Now we’re officially into our Autumn / Winter season, thoughts are beginning to turn to that end of year event… Christmas!

While that word may make some hearts glow as brightly as the lights adorning the trees and be filled with the warmth that a mulled wine brings, others feel that sense of panic at the thought or trying to make everything just perfect, for everyone and without breaking the bank!

Here at the Royal Exchange we’d like to cater for as many needs as possible, so take a trip through our Christmas site where you’ll find a big-hearted Manchester love story the whole family can enjoy, an adventure for children aged 7+, a magical journey for children aged 5+, details of how we take the stress out of your Christmas party, unique gift ideas, some free events to get you into the Christmas spirit and what we have to offer when the crowds and cold become a little to much to take!

‘an oasis of calm from the crowds TripAdvisor Review – July 2013.

Created with flickr slideshow.


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By Victoria Wood. Directed by Sarah Frankcom.

5 December 2013 - 18 January 2014

Please note due to limited availability online booking is now not available. For tickets please contact Box Office on 0161 833 9833.

Reinvented and re-orchestrated for the Royal Exchange’s unique space, THAT DAY WE SANG is a big-hearted and nostalgic Manchester love story for all the family, written by Victoria Wood, one of the country’s most distinctive and well-loved comedic voices.

In the summer of ‘69, insurance clerk Tubby and secretary Enid are back on stage at the Free Trade Hall. Granada Television are recording a documentary celebrating the forty years since they first stood there as children, singing their hearts out with fellow school pupils and accompanied by the Halle Orchestra. This is the humorous, warm and uplifting story of two people who are trying to reconnect with who they were then and who they could be now.

The first production of THAT DAY WE SANG was commissioned by MIF Creative for the 2011 Manchester International Festival 2011, with support from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.  

‘THAT DAY WE SANG is a play with songs and dancing and insurance men. It’s a love story… played against the background of The Wimpy, The Golden Egg, Piccadilly Gardens… it’s a very Mancunian story.’ Victoria Wood

Please hover over for more info:
Aki Omoshaybi as Sound Man, Lionel, Waiter Alex Starke as Jimmy Andy Brady as Camera Man, Bill, Waiter, Tando Driver Anna Francolini as Enid Sutcliffe Craige Els as Mr Kirkby and Commissionaire Dean Andrews as Tubby Baker Darren Lawrence as Gavin, Jimmy's Dad, Sir Hamilton Harty Faye Brookes as Edna & Ann James Quinn as Frank Brierley & Mr Stanley Joel Danziger as Jimmy Kelly Price as Mandy & Gertrude Riall Laura Medforth as Jimmy Sally Bankes as Dorothy Brierley & Pauline William Haresceugh as Jimmy

Director - Sarah Frankcom
Designer - James Cotterill
Musical Supervisor - Nigel Lilley
Musical Director - Ian Townsend
Orchestrator - Chris Walker
Choreographer - Sammy Murray Brown
Choir Master – Jeff Borradaile
Lighting Designer – Johanna Town
Sound Designer – Peter Rice
Assistant Director - Liz Stevenson


VENUE: The Theatre

BOOK TICKETS: Via Box Office on 0161 833 9833 or online

TICKET PRICES: £10 -£36 (click here for more details)
(Please note there will be no ticket discounts from 23 - 31 December)

PERFORMANCE DATES & TIMES: (Due to Christmas and New Year, extra matinees have been programmed) Click here for full details

RUNNING TIME: 2 hours and 15 minutes, which includes 1 interval of 20 minutes

AGE GUIDANCE: Suitable for ages 10+

BACK STAGE TOUR: Wednesday 11 December, 11.00am

Thursday 9 January, after 7.30pm performance

AUDIO DESCRIBED PERFORMANCE: Saturday 4 January, 2.30pm



Click here for more information about our accessible performances


Tuesday 17 December, 10am – 12 noon: A pre-show, talk-based introduction to the play and production.
Join members of the creative team as they discuss and demonstrate the process of bringing the production to the stage. For up to 100 people. Suitable for individuals, schools and groups, aged 14+
£6/£4 (concessions & group leaders). Book on 0161 615 6702.



