Royal Exchange Theatre

Theatre , Public and national theatres Central Manchester
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(1 user review)
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Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, Dome

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
Address: St Ann's Square
M2 7DH
Transport: Rail: Manchester Victoria/Piccadilly
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  • Until Saturday January 28 2017
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  • Classes and workshops Sunday December 11 2016
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  • Children's Monday December 19 2016 - Saturday December 31 2016
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  • Comedy Friday January 6 2017 - Saturday January 7 2017
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  • Drama Thursday January 12 2017 - Saturday January 14 2017
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  • Modern Saturday January 21 2017
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  • Comedy Saturday July 1 2017 - Saturday July 15 2017
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Average User Rating

5 / 5

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Kishma S

What a cool venue! Located right in the heart of Manchester amongst the shops this is an impressive building from the outside.

The beautiful old building that is the home of this quirky venue has its history on its walls so that you can understand how it came to be.

This cylindrical theatre is intimate and immersion. The furthest row back on the ground level cannot be more than 6 meters from the stage enabling you to see each facial expression with brilliant clarity.

I would advise to stock up on your concessions before you arrive though, as £3.90 for a bottle of water may be typical of a theatre but still painful none-the-less.