Royal Exchange - © Nathan Cox/Time Out
The Exchange, once the world's biggest commercial trading floor, has its history writ large on its interior - literally, as cotton prices are still posted high on the walls. The Victorian building was converted into a theatre in 1976, and theatrical business was, for a while, brisk - until the 1996 IRA bomb forced its closure.
Reopening in 1998 with a dedicated studio space for new work, the theatre chose Stanley Houghton's play Hindle Wakes for its re-launch - the same work that had been running when the explosion took place. A symbol of the theatre's indefatigability, it was the perfect choice for a venue that, today, continues to stage some of the city's best theatre.