Venues for FLARE15

Contact Theatre

Contact is a major multi-disciplinary arts venue in Manchester. Originally a traditional theatre, Contact was rebranded in 1999 as a space specialising in producing work and providing opportunities for young people.

Contact's vision is a world where young people are empowered by creativity to become leaders in both the arts and their communities. Contact works locally, nationally, and internationally to provide life changing opportunities for the next generation of creative leaders, artists, and audiences. Their aim is to redefine theatre for the 21st Century, presenting and producing a diverse artistic programme in our building, surprising places, and virtual spaces.

Royal Exchange Theatre

The Royal Exchange Theatre is located in The Royal Exchange building, a grade II listed building located in the city centre of Manchester. The building was heavily damaged in the Manchester Blitz and in the 1996 Manchester bombing, and is the last of several buildings on the site historically used for commodities exchange, primarily but not exclusively of cotton and textiles.

The theatre has welcomed some of the finest actors in the UK to its stage, from Albert Finney and Vanessa Redgrave to Helen Mirren and Robert Lindsay. Both Kate Winslet and Hugh Grant appeared at the Royal Exchange Theatre long before they made it to the silver screen. In 2008, Sarah Frankcom was appointed Artistic Director. In 2014 she was joined on the creative team by Associate Artists Maxine Peake, Benji Reid and Chris Thorpe and Associate Artistic Director Matthew Xia.


Z-arts (previously Zion Arts Centre) was formed in 2000 as a ‘creative space for young people’ with a focus on providing participatory activity. Inspired by the visit of a group of young people to the Palace of Youth Creativity in St Petersburg, their mission is to inspire and enable young people from Manchester and beyond to use creativity to maximise their potential.

The Z-arts building houses a 230 seat theatre, gallery, dance studio, music studio, café, rehearsal and workshop rooms. Originally built in 1911 as a Congregational Church and Institute, Z-arts occupies one of the oldest buildings in Hulme and has been a refuge in the Blitz, rehearsal space for Pavarotti, exhibition space for Damien Hirst and more. In 2012 Zion Arts Centre officially rebranded as Z-arts and redefined it’s mission to help inspire and provide creative opportunities for children and families.

Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama

The Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama is a performance space situated at the heart of the University of Manchester’s campus. The centre offers students a space in which to study and perform, as well as hosting many professional musicians, performers and authors. Presenting contemporary and classic theatre, music and comedy events, it holds a reading series that has in the past featured such as Martin Amis, Will Self and Clive James.

Situated at the heart of the oldest part of the university, the centre incorporates the 350-seat Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall, the 150-seat John Thaw Studio Theatre and an electroacoustic music studio. The foyer’s use of light, open space and bold areas of colour blend with Alice Kettle's dynamic textile artwork, Red and Blue Movement in Three.