Manchester theatre embraces Black History Month with a host of events

By Rebecca Thelwell, Sion Britton and Claire Skegg

Manchester’s Contact Theatre is hosting an exhibition on the Moss Riots of 1981 as part of its programme for Black History Month.

Celebrated in the UK since 1987, Black History Month attempts to raise awareness of the contributions played by black and ethnic minority groups towards our society.

The number of Black History Month initiatives across the country has grown to nearly 4,700, all of which have history as an integral part of their content and can include events such as historical walks, theatrical performances, exhibitions, and debating sessions.

Black History Month being established was seen as an opportunity for the black community to share with others their vast contributions around the world and to celebrate their cultural identity and pride.

One event which has marked Black History Month in Manchester is the Moss Side Stories gallery at the Contact Theatre on Oxford Road.

The photographs are of the 1981 Moss Side riots and highlight the tensions of the black society at the time.

Mr Barnes-Wynters said: “Institutional racism was more evident then than it is now but importantly the moss side riots was about a community, both black and white, at breaking point and standing up to the establishment.”

However, this is one of the first times that these photographs have been put on public display. The images were deemed too politically sensitive for publication at the time of the riots.

Moss Side Stories and many other events on Black History Month can be seen at the Contact Theatre throughout October. For more information visit

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