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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New York City dancer Charity Hope Valentine must choose between her fun-loving past and the simple love of a shy tax accountant in the era-defining musical with a book by Neil Simon, music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by Dorothy Fields. The songbook includes...Until Saturday January 28 2017Read more
Things to do
Flying Saucers Drama Club
Explore the theatre and lean about storytelling with Liz Stevenson.Classes and workshops Sunday December 11 2016Read more
The Man Who Planted Trees: Puppet State Theatre Company
A puppet show which shows what difference a man can make when he plants a forest in a story by Jean Giono.Children's Monday December 19 2016 - Saturday December 31 2016Read more
Daniel Bye presents a blend of comedy, storytelling and performance lecture focusing on the topic of how things spread.Comedy Friday January 6 2017 - Saturday January 7 2017Read more
The new play by award-winning playwright Ali Taylor offers a timely reflection on the social impact of spiralling rents and forced relocation. It takes inspiration from Ken Loach's Cathy Come Home.Drama Thursday January 12 2017 - Saturday January 14 2017Read more
Watch two women dance their way through a labyrinth of histories, fantasies and assumptions, through the politics of female identity in modern Britain.Modern Saturday January 21 2017Read more
A show which explores identity, nationality, masculinity - and what it means to belong in a world weighed down by the expectations of others.Comedy Saturday July 1 2017 - Saturday July 15 2017Read more