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OnOff stage

How's this for the best deal of 1997 so far? Manchester's Contact Theatre is luring young people into the city's theatres by offering them a year's worth of free tickets to the top shows in town. Supported by the major theatres in the Greater Manchester area, including the Royal Exchange, the Green Room and the Bolton Octagon, Contact is inviting all young people aged 16 to 25 to take advantage of this amazing scheme.

The first show included in the offer is Pinter's The Birthday Party, showing at the Dancehouse Theatre until February 22. Further details from Malcolm Duffin: 0161 274 3434.

It couldn't be more timely. David Tse has written and directed a play about a young Hong Kong Chinese boy's arrival at an English boarding school, turning his value systems upside down. Presented by Yellow Earth Theatre, New Territories brings together the theatrical conventions, language and folklore of the two seemingly opposing cultures. You can see it at the Mercury Studio in Colchester, Essex, until tomorrow. Bookings: 01026 573948.

Last December, lucky A-level drama students at Crown Woods School in south London worked with Theatre de Complicite during a week-long residency, concentrating on Brecht's The Caucasian Chalk Circle. Last week, the partnership was resumed when head of drama Will Earl directed his students in a production of Complicite's The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol. It is the first time that the company has allowed anyone else to use their material. To further underline their goodwill, Complicite's artistic director Simon McBurney attended the performance and opened the school's new Lodge Performing Arts Centre. Sounds like a marriage made in heaven, if not Eltham.

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