While We Were Waiting… Something Changed

While We Were Waiting… Something Changed

Review of 'While We Were Waiting… Something Changed' at Contact, Manchester. On Oxford Road, a young woman repeatedly emerges from a phone box opposite McDonalds, changing each time into a mind-blowing array of outfits. It’s not a catwalk moment, more a process of development, or in her words “a pilgrimage to find myself”. Although she [...]

The Bread We Break

The Bread We Break

Review of 'The Bread We Break' at Contact Theatre, Manchester. To talk of breaking bread with others suggests more than just a communal meal. The phrase also implies a coming-together, making a connection, and perhaps sharing ideas. While not a crumb passes our lips during Miray Sidhom’s new show, her insightful reflections on bread, political [...]

An interview with Word of Warning’s Tamsin Drury.

An interview with Word of Warning’s Tamsin Drury.

Tamsin Drury talks about Emergency, Word of Warning, Manchester Independents and keeping going.  When I catch up with Tamsin Drury, she’s deep into the planning for Emergency, Word of Warning’s annual “taster event of live art & contemporary performance in all its forms”. Anyone who has attended previous versions of the event will know it [...]

Destination Manchester International Festival

Destination Manchester International Festival

Laugh if you like, but this year I’m heading to Manchester International Festival for my summer holidays. Even if I felt inclined to jet off abroad, the traffic light system feels like too much of a lottery and, as a solo traveller, price hikes make even UK destinations unaffordable for now. Meanwhile, there are 'enhanced [...]

Baby Fever

Baby Fever

1 October 2019. Contact Theatre, Manchester at STUN Studios. What does success look like? Buying a house? Getting married? Having a baby? Contact Young Company's new show Baby Fever grew out of an exploration of the value and relevance of those traditional milestones for a younger generation. How healthy are they as goals to structure [...]

Manchester Theatre 2019 – the increasing influence of young companies

Manchester Theatre 2019 – the increasing influence of young companies

When Leeds Playhouse announced the formation of its first young company in April last year it was a bit of a wake up call for me. The Playhouse were looking to support a group of young people to collaborate in "making and producing bold and socially resonant work", as well providing opportunities for them to [...]

Manchester Theatre – Best of 2018

Manchester Theatre – Best of 2018

This year I ended up seeing lots of great theatre in Manchester as well as in Leeds, Liverpool, London, Sheffield and, for the first time, Huddersfield. The following are my favourite Manchester shows of 2018. In compiling the list I've restricted my choices to productions that were either premiered in Greater Manchester or could only [...]

The Forest of Forgotten Discos!

The Forest of Forgotten Discos!

Hope Mill Theatre. Commissioned by Contact. 13 December 2018. When children head into the woods in traditional fairy stories and pantomimes they often find themselves lost in a dark and scary place. Contact's Christmas show is having none of that. We're led into the Forest of Forgotten Discos by friendly and sparkly 'virtual assistant' Alexa, [...]

Water Seeds Not Stones

Water Seeds Not Stones

Contact at STUN, Manchester. 20 October 2018. Amidst the hustle and bustle of Manchester's Market Street, the shoppers, newspaper-sellers, musicians and street preachers, are the mobile vendors. Every inch of their wheeled carts is covered with phone covers, toys, gadgets and balloons, and the bright multi-coloured nature of their goods makes them hard to miss. [...]

Oh Man

Oh Man

Contact Young Company with Hetain Patel. 30 August 2018. Earlier this year Contact Young Company shone a spotlight on the ongoing struggle for women's rights with She Bangs The Drums. This time they've got their mechanic's overalls on and they're having a good poke around under the bonnet of manhood. After being accompanied to a [...]