Coletiva Ocupação Manchester Residency
coletivA had a weeklong residency between 5th-12th May in Manchester after spending the week with Transform Festival in Leeds. The group on their arrival was greeted by Pelin Basaran and accompanied by Olivia Lee (Agency project coordinator at Contact, 18 years old) and a Portuguese-speaking person to support their communication.
During the residency, the group met Manchester-based activists, Partisan and Extinction Rebellion; visited the People’s History Museum, Manchester Art Gallery, alternative arts venue Islington Mill; watched a performance at HOME; led two workshops for University of Manchester and Contact Young Company; participated in a Vogue workshop with Darren Pritchard, and performed twice at the Sports Hall in Millennium Powerhouse, Moss Side. Olivia Lee introduced the company to her networks, Young Manchester and KYSO (Keem Youth Shout Out) which support young people in Manchester.
The group performed ‘When it Breaks it Burns’ on two evenings at Powerhouse, Moss Side, where Contact’s offices have been temporarily located during our capital redevelopment project. The audience was ethnically diverse (40% BAME) and mostly under 35 years old.
In addition to individual bookers, school and youth organizations engaged with the performances such as University of Manchester Drama and Latin American Studies, Radical Reads Project school groups, Collective Encounters, KYSO The Agency, Odd Arts and Contact Young Company.
Other activities included: Activist Skill-Share, Vogue Workshop for coletivA led by Darren Pritchard, Creative activism workshop for Contact’s Young Company, Creative activism workshop for University of Manchester, Go & See Performance: One by Bertrand Lesca & Nasi Voutsas at HOME.
Having coletivA in Manchester was very special for our young people, audience and staff. It was mind-blowing experience for all the people involved. We’re very glad that Transform brought this idea of co-hosting the company in the UK to us, and that the British Council and UoM supported the project.
The director of the company, Martha went to Edinburgh to meet Edinburgh International Festival for future possibilities. Battersea Arts Centre also saw the performance and have expressed interest in bringing the company back to the UK. We would be very happy to work with the company again in the future, and we will keep exploring young companies from South America for our programming thread on activism.
“The Brazil group brought the most live energy” member of KYSO
“Thank you so much for an eye opening experience” member of KYSO
“Thank you so much Liv for telling me about this event it was different to other KYSO events I’ve been to through kyso and it really opened my eyes and made me see the everyday things we do take for granted people are fighting for.” Member of KYSO
“They’re a great bunch of young people, great energy like you say, and yes they really connected with coletivA… The Brazilians came to visit us in Liverpool on Saturday and both groups really bonded, there were tears and everything when they had to go back to Manchester!” Ben Mellor and his group from Collective Encounters, many of whom were young refugees or asylum-seekers.
“What happened today at the workshop was very special” One of the university student after the workshop.
“I want to thank you for your help with everything. It was a great opportunity for our students and I believe some of them are meeting the cast for a drink tomorrow, so it has clearly been a happy collaboration! Several of them mentioned the show today in their oral exams and Michael in particular really enjoyed the interpreting. I for one thought the show was excellent.” UoM Head of Latin American Studies Department
“I thought that was a great event last night. It was good to see so many local young people attending and I heard lots of enthusiastic comments. Congratulations to everyone involved – and to Contact for bringing the coletiva to Moss Side and the Powerhouse. It was a very memorable occasion…. I never thought I’d hear a Portuguese performance with surtitles in the Powerhouse Gym so that was very satisfying. It was good to see the way in which links were clearly being made across the various cultures.” Alistair Cox, Chair of Board, Powerhouse
“I really liked that it was in a sports hall. It felt like we were part of the occupation.” Audience member
“I wanted to riot with them!” Audience member
“It’s really great that Contact programmed this. I can’t imagine anyone else that it would fit with.” Audience member
“Really, really pleased to see some great theatre – it’s been a long time. It reminded me what I like about theatre.” Audience member
Contact Young Company
British Council, The University of Manchester, ASDA
Creative Tourist https://www.creativetourist.com/event/when-it-breaks-it-burns/
British Theatre Guide https://www.britishtheatreguide.info/news/building-the-barricades-in-bra-10636