Welcome to the first ‘Overheard at Contact’. Your opportunity to 'listen in' as we chat with staff and artists, go behind the scenes and share all the Contact gossip with you.
This time we've been searching the corridors of Contact for our fabulous new Health and Science Producer. We soon hear the excited chatter that surrounds a new member of staff. Lo and behold the buzz indeed centres around Chloe and we decide to throw her a few questions, so you can get to know her better.
So Chloe… You are new to Manchester, have you managed to do much exploring yet? Have you found anything that has surprised you?
I’m just starting to get into full-on exploring mode. One thing I already love about Manchester is how you can turn a corner and find a surprising-looking building or step into an area that feels totally different from where you were five minutes ago. This week I was told about the museums that call themselves the Hidden 8 (including the Pankhurst Centre) so I want to have a look at those, and a few days ago my partner managed to follow someone off the street into Portico library…
Do you have any interesting hobbies that you get up to in your spare time?
I do get out and see a lot of theatre, as well visiting galleries and museums. My most ‘interesting’ hobby though is probably playing tabletop role playing games (yep, like Dungeons and Dragons). Luckily Manchester has a really good scene for that so I’m happy.
What’s the best project you have ever been involved in? (Before Contact… Obviously!)
The first place I worked was the theatre company Complicité – while I was there, I was involved in the development of their show The Encounter. It uses binaural sound– which allows the audience to listen in 3D – to tell the story of Loren McIntyre, a National Geographic photographer who explored the Amazon Rainforest. As part of the production we worked with Neuroscientists to explore where our sense of self comes from, and I also travelled to the Amazon for research with the company, so that was a pretty extraordinary experience.
Some people might be surprised that a theatre has a Health and Science Producer, how would you describe your role to someone who can’t get their head around it?
The kind of theatre I enjoy and value most looks outwards into the world at the issues that affect our lives. For me this definitely includes everything from the bodies we live in to the environment and planet around us. On the other side, science and medicine are creative, risk-taking, imaginative and people-focused fields – just like theatre. I think these two worlds are great at talking to each other: the scientists I’ve worked with champion the value of the arts for health and human well being, whilst theatre makers across the UK are finding new, exciting and accessible ways to share science’s stories.
I first heard about Contact when I started focusing on equality and diversity in the arts – the audiences it was reaching and the practical, head-on ways it was trying to reach them were different to anywhere else I’d seen. Until now I’ve always worked in London but looked to Contact as an example of programming that actually puts young people first and as an organisation that comes up with new and surprising ideas (like creating a Health and Science Producer post for example…).
So that’s your brief introduction to Chloe, our new Health and Science Producer. We can’t wait to join her in some board game nights, trips to hidden museums and hear more about her travels in the Amazon. Keep an eye out for the exciting science and health projects Chloe will be producing in the future here at Contact!