Baba Israel has announced that he is resigning as artistic director of Contact in Manchester for personal reasons.
Israel, who has led the Manchester-based company since June 2009, will leave on December 17. He is returning to his home in New York to look after his mother, following the death of his father.
He said: “When I first came to Contact on tour with my father in 2005 I was amazed at what I found, a theatre that was so much more. Contact is a dynamic social space full of creativity and diversity where young people hold real influence. As artistic director I am proud to see Contact reaching beyond its walls collaborating virtually and physically across the world. My father passed last summer and I am returning to New York to look after my mother and to begin a new journey as an independent artist. I know that Contact will only grow stronger because of the staff, board, partners, funders and young people who keep Contact’s vision clear and expansive.”
Charles Lauder, chair of Contact’s board, added: “Contact would like to be pay tribute to the tireless effort Baba brought to his role as Contact’s artistic director. He particularly embraced the task of pushing forward Contact’s digital profile, engagement and offer. This was encapsulated in his work on CountryBoy’s Struggle, a stage production that developed into music video trailer and a series of web-based episodes. Contact has exciting adventures ahead, which I am sure Baba would have loved the chance to share. We would like to thank him and wish him well in his future endeavours.”