Royal Exchange Theatre announce Autumn & Winter Season Shows

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.

By Ben Brown | Last updated 3 December 2018

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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 you can expect a striking season in which the Theatre 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.

  • We Were Told There Was Dancing
    16th – 20th August
    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.


  • Bin Laden: The One Man Show
    5th – 7th September
    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.

  • Two Man Show
    23rd September
    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.


  • Our Town
    14th Sept – 14th October
    To open this autumn/winter season Manchester is centre stage as the Theatre hosts 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 the people of the city sit at the heart of the action in this classic play redefined for now. On this intimate in-the-round stage director Sarah Frankcom creates a town bursting with the intricate detail of life to recount the unique stories of everyday people.


  • Cosmic Scallies
    27th Sept – 14th October
    Cosmic Scallies is director Amit Sharma’s first show for the Exchange. 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 this autumn.

  • Parliament Square
    18th – 28th October
    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.


  • Jubilee
    2nd – 18th November
    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.


  • The Greatest Play in the History of the World…
    9th – 12th November
    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 in November.

  • Woke
    16th – 18th November
    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.


  • Guys and Dolls
    2nd Dec – 27th Jan 2018
    This Christmas the Theatre continues to reinvent 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’.


  • Black Men Walking
    18th Jan – 3rd Feb
    This season Eclipse Theatre Company makes its Royal Exchange debut with the co-production of 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 Almighty Sometimes
    9th – 24th Feb 2018
    Kendall Feaver’s The Almighty Sometimes is the second Bruntwood Prize World Premiere this season. Directed by Katy Rudd, it’s a beautifully perceptive new play that paints an extraordinary portrait of Anna, a young woman battling against a childhood diagnosis of severe mental illness.


  • Moments That Changed Our World
    22nd – 25th 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?

For more information and to book tickets, head to the Royal Exchange website.