CONTACT Daytime Credit Joel Chester Fildes

Contact Theatre starts £6.8m expansion

The Contact Theatre on Manchester’s Oxford Road has appointed Blackpool-based contractor F Parkinson to deliver a £6.8m refurbishment and extension, due to open in summer 2019.

The refurbishment and three-storey extension includes new performance spaces, a recording studio, offices, a café, and an arts and health development space. Designed by architect Sheppard Robson, the proposals will add around 3,200 sq ft of space to the building.

Contact, which specialises in engaging young people through art, closed the building in December last year ahead of the refurbishment.

It has secured £3.9m of funding towards the project with grants from Arts Council England and investment from other supporters including Bruntwood, Manchester City Council, and the University of Manchester.

A dedicated team of young people, Con:Struct, has been closely involved with the building’s design and the tender process since a stage one development grant was first secured in 2014. Sheppard Robson was appointed in 2015, and planning permission was granted in January 2016.

The building last underwent a redevelopment in 1999. F Parkinson started work on the latest extension last month, and is due to hand over the project in 2019.

Matt Fenton, chief executive and artistic director at Contact said: “The re-opened Contact building and our new facilities will massively improve the experience for audiences, artists and project participants. It will make the building more accessible, and will improve Contact’s economic and environmental sustainability.

“It’s fantastic to be working with a North West based contractor who aligns with our social values, and is also committed to creating opportunities for young people.”

Overall, the renovation and extension is expected to cost around £6.8m. The professional team also includes Mace as project manager.

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