The world’s a stage: Manchester theatre bring continents together for arts festival Contacting the World

By Katie Moore

Theatre companies from around the world will revisit Manchester next summer as part of the arts festival Contacting the World 2014.

Host theatre Contact on Manchester’s Oxford Road has been laying the foundations for the next offering and pairing companies from the UK, India, Iran and Jamaica.

CYAC (Contact Young Actors Company) are a regular fixture in the festival which takes place every two years.

Festival Manager Jude Jagger said: “They are learning how to be a global citizen and understand cultural differences.

“A lot of our participants can’t afford a gap year or even a holiday, so this is opening up the world for them.”

The partner companies will work together digitally between now and July, collaborating on shared tasks each month.

They will communicate via various social media sites and take inspiration from their partner’s method of working,

CYAC member Joe Slack, 21, said: “It looks to be a great experience. It’ll be a new venture for me, but one I thoroughly look forward to.”

Fellow member Lauren Evans, 19, said: “I’m not too sure what to expect, which just adds to the excitement.

“Our partner company will influence our piece in a way that wouldn’t happen if we were doing this with another British theatre company.”

The companies are twinned at random, CYAC this year paired with Margin Theater from Tehran, Iran.

The other companies involved are Mumbai’s Bread and Butter, Corby Young Actors, FRESH from Livingston in Scotland and Quilt Performing Arts Company from Kingston, Jamaica.

Ms Jagger said: “Internationally, we stand out – not many people host international work by young people. They host international work or they host young people’s work, but not both.”

All participants will visit Manchester for the festival from July 7 to 12, funded by Arts Council England, Manchester City Council, University of Manchester and AGMA.

Three Manchester schools, yet to be selected, will also participate in a three-month project leading up to the festival.

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