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Contact Theatre round-up

Nicola Mostyn takes a look at what’s coming up at Contact

Published on January 21st 2008.

Contact Theatre round-up

January is a time for all things new. New resolutions. New viruses. New and more fervent relationships with one’s overdraft. Thankfully it is also a time for Contact’s new theatre season which means that there is much to look forward to in the coming months.

It is taken from the multi award winning best seller by Anne Cassidy and is about a girl who, in her childhood, murders her best friend. It is a really dark subject matter.

As Manchester’s home for new theatre, Contact always has something innovative to offer and, true to form, this season promises a pleasingly varied and imaginative mix to kick start 2008.

First up is Hadley’s Experiment, (Jan 29) a Liverstock production based on a true story which tackles the subject of schizophrenia. Contact’s Media Officer, Thomas Harold, explains, “This is an intriguing story about a man who goes on a journey with three people, but it is all taking place inside his head. It is dealing with mental health issues, and it is sensitively done, but it is also taking a vivid and imaginative approach to the subject matter.”

Taking a different tack in dealing with life-issues is SKIN (Jan 31). A “straight up, powerful dance piece from Afro Caribbean Exchange”, Skin is a collaboration between two renowned choreographers from Japan and South Africa and features six dancers in a work which fuses dance, live vocal effects and digital projections to explore what it means to be human.

Never ones to shirk away from challenging subject matter, Contact’s new season also features Looking for JJ (Feb 5 – 9). “Looking for JJ will be really popular with young audiences,” says Harold. “It is taken from the multi award winning best seller by Anne Cassidy and is about a girl who, in her childhood, murders her best friend. It is a really dark subject matter.” Presented by Pilot, Unicorn Theatre and York Theatre Royal, it promises to be a gripping piece of theatre.

And given their commitment to encouraging new creative voices, it is fitting that some homegrown talent gets an airing in I Hear Voices (Feb 20-23), a Contact-produced performance featuring three up and coming spoken word performers - Ben Mellor, Martin Stannage and Samira Arhin-Acquaah in a piece which mixes up rap, movement and live music to create a poetic, humorous tale of urban paranoia.

If your new year’s resolutions included trying something different in 2008 then you won’t want to miss The Wedding Dance (March 3-8), a sexy salsa production which ran at Bolton Octagon last year. Billed as “West Side Story meets Dangerous Liaisons”, this fiery love story promises big band sounds and salsa music galore, with dance classes tied in for those who fancy having a go at shaking their stuff Havana-style.

And finally, if your head longs for traditional theatre but your heart yearns for anarchy, you could be in luck. While other theatres are happy to stage Shakespeare in all its traditional pomp, Contact looks set to offer a more ballsy approach to the bard with their forthcoming version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream called Kaos Dream (Feb 28-Mar 1) presented by awarding winning theatre company Kaos. “Kaos do a lot of unconventional, weird, twisted productions,” explains Harold, and this production of Shakespeare’s magical comedy looks set to follow suit, comprising a transvestite Titania and pole-dancing Hermia. Frankly, I can hardly wait to see their Bottom….

Contact, Oxford Road, Manchester, M15 6JA. 274 0600.

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