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The festive season is looming ever closer, and Contact is dusting down its glitter ball and ironing its spandex all in preparation for its journey into ‘The Forest of Forgotten Discos!’

UPDATE – Forest of Forgotten Discos! is back in virtual dance-party format for 2020 with two performances on Saturday 5 December. Tickets are £10 per family (£7.50 conc/NHS/Keyworkers). Head here to book now.

Paislie Reid – Red

Paislie started her career as a child actress in two seasons of The New Worst Witch (CITV).

Theatre credits include: The Seven Acts Of Mercy (Royal Shakespeare Company). Jumping puddles (Frantic Assembly/Open Clasp). The Strangers Case, Ray + Julie, Alice In Wonderland, The Grid, (All for Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse) Dreaming Under A Different Moon (The Edge), Pages from my songbook (Royal Exchange), HEADZ, The Elasticated sound system, Animals (all for 20 Stories High), Strictly Motown (Royal Court/Positive Impact), Lost Soul, One Day Maggie May, (all for Liverpool Royal Court), Adrift (Action transport theatre), Its Play Time (The Lantern Theatre), How The Cabinet Maker Crossed The Road (Bolton Octagon).

Favourite Teddy: “A huge one I got as a gift called Elijah.”

Favourite Disco Song: Voulez Vous by ABBA.

Sara Cocker – Bear Hugs

“I’m so excited to be joining the cast of The Forest Of Forgotten Discos! I’ve long been a fan of Jackie Hagan, discos and Christmas, so I can’t wait to be part of what happens when those things smash together.”

A former member of Contact Young Company, Sara is one third of Eggs Collective: a performance racket operating out of Manchester. Their work includes live shows that sit somewhere in the cracks between theatre and cabaret; digital work made for the internet and the TV (Get A Round BBC2); and brash public events like parades, pub quizzes and parties.

This year, they have been ‘Party Political Artists in Residence’ at Heart of Glass in St Helens; guest directors at Arden School of Theatre and nominated for ‘Best Comedy Programme’ at the Royal Television Society NW Awards. They are currently making a new online piece of work, ’Smile Love It Might Never Happen’.

Favourite Teddy: Cam (short for Camelot).

“My dad bought him for me in the gift shop of the theme park of the same name in Chorley when I was about 8. Cam came wearing a yellow t-shirt, but I burnt that on the fire when I was ‘warming’ it for him one winter. He’s been on lots of family holidays over the years and lots of overnight stays at my grandma’s house. One morning I woke up and she’d stitched a wonky smile onto his snout while I slept. It came as a bit of a shock to us both at the time, but now he’s grown into it, I wouldn’t change him for the world.”

Favourite Disco Song: Earth, Wind and Fire, September.

Ali Briggs – Bear Minimum

Ali Briggs was born and bred in Bradford, West Yorkshire. Ali started her acting days with Red Ladder Theatre Company in Leeds and continues to work with Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, Liverpool Playhouse,Graeae and Vital Xposure. Ali also works in TV and film and is probably best known for her role in Coronation St as Freda (Emily Bishop’s deaf niece.)

Ali has recently worked with Bradford’s Common Wealth Theatre as a performer for their show Radical Acts.

When Ali first moved to Manchester she coordinated Contact Young Company and so is thrilled to be back, in what is her first Christmas show, bringing glitter, magic, sparkle and dance to the 2018 Contact festive season.

Favourite Teddy: Viv.

Favourite Disco Song: Everybody Dance, Chic

Marcquelle Ward – Bear Grills

Marcquelle began his actor training at MSA (Manchester School of Acting) and Laine Management. He is best known for his role as BB, in ITV1’s Britannia High – Arlene Phillips (choreographer and exec producer) and Gary Barlow (music score) were among the production team with the series directed by Brian Grant (Sinbad, New Tricks, Waterloo Road).

Marcquelle went on to feature in: ITV’s Coronation Street as Mitch, BBC’s Tracy Beaker as Jay, Bafta award-winning Tati’s Hotel, ITV’s Pat and Cabbage and new Russell T Davis drama Banana on E4. On stage Marcquelle has been in Daddy Cool (Razta), Saturday Night Fever (Chester), Original musical The Waterbabies (Rafferty) and also enjoys success in straight theatre with roles in Manchester Lines (Library Theatre, Manchester) and The Spalding Suite (National Tour).

Marcquelle made his West End debut playing the role of Rum Tum Tugger in CATS at the London Palladium in 2015 for which he was nominated for West End Frame’s Best West End Debut award. He went on to reprise the iconic role in the UK and European tour and before joining the cast of One Love: The Bob Marley Musical for the UK Premiere at Birmingham Rep Theatre.

Favourite Teddy Bear: Teddy Rukspin or The Gummy Bears.

Favourite Disco Song: More Than A Woman, Bee Gees

Sophie Coward – Alexa

Sophie is excited to visit a new forest, rediscover discos and get an AI upgrade with Contact! She’s looking forward to creating and laughing with this incredibly talented team and put on a show that everyone can enjoy.

Sophie Coward trained at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA). She most recently performed with Feelgood Theatre in Romeo and Juliet in Heaton Park, Manchester. She has toured with Mac’s Arcadian in their BSL integrated Great Odds and performed with Paperfinch Theatre in an immersive twist on The Nutcracker at Theatr Clwyd. TV credits include Coronation Street and Doctors.

Favourite Teddy: Lunar

“My favourite teddy is my wolf Luna. She’s pretty tame, though grumpy first thing on a Monday morning and definitely an indoor wolf.”

Favourite Disco Song: Never Too Much by Luther Vandross.

Nickie Miles-Wildin – Director

Nickie is extremely excited to be directing The Forest Of Forgotten Discos! for Contact at Hope Mill this Christmas. Nickie has followed the work of Contact for many years and feels honoured to be working with them.

In 2014 Nickie co-founded TwoCan, Gloucestershire’s first professional disabled-led theatre company. She was previously an actor and best known for the role as Miranda in the Paralympics Opening Ceremony 2012. Nickie is currently Resident Assistant Director at Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre as part of the Regional Theatre Young Directors Scheme. Nickie is an Associate Artist for Kazzum.

Directing credits include: The Tempest (Manchester Royal Exchange Young Company) Bingo Lingo (co-director/Wild N Beets), Disability Sex Archives, Two Can Toucan (TwoCan Theatre), Nana’s Jumble (Kazzum). Associate Director on Tommy (Ramps On The Moon National Tour), MixTape (Manchester Royal Exchange Young Company). Staff Director on Mosquitoes (Dorfman, National Theatre).

Favourite Teddy: Pinky – made by her mum in 1984. Pinky has one leg longer and wider than the other.

Favourite Disco Song: Tubthumping – Chumbawumba

Jackie Hagan – Writer

Jackie Hagan is a cosmic scally who downs champagne from her glittery false leg and likes people who smell of bedsits. She’s also a working class queer amputee, a multi-award winning playwright and comedian and a Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellow.

“I’m mega excited to be working on such a fun show with a team who are all working to make children’s theatre accessible in such a creative way.”

Favourite Teddy: A beanie baby unicorn called Pixi: “My mum gave me her when I was sick in hospital one Christmas.”

Favourite Disco Song: Teddy bear by Elvis



Tue 11 Dec – Sun 23 Dec (not Mon)
Tickets are on sale now priced £13/£7.