Top 5: Queer Contact Festival 2017

Contact Theatre's Queer Contact Festival celebrates the 60th anniversary of the publication of the Wolfenden Report with Nigerian singer Le Gateau Chocolat, drag king Lucy Jane Parkinson, 201 Dance Company and others

Article by Jess Hardiman | 31 Jan 2017

Tying in with LGBT History Month, Contact Theatre’s annual ode to LGBT creativity takes on particular significance this year, being the 60th anniversary of the publication of the Wolfenden Report – which recommended that homosexual activity should no longer be a criminal offence – as well as the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

Here are our do not miss events:

Le Gateau Chocolat: Black

Black is the intimate and confessional portrait of Nigerian singer Le Gateau Chocolat, who uses a repertoire spanning everything from Wagner and Purcell to Nina Simone and Whitney Houston to draw the audience into his hopes, his fears and his battle with depression. The critically-acclaimed show will be re-staged specially for QCF with local 11-piece orchestra, the Psappha New Music Ensemble, and both evenings will also feature post-show discussions with psychotherapist and broadcaster Rachel Morris.

Fri 10 & Sat 11 Feb, 8.30pm, Contact Theatre, £15/£20

David Hoyle: Diamond

Photo: Justin David

Commissioned by Contact, Diamond charts LGBT history from 1957 to 2017 through the personal biography of avant garde performer David Hoyle, who explores his own rise from a gay adolescent in Blackpool, through his days as Channel 4’s anti-drag queen cult phenomena Divine David, to the performer he is today. Expect an unforgiving performance that explores both sexuality and British culture in the decades that followed the Wolfenden Report, from one of the most compelling queer performers the UK has seen.

Thu 16 Feb, 8pm, Contact Theatre


Photo: Cody Choi

Following sell-out performances in New York, London and Edinburgh, 201 Dance Company’s raw and electrifying hip-hop movement comes to Manchester with Smother. The story of a relationship between two young men, choreographer Andrea Walker directs a cast of seven dancers as they weave themes of addiction, obsession and the question of whether you can stay true to yourself – even when everything suggests you change.

Tue 14 Feb, 8pm, Contact Theatre, £10/£15


[Photo: Field & McGlynn]

Winner of a Scotsman Fringe First Award, The Stage Award and Spirit of the Fringe Award 2016, drag king supremo Lucy Jane Parkinson takes to the stage in honour of history's greatest underdog, Joan of Arc – possibly the world's very first drag king – dragging up as the men she defies to tell a story of courage, conviction and hope through lyrical new writing and bitingly sharp, chaotic cabaret.

Tue 14, Wed 15 & Thu 16 Feb, 7pm, Contact Theatre, £7/£13

Mother's Ruin

It wouldn't be Queer Contact without another dose of fun from Manchester's anarchic queer performance platform Mother's Ruin, this time with avant garde punk cabaret band SlapPer, comedy housewife Mrs Barbara Nice, Literary Death Match Manchester champ Fat Roland and host Timberlina. And of course an evening at our favourite cult cabaret bash goes hand in hand with A Queer Revue! at Band on the Wall (11pm, £6), the ultimate LGBT party featuring Drunk at Vogue DJs, hostess Grace Oni Smith, drag queen singing comp Dragapella, tarot reading and more.

Fri 17 Feb, 8.30pm, Contact Theatre, £8/£12


The Great Debate - LGBT Mayoral Hustings

This free event, hosted by Gaydio’s Emma Goswell, marks your chance to meet and question the candidates hoping to be elected as the new metro mayor in May this year. As part of one of the biggest changes to local government in the region for decades, the Government will allow the new mayor to lead local authority leaders in taking on an increased number of functions – i.e. having a greater say in areas including transport, planning, housing and regeneration.

Sat 25 Feb, 6pm, People’s History Museum, free

Queer Contact Festival 2017 takes place at Contact Theatre and various other venues 10-18 Feb.
View the full programme here.