Manchester Contact to create new youth festival for 2015

Natalie Woolman

Contact in Manchester has received £175,000 from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation to develop a new festival of young people’s ideas in partnership with other venues including Battersea Arts Centre.

The project has been inspired by the Youth Agency Network in Rio de Janeiro, which is also a partner in the British initiative. The four-day festival is planned to take place over Easter weekend in 2015 following a period of research and development that will involve 300 young people aged between 15 and 25. Six urban hubs will also be set up nationwide as part of the scheme.

The funding has been awarded through the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s participatory performing arts programme. In the past, Manchester International Festival and National Theatre Wales have benefited from this funding stream.

Andrew Barnett, director of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation UK, said: “It has been a challenge to select one project from the best of those involved in participatory performance. We were attracted by the fact that this project arises from an international partnership which will offer young people opportunities to take the lead in giving voice to their aspirations. Our hope is that this exchange of ideas will embolden practitioners to develop new ways of working that will both enrich theatre practice and enhance the lives of the young participants.”

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