Contact Theatre searches for extension contractor

Alice Cachia

Manchester’s Contact Theatre is looking for a contractor to build out its £3.8m redevelopment.

The Oxford Road theatre, which specialises in engaging young people through a varied local, national and international artistic programme, is aiming to reopen in 2019 with an additional 3,200 sq ft of space.

The refurbishment and three-storey extension will include two new performance spaces, a reconfigured ground floor, as well as offices for artists and cultural organisations to hire.

Managed by Mace, a tender was put out last week for contractors to apply for the £3.8m project.

In July 2014, Contact secured a stage one development grant from Arts Council England which enabled it to carry out detailed design work, and a stage two application was made in December of that year. The overall project value of £6.5m includes funding from Manchester University and Manchester City Council.

Contact’s aims for the new venue are to increase opportunities for young people, strengthen economic and environmental sustainability, and improve accessibility.

The current theatre was an extension of the 1960s university theatre space, to allow the space to remain naturally ventilated. Architect Sheppard Robson was appointed in 2015 to design the new theatre, and planning permission was granted in January 2016.

James Jones, associate partner at Sheppard Robson, said: “We are excited to see our designs come into place. The experiences of theatre-goers and performers will be significantly improved with the added space and it will be visually impressive for its setting on Corridor Manchester once contractors have finished working.”

The design aims to make activities within the theatre more visible from Oxford Road.

Interested contractors should contact Adam Duigenan at Mace.

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