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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The Suppliant Women
Actors Touring Company presents the classic play by Aeschylus in a new version by David Greig, in which 50 women leave everything behind to board a boat in North Africa and flee across the Mediterranean. Directed by Ramin Gray.Friday March 10 2017 - Saturday April 1 2017
Things to do
Carol Ann Duffy & Friends
Carol Ann Duffy has been Britain's Poet Laureate since May 2009. Her much-loved poems blend humour and warmth with sharp social commentary. At this event she reads her poems alongside house poets, John Fennelly and Mark Pajak, and special guest, Adam...Literary events Monday March 20 2017
We're Here Because We're Here
Images that document an event that took place on 1st July 2016, where thousands of volunteers participated in a UK-wide contemporary memorial to mark the centenary of the Battle Of The Somme. A collaboration between Turner Prize-winner Jeremy Deller and...Photography Thursday March 23 2017 - Wednesday April 19 2017