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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Face Value: Portraits From Manchester's LGBT Foundation
Black and white photographic portraits of people connected with the foundation, together with their own comments about their lives.Photography Until Sunday October 2 2016Read more
A Streetcar Named Desire
Sarah Frankcom directs Tennessee Williams's award-winning drama, starring Maxine Peake as Blanche DuBois, a woman living on stories of a glamorous past but frightened of what the future might hold.Drama Until Saturday October 15 2016Read more
Warehouse worker Tamsin fights for the rights and benefits of her obsessive-compulsive brother Dean in Katherine Soper's sensitive familial drama, directed by Matthew Xia. Staged by Royal Court Theatre and Royal Exchange Theatre.Drama Until Saturday October 15 2016Read more
Things to do
Flying Saucers Drama Club
Explore the theatre and lean about storytelling with Liz Stevenson.Classes and workshops Sunday October 2 2016 - Sunday December 11 2016Read more
A varied programme of plays and discussion designed to provoke debate and question inequality in healthcare across the world.Wednesday October 19 2016 - Saturday October 22 2016Read more
Q&Q & Untitled + Discussion
Liwaa Yazji explores what its like to be a refugee in Syria and experiences of trafficking, prostitution and being estranged from the family. In Kenya Mumbi Kaigwa looks at the devastating consequences of a hole in the birth canal and why so many women...Contemporary theatre Thursday October 20 2016Read more
A Womb With A Very Strong View & So Far As A Centurys Reach & The Birth Machine + Discussion
Stacey Gregg explores the choice about conception and pregnancy and is it always a good thing as two women are dealing with that choice. Kirsten Greenidge explores maternal mortality rate in the developed world. Marcia Zanelatto uses real accounts, letters,...Contemporary theatre Friday October 21 2016Read more
Breaking The Code
Alan Turing has all the resources he needs to crack the Nazi's Enigma code but will his personal life be exposed in this drams directed by Rob Hastie.Drama Friday October 28 2016 - Saturday November 19 2016Read more