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|
|Do you own this business?|
Pick a dateto
Things to do
Birth - Born In Exile
Professor Mukesh Kapila CBE, Professor of Global Health and Humanitarian Affairs, award-winning Syrian playwright Liwaa Yazji and others discuss what it is like to be born stateless and the effect it has on the lives of those involved.Literary events Monday July 25 2016Read more
The Mighty Walzer
Man Booker Prize-winner Howard Jacobson's hilarious homage to the Manchester of his youth is brought to the stage in an adaptation by Simon Bent and directed by Jonathan Humphreys.Comedy Until Saturday July 30 2016Read more
Mark Storor's play loosely based on a fairy tale, The Twelve Swans from the Brothers Grimm about a boy warned not to speak.Contemporary theatre Thursday August 4 2016 - Sunday August 7 2016Read more
A Streetcar Named Desire
Associate Artist Maxine Peake takes on the iconic role of Blanche DuBois, a woman living on stories of a glamorous past but frightened of what the future might hold. Reunited with Exchange Artistic Director Sarah Frankcom, following their critically acclaimed...Drama Thursday September 8 2016 - Saturday October 15 2016Read more
Our Carnal Hearts
A celebration of envy written by Rachel Mars with original music composed and arranged by Louise Mothersole.Contemporary theatre Friday September 16 2016 - Saturday September 17 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 Saturday September 24 2016 - Saturday October 15 2016Read more