Royal Exchange Theatre

Theatre, Public and national theatres Central Manchester
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(1user review)
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Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
1/2
Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, Dome
2/2

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. 

By: Rob Martin

Posted:

Venue name: Royal Exchange Theatre
Contact:
Address: St Ann's Square
Manchester
M2 7DH
Transport: Rail: Manchester Victoria/Piccadilly
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  • Prints and editions Until Saturday February 25 2017
  • Drama Until Saturday February 25 2017
  • Drama Friday March 10 2017 - Saturday March 11 2017
  • Friday March 10 2017 - Saturday April 1 2017
  • Contemporary theatre Thursday March 16 2017 - Saturday March 18 2017
  • Literary events Monday March 20 2017
  • Drama Wednesday March 22 2017
  • Photography Thursday March 23 2017 - Wednesday April 19 2017
  • Wednesday March 29 2017 - Saturday April 1 2017
  • Drama Thursday April 6 2017 - Saturday April 8 2017
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Kishma S
Tastemaker

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.