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Contact Marks Black History Month With HALO

Performances run October 24-26.

To celebrate and mark Black History Month 2022, Contact is delighted to announce that its Artistic Director Keisha Thompson is teaming up with the acclaimed Contact Young Company to direct their brand new show, Halo from October 24-26. This will Mark Thompson's directorial debut at Contact since taking over the leadership reigns in June of this year.

Inspired by The Halo Code, a campaign signed by schools and businesses that promises members of the Black community that they have the "freedom and security to wear all afro-hairstyles without restriction or judgment", this brand new show explores young people's personal experiences in schools and workplaces in regards to their hair.

In keeping with all Contact Young Company shows, Halo will be a devised theatrical piece created entirely from scratch by the company and with their own personal experiences at the heart of the production. Featuring songs and movement inspired by the Halo Code itself, the company will also bring to the narrative, their responses to writer Emma Dabiri's book, Don't Touch My Hair and the well-known Solange Knowles song of the same name.

The astoundingly talented Al Conteh has been brought on board as the assistant director to work alongside Thompson, bringing his own skill set as a dancer, animator, poet, videographer and musician to the table. Together, they will push the young company to fuse and share all they know and do not know about halos to create an epic, unique, timely and no doubt beautiful theatrical celebration of black hair.

As the first woman, first black person and the youngest director to be appointed as CEO and Artistic Director at Contact, it is both timely and appropriate for Thompson to be throwing herself fully into this show: one that speaks to her on so many different and personal levels.

She comments: "As Artistic Director and CEO of Contact, my priority is to ensure that all staff, participants and artists are protected and celebrated for who they are. The Halo Code is closely aligned with my mission, and I'm personally invested in protecting the rights of our community to wear culturally specific hairstyles, such as the afro, without restriction or judgement. I'm calling on all arts organisations to adopt The Halo Code, just as Contact will be doing so, and to end discrimination in schools and workplaces across the UK. There is a long journey ahead, and I'm hopeful that our Contact Young Company show Halo will be another step towards recognition, celebration and protection for all."

Contact's award winning and acclaimed Young Company is made up of young performers, actors, dancers, musicians, stand-up comedians, poets and MCs - all from around the greater Manchester area and all aged between 15 and 25. Each year, the company works with major national and International Artists to create brand-new theatre shows. These shows are premiered here at Contact and have often toured to venues and festivals across the country. Previously CYC have worked with Forced Entertainment, Hetain Patel, Stacy Makishi and Slung Low. Halo is their first show for 2022.

Halo runs at Contact from 24-26 October 2022.

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