An intimate theatre whose building is as fascinating as the consistently impressive programmes
With five decades of top quality plays to its name, the Royal Exchange Theatre remains consistently popular. But it's not all about what happens on stage - the building itself is worth the visit alone.
Drop an enclosed, seven sided glass and steel pod into the middle of a grand Victorian cotton exchange in the city centre – replete with high, stained glass domed ceilings, vast sturdy pillars and expansive floorspace – and you've got the Royal Exchange. It's a stunning spot.
And whilst a trip to the old building itself is a pleasure, it's what takes place inside the seven hundred seater space that makes visiting such an unmissable experience. Looking up at images of the famous performers who have appeared there throughout the years – John Thaw, Vanessa Redgrave, Tom Courtney – offers a glimpse at the standard.
Nearly everything is in the round. The audience are mainly at stage level but there are two viewing galleries above, so the stage is surrounded. It's an intimate space, with the audience close to the action.
As a production house, the Royal Exchange presents a good mix of crowd pleasers and more left-field productions (the addition of a studio space in recent years allows a few more risks, which is welcome). There are about four main shows per season, running in tandem with one-off special events and poetry readings. It's little surprise, then, to see the likes of Shakespeare and Tennessee Williams alongside Neil LaBute.
Current Artistic Director, Sarah Frankcom, is bringing some interesting work to the Exchange, branching out into musicals with 'Sweeney Todd' and casting Maxine Peake as Hamlet. Its success, therefore, looks set to continue.
|Venue name:||Royal Exchange Theatre||Contact:|
St Ann's Square
|Transport:||Rail: Manchester Victoria/Piccadilly|
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A contemporary art exhibition whose subject is Manchester and Manchester people.Contemporary art Until Sunday June 19 2016Read more
Get Yourself Together
Anna Ryder directs a solo performance by Royal Exchange Theatre Supported Artist Josh Coates in which he exploring the effect mental health can have on our memory of events.Until Saturday May 7 2016Read more
Talawa Theatre presents Shakespeare's brutal portrait of a former monarch's unwinding sanity with Don Warrington in the title role. Directed by Michael Buffong.Shakespeare Until Saturday May 7 2016Read more
The Night Watch
Olivier-nominated playwright Hattie Naylor adapts Sarah Waters' story of illicit love and everyday heroism set in late 1940s London. Directed by Rebecca Gatward.Thursday May 19 2016 - Saturday June 18 2016Read more
Things to do
Special FX: Bad Language
Live literature from a selection of top Manchester writers, hosted by Joe Daly and Fat Roland.Literary events Friday May 27 2016Read more
The Great Big Noise (Under 11s)
Children stage a takeover of the theatre at half-term, with games, crafts, performances and workshops.Kids' activities Monday May 30 2016 - Sunday June 5 2016Read more
Rachel O'Riordan directs Katherine Chandler's poetic play about two girls on the cusp of adulthood, which won a Judges Award in the 2013 Bruntwood Prize For Playwriting. This is a Royal Exchange Theatre and Sherman Cymru co-production.Drama Wednesday June 8 2016 - Saturday June 25 2016Read more