on project to transform the building.

“I already miss Contact but I am so excited about next summer when we can see all our ideas and hard work brought to life. It’s an incredible legacy to have been a part of at just 24 and an opportunity I couldn’t have even imagined.”

Ella Dix-Nagra, Con:Struct member

Today Contact, Manchester’s critically acclaimed, trail-blazing theatre and arts venue, led and programmed by young people, launched the final phase of its Capital Redevelopment fundraising campaign, with a target of 500k, after raising over £6m of its £6.65m target.

The rousing campaign was launched with Making Contact, an event at Manchester Art Gallery introduced by Contact advocate Julie Hesmondhalgh, Contact’s Chief Executive & Artistic Director Matt Fenton, and an inspiring performance from Contact Young Company’s radical 5* show She Bangs The Drums.

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. They 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.

Fundraising to date

A new arts and health space has been funded by a Wellcome Trust grant of £500,000. This will provide a dedicated space to develop new partnerships and relationships with NHS, patient groups, young people, local communities and artists. Additional funding will support a three-year post of Health Producer to lead on projects and produce new theatre shows that explore health inequalities and other current issues.

Generous donations have also been made by Duchy of Lancaster, Foyle Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, Granada Foundation, G S Sanders Charitable Settlement, Morrisons Foundation, The Oglesby Charitable Trust, Sylvia Waddilove Charitable Foundation, Viridor Credits, Wolfson Foundation, W O Street Charitable Foundation.

Support from trusts and foundations follows initial grants from Arts Council England and Manchester City Council.  In addition, Contact has received in kind support and with Contact’s own funds and individual donations this brings the total secured to date to £6,161,133.

Contact in 2018

The Capital Redevelopment has been the catalyst for Contact, and its outstanding, nationally recognised and consistently diverse performances, from contemporary theatre to dance, live art, cabaret, spoken word, circus, comedy and music to explode out into the City of Manchester, reaching exciting new audiences.

Contact has gained powerful momentum with diverse productions such as Dancing Bear, She Bangs the Drums and Handlooms hitting new stages from the Palace Theatre, to the Museum of Science and Industry and a sari shop on Manchester’s famous Curry Mile, receiving critical acclaim across the board.

Contact is also expanding onto new platforms with a television co-production from Contact and 20 Stories High based on their hit theatre show ‘I told my mum I was going on an R.E. trip…’  broadcast on BBC Two in January to huge critical acclaim, reaching viewers nationally both on and offline. The frank, warm verbatim drama about young people’s experiences of abortion will screen again at Manchester HOME cinema in May 2018 as part of Pilot Light TV Festival.