Queer Contact celebrates 10th Anniversary
December 2017 sees Manchester’s Contact theatre begin a £6.75million transformation of its remarkable building on Oxford Road, expanding and refurbishing to create more opportunities for communities across the region. While its home is transformed, Queer Contact Festival 2018 joins Contact’s In the City programme, at venues across Greater Manchester, for four weeks of live performances (27 Jan – 25 Feb) and three months of exhibition days (4 Feb – 15 Apr) celebrating LGBT+ arts and culture, and marking the festival’s 10th anniversary.
This year's festival features diverse life experiences from the UK, Europe, Hong Kong, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and more as part of a packed programme of theatre, dance, music, cabaret, film, clubbing, spoken word and visual art examining gender, sexuality, health, religion, and politics. Events will take place at partner venues including Oldham Coliseum, Texture, Palace Theatre Manchester, Waterside, Manchester Academy, 53Two, Manchester Central Library, CRUZ 101, The Ruby Lounge, People’s History Museum and Manchester’s LGBT+ Centre.
The festival will feature two high profile shows co-produced by Contact, beginning with a new musical, Dancing Bear, premiering at the home of the musical in Manchester – The Palace Theatre (Tue 6 – Wed 7 February). Produced by Jamie Fletcher & Company and Contact, a multi-talented cast including Divina De Campo (Holy Trannity, The Voice) flip between catchy original pop songs and dramatic storytelling to explore the struggle to reconcile faith, sexuality and gender. It’s an uplifting, moving and musical night out that’s a feast for the heart and the head.
This is followed by a celebration of global vogue culture at the House of Suarez and Contact Vogue Ball at Manchester Academy 2 (Sat 10 Feb). An extravaganza of costume, dance and attitude will be on display as over 80 fierce voguers and performers battle it out for supremacy in this multi-award winning event, hosted by Rikki Beadle-Blair, with a post-show party featuring the Hacienda’s DJ Paulette (FLESH).
Other festival highlights include:
Mother’s Ruin: Live at the Coliseum (Sat 27 Jan, Oldham Coliseum) sees Mother sashay over to Oldham for an evening of outrageous performance. Make a Scene: Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Sat 3- Sun 4 Feb, Texture) gives the chance to rock out to the classic queer movie musical as never before. 201 Dance Company: SKIN (Fri 9 Feb, Waterside) presents a boy's intimate journey of gender transition to discover a body that feels like home. 90s coming out tale The Newspaper Boy (Tue 13 – Sat 25 Feb, 53Two) tells the story of a working class 15 year old child soap star with a secret that threatens to be on every tabloid’s front page.
Outspoken returns (Wed 14 Feb, Manchester Central Library) with prose, poetry and spoken word from an all-female line-up of Outspoken voices. Wuthering Nights (Fri 16 Feb, The Ruby Lounge) sees Pop Curious? and Bollox unite to celebrate the musical genius of queer icon Kate Bush. Children’s storytime doesn’t get more glamorous than Drag Queen Story Time (Sat 17 Feb, Manchester Central Library) – the first of a regular series of events at Manchester’s Central Library in 2018. The festival month closes with Cha Cha Boudoir: Iconic (Fri 23 Feb, Sub 101, Cruz 101) as Manchester's Home of Fabulous delves into queer herstory with a night celebrating LGBT+ icons.
This year’s visual arts programme showcases the personal and the political. Running from Sat 4 Feb – Sun 15 Apr, The House of Kings & Queens exhibition at People’s History Museum is a collection of images by photographer Lee Price exploring LGBT+ life in Sierra Leone, where homosexuality remains illegal. Providing a glimmer of hope is a young transgender woman who offers her home - The House of Kings and Queens - as a sanctuary to those in need.
20 February 2018 sees the 30th anniversary of the Manchester protest march against Section 28. Contact’s young programming and producing team RE:CON and artist Manuel Vason will be inviting people from the original protest and present day activists to recreate the iconic images from the march in a new photographic intervention. To take part please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, 30 Years Queer: Queer Youth In Focus (Sat 4 Feb – Sun 15 Apr), will commemorate both the 10th anniversary of Queer Contact Festival and the 30th anniversary of Manchester’s LGBT+ Centre, with another chance to see Beyond Beyond’s portraits of Greater Manchester LGBT+ young people, originally commissioned by Contact in partnership with The Proud Trust in 2017, and displayed for the first time at the LGBT+ Centre itself.
Tickets for all events are on sale now.Read More