The Royal Exchange Theatre is at the centre of Manchester, a dynamic global city which demands theatre that is ambitious, diverse and reflective of now. This Autumn/Winter Artistic Director Sarah Frankcom curates a striking season in which she brings together distinctive theatre makers from across the UK to make work that celebrates the similarity found in our differences and questions who we are today.
Daring young directors, original new writers and leading theatre-makers create their work in the Exchange’s unique space: from Pulitzer Prize winners to punk revolutions and powerful political protests, they invite audiences and artists to meet as equals, to explore the past, wrestle with the big questions of today, imagine a better future and get lost in the excitement of a great night out. Frankcom commented:
“As an Artistic Director to be able to share and support the work of incredible theatre makers here in Manchester is exhilarating. What excites me about what lies ahead is that each play we are making presents a different window onto the world we live in, dealing directly with questions of existence, humanity, care and responsibility without hiding away from the complicated answers. From continuing conversations with our audiences we know that they want to be inspired and challenged, as well as entertained. This season some of the work is brand-new and some is redefined for the here and now – all of it is made for the unique space that is our theatre.”
To open this autumn/winter season Sarah Frankcom puts Manchester centre stage as she redefines Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize winning story of ordinary people for our city today. OUR TOWN is an epic celebration of community and humanity and runs from 14 September – 14 October 2017 in the Theatre.
In his Bruntwood Prize winning new play PARLIAMENT SQUARE, James Fritz imagines the fall-out from a powerful act of protest. He insightfully questions the draw of extreme demonstration, asking where the line falls between complete commitment and dangerous obsession. Co-produced with The Bush Theatre and directed by Manchester-based Jude Christian, this World Premiere runs in the Theatre from 18 – 28 October 2017.
Chris Goode, one of the UK’s most original theatre makers, makes his Exchange debut as a new Associate Artist with his stage adaptation of Derek Jarman’s iconic film JUBILEE, which erupts onto the Royal Exchange stage in celebration of the movie’s 40th anniversary. This riot of music, fashion and sex sees original cast member punk-warrior Toyah Willcox take on the role of Queen Elizabeth I in this feisty and thrilling World Premiere from 2 -18 November 2017.
This Christmas we continue our reinvention of classic smash-hit musicals with GUYS AND DOLLS, a co-production with Talawa Theatre Company. Directed by Talawa Artistic Director Michael Buffong and with choreography from Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy, the show is relocated to up-town New York and redefined with all the creative excitement of the ‘Harlem Renaissance’. The show runs from 2 December 2017 – 27 January 2018.
Kendall Feaver’s THE ALMIGHTY SOMETIMES is the second Bruntwood Prize World Premiere this season. Directed by Katy Rudd, it is a beautifully perceptive new play that paints an extraordinary portrait of Anna, a young woman battling against a childhood diagnosis of severe mental illness. The production runs from 9 – 24 February 2018.
The Royal Exchange Theatre Studio will become a hot-bed of research as the theatre develops original new work with supported artists, its resident Young Company & Elders Company, and cultural partners from across Manchester.
The award-winning Royal Exchange Theatre Young Company present the World Premiere of WE WERE TOLD THERE WAS DANCING. Created by The Company and directed by Matt Hassall it marks the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act that began the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1957 in England and Wales. Following the sell-out successes of THE FACTORY and NOTHING the Young Company create a piece that celebrates the radical individuals that changed our future. The show plays Underground at the Exchange from 16 – 20 August 2017.
COSMIC SCALLIES is director Amit Sharma’s first show for the Exchange as Associate Artistic Director. Developed in partnership with Graeae Theatre Company, this sharply funny debut play, by poet and Write to Play graduate Jackie Hagan, sees friendship blossom in the cracks of northern new-town Skelmersdale. Following its World Premiere in Edinburgh this summer COSMIC SCALLIES returns to the Exchange Studio from 27 September – 14 October 2017.
This season Eclipse Theatre Company makes its Royal Exchange debut with the co-production BLACK MEN WALKING, a World Premiere written by Exchange supported artist Testament. When three men from a Black Men’s Walking Group head out for their monthly hike their journey takes them further than they could ever have imagined. Award-winning director Dawn Walton deftly uncovers the hidden history of Britain in this brand-new show. Developed as part of Eclipse’s Revolution Mix programme the production runs in the Studio from 18 January – 3 February 2018.
The Elders Company return with a radical new production, MOMENTS THAT CHANGED OUR WORLD, a World Premiere created by Andrew Barry with the Company. A group of people aged 60-85 stand together and navigate a constantly changing world, from big political events to personal intimate moments, and ask – what can history teach us about who we are and where we are going? The production returns to the Exchange Studio from 22 – 25 February 2018.
Associate and Supported Artists
The Royal Exchange is growing its pool of exceptional Associate Artists. Current associates Maxine Peake, Benji Reid and Chris Thorpe will be joined by: poet & playwright Amanda Dalton; writer, director and performer Chris Goode; acclaimed choreographer Imogen Knight; physical theatre company RashDash; and actor Don Warrington, each adding their distinctive creative voices to the development of the theatre.
After a sell-out show this spring Knaïve Theatre return as Open Exchange Supported Artists with their celebrated international smash-hit BIN LADEN: THE ONE MAN SHOW from 5 – 7 September 2017.
To mark their new Associate Artist relationship with the Royal Exchange, RashDash present a one-off performance of their Fringe-First winning, genre-defying hit show TWO MAN SHOW about gender, language and humankind in the Studio on 23 September 2017.
Julie Hesmondhalgh returns to the Exchange following her award-winning performance in WIT. THE GREATEST PLAY IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD… is a love story, set on Preston Road and also in space and in time. This one -woman show by Ian Kershaw reunites Julie with UK Theatre Award winning WIT director Raz Shaw as they develop this World Premiere for the Studio from 9 – 12 November 2017.
Open Exchange Supported Artist Testament presents his newest show WOKE in association with Little Mighty. The twin juggernauts of Hip-Hop and feminism are on a collision course, and Testament reckons he’s the guy to sort it out. WOKE runs in the Studio from 16 – 18 November 2017.