Today Contact, Manchester’s critically acclaimed, trail-blazing theatre and arts venue, led and programmed by young people, announces its brand new corporate partnership with Siemens, to focus on mental health and well-being and support Contact’s transformative journey.
Contact closed its doors in December 2017 for a major building redevelopment. The £6.65million project will transform the building for the next generation of audiences, artists and young people. In 2019 Contact will re-open with new performance spaces; a new recording studio for young people’s music projects; an arts and health development space; new offices for artists and cultural organisations to hire and work alongside Contact staff; a new café/bar and many other exciting new features.
Joining Brewin Dolphin, Mills & Reeve, Slater Heelis and Parkinson, who are also corporate supporters of Contact are Siemens, the largest industrial manufacturing company in Europe, will be part of the Contact vision; a world where young people are empowered by creativity to become leaders in the arts and their communities.
As the partnership develops throughout its tenure, the two organisations will meet for workshops, discussions and talks; as an exemplar of corporate practice in this field, Siemens employees will be invited to share their company’s history, approach and commitment to mental health and well-being and in turn, Contact’s young people will give an insight into health and well-being issues which concern and affect them, experiences of discrimination and isolation with all learnings to be shared as part of the ongoing partnership.
In the initial stages of the partnership Contact shared information about its pioneering and exemplar development in this field at a mental health and well-being introductory session and employees of Siemens Health and Well-being group were invited to attend a performance of Man on the Moon, by Manchester 2018 Award Winner and performer Keisha Thompson.
Man on the Moon explores Keisha’s journey as she shares childhood memories, difficult phone calls and an expedition to the moon to uncover the reason for her dad’s five-month disappearance (**** The Stage). Siemens staff were invited to share their thoughts and questions with Keisha, at a post-show ‘book-club’ format discussion following the inspirational and topical performance.
Experience from the meeting, performance and discussion enabled Siemens’ Health and Well-being staff to take new ideas and practical delivery methods back into the workplace for the benefit of the wider organisation.
Sue Bagguley, Siemens Head of Strategy said:
“We are delighted to welcome Contact as a new partnership to Siemens. We recognise Contact’s vital work with young people and how integral their new building will be to support the next generation of artists. Siemens employees are in particular looking forward to learning from Contact’s revolutionary work, in particular around health and well-being.”
Matt Fenton, Contact’s Artistic Director and Managing Director, said:
“Contact has a long-standing commitment to exploring health and well-being challenges through theatre. We’ve created shows about mental health in diverse communities, young people’s experience of cancer care, and late HIV diagnosis. It’s very exciting be working in partnership with such a major and innovative employer like Siemens, focusing on mental health, an issue that is really important to both of us.”
Artist, Keisha Thompson, said:
“It is incredibly important that the young people of Contact put a focus on mental health issues and work with the right partners, so we’re excited to be working with the team at Siemens to develop this partnership. It was a pleasure to share my production, Man on the Moon, with the Siemens health and well-being staff committee and the insightful post-show discussion demonstrated the value Siemens places on the importance of mental health and artistic engagement. I’m looking forward to see what the future for the partnership holds.”
To find out more about becoming a Corporate Partner or Supporter contact Lucy Lloyd-Ruck, Contact’s Capital Campaign Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org