Contact theatre began a £6.75million transformation in December 2017, expanding and refurbishing to create more opportunities for communities across the region. Whilst 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 from 27th January to 25th February (three months of exhibition days from 4th February to 15th April) celebrating LGBT+ arts and culture.
This year’s festival features is 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.
Featuring two high profile shows co-produced by Contact, a new musical, Dancing Bear, premiering at the home of the musical in Manchester; The Palace Theatre (Tuesday 6th – Wednesday 7th February). 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 on Saturday 10th February. 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).
For all the events and more information: www.contactmcr.com/queercontact
This year’s visual arts programme showcases the personal and the political. Running from Saturday 4th February to Sunday 15th April, 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.
Queer Contact Festival Producer Barry Priest says:
“Queer Contact Festival celebrates the best in LGBT+ arts and culture, and we’re extremely proud that the 10th anniversary of the Festival offers us the opportunity to showcase LGBT+ voices from around the world at venues across Greater Manchester. For the 10th anniversary, we look to the past and the future, recognising that while there has been progress in some countries towards equality, there’s still much more for us all to do to create a truly equal society.”
20th February 2018 is 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 email firstname.lastname@example.org)
30 Years Queer: Queer Youth In Focus (Saturday 4th February to Sunday 15th April), 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.
Image References: Lee Price (header/house of kings and queens), Benji Reid (dancing bear), Kevin Barrett (house of suarez), Rope Wolf Photography (drag queen storytime)