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Created by Bad Physics. Written by Oliver Birch. Presented Bad Physics and Mercury Theatre Colchester in association with Royal Exchange Manchester, Escalator East to Edinburgh and Richard Jordan Productions.

10 - 21 December 2013

When a famous scientist is abducted, it takes his two children, their best friend, an incompetent storyteller, and YOU to rescue him.

Be at the heart of The Adventure!

The Public Reviews ★★★★ Three Weeks ★★★★ British Theatre Guide ★★★★ The List

★★★★ "Children are bursting with excitement... The attention to detail is tremendous... Unexpected and dramatic.... Visually spectacular and hugely enjoyable." The Times

★★★★★ "The puzzles are great and the action fast paced... The cast admirably held the chaos together... Bad Physics have created an absolute winner." Broadway Baby

★★★★★ "Many children’s shows claim they are interactive, but The Adventure defines it. I truly loved this well-orchestrated, site-specific, immersive theatre piece." Edinburgh Evening News

★★★★ "Taking audience interaction to a whole new level... Brilliantly put together - funny, scary, intriguing, exhilarating and totally engaging - this is a must-see." Edinburgh Guide

Join an intrepid gang of young detectives to explore a dark and exciting disused building - find clues, crack codes and use your deepest courage to help solve a fiendishly puzzling mystery.

The Famous Five meets Scooby Doo meets The Crystal Maze in a unique hour of funny, scary and inventive interactive theatre. You won’t be sat in the dark watching a play… you’ll be at the heart of THE ADVENTURE!

Please note this is a promenade piece. Audience capacity for each show is 35 people. Suitable for ages 7 - 13



VENUE: The Studio and beyond

DATES & TIMES : Tuesday 10 December - Saturday 21 December

Tue 10/12/13 12:30PM
Wed 11/12/13 10:30AM
Wed 11/12/13 12:30PM
Thu 12/12/13 10:30AM
Thu 12/12/13 6:00PM
Fri 13/12/13 10:30AM
Fri 13/12/13 2:30PM
Sat 14/12/13 10:30AM
Sat 14/12/13 12:30PM
Mon 16/12/13 10:30AM
Mon 16/12/13 12:30PM
Mon 16/12/13 2:30PM
Tue 17/12/13 10:30AM
Tue 17/12/13 6:00PM
Wed 18/12/13 10:30AM
Wed 18/12/13 12:30PM
Wed 18/12/13 6:00PM
Thu 19/12/13 12:30PM
Thu 19/12/13 6:00PM
Sat 21/12/13 10:30AM
Sat 21/12/13 12:30PM
Sat 21/12/13 6:00PM

BOOK TICKETS: Box Office: 0161 833 9833 / online

TICKET PRICES: £10 (no concessions)

AGE GUIDANCE: Suitable for ages 7 - 13

PLEASE NOTE: This is a promenade piece. Audience capacity for each show is 35 people. 



Book online
Presented by M6 Theatre Company. Created and directed by Gilly Baskeyfield and Dot Wood.

23 - 29 December 2013

A cosmic mix of illusion, animation and laughter within a galaxy of delights!

Journey with Mavis to see nature's biggest light show!

Mavis Sparkle is the most unusual of cleaners - nothing in her world is quite what it seems. With a Magician for a Dad and a Stargazer for a Mum, no wonder there’s more to Mavis than meets the eye!

On her quest for a new job, she revisits the magic of her childhood and gains the courage to embark on a brand new, exciting adventure! With a feather duster in one hand and a few tricks up her sleeve, Mavis is on a journey north to see nature’s biggest light show with her own eyes.

With a little help from her cheeky cuckoo clock, mischievous mop bucket and a nice cup of tea, Mavis moves ever closer to making her dream come true. Inspiring us to dust off our doubts and reach for the stars, MAVIS SPARKLE is a beautiful show filled with magic and music, suitable for ages 5+ and anyone who ever had a dream...

“Truly magical” Shona Powell – Director, Lakeside Arts Centre

“This is an enchