The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester has announced the appointment of Roy Alexander Weise and Bryony Shanahan as its new joint artistic directors. Both will join executive director Stephen Freeman to complete the leadership team for the award-winning theatre. Together they will assume the role of chief executive.
Roy Alexander Weise has won the prestigious James Menzies-Kitchin Award and has directed hits for the National Theatre, the Young Vic and in the West End. He is currently associate srtist at the Donmar Warehouse. Bryony Shanahan moves into the artistic directorship from her current role as the Exchange’s associate artistic director which has seen her direct work across all of their stages. She also has a busy freelance career, including winning the 2016 Genesis Future Directors Award at The Young Vic and directing work nationally and internationally. They take over the leadership of the Royal Exchange Theatre from Sarah Frankcom from 1 November 2019.
Executive director Steve Freeman said:
Both Bryony and Roy are extraordinary talents who together presented an original and exciting vision for the future of our theatre. They are innovative creative thinkers and inspiring theatre makers with a drive to deliver theatre with the broadest possible reach. As joint artistic directors they bring a fresh and invigorating approach to shaping the future of regional theatre. Together with the wider team at the Royal Exchange they will reimagine what it means for a producing building to place artists and audiences firmly at the heart of everything we do.”
Roy Alexander Weise and Bryony Shanahan said of their joint appointment: “We are excited, in so many ways – to be working with each other and with Steve, to become part of the Exchange’s evolution, and to make work with and for the people of Manchester. The Exchange is an extraordinary theatre, and under Sarah Frankcom’s leadership it’s been transformed. She has reimagined the relationship that artists and audiences have with this theatre, championed their voices and celebrated the democracy that the Exchange’s unique space allows.
“We are really looking forward to building on that dynamic, using it to shape the new work we make and to inform our relationships with communities across Greater Manchester going forwards.”
Bryony Shanahan is an award-winning director and theatre maker and her work for the Exchange includes Queens of the Coal Age, a brand-new version of Wuthering Heights for 2020 and Nothing, winner of a Manchester Theatre Award. As a freelance director, hit productions have included trade (Young Vic), Chicken Soup (Sheffield Crucible), Bitch Boxer (UK/international) and Operation Crucible (Sheffield Crucible & 59e59 NYC). She has worked at venues such as the National Theatre, New Vic, Bristol Old Vic, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Soho Theatre and in the West End. Her latest show Enough will premiere at the Traverse Theatre in August.
Roy Alexander Weise joins the Royal Exchange following his hugely successful productions Nine Night (National Theatre & West End), The Mountaintop (Young Vic & UK tour) and Br’er Cotton (Theatre 503). As a freelance director he has worked at venues including the Royal Court, the Bush, Fuel Theatre, Nuffield Southampton, Bristol Tobacco Factory, Birmingham REP and the Arcola. Alongside the Donmar he is also associate artist at Harts Theatre company and Young & Talented School of Stage & Screen. His forthcoming productions include Master Harold And The Boys at the National Theatre, Sucker Punch at Theatre Royal Stratford East and Sophocles’ Antigone: The Burial At Thebes at the Lyric Hammersmith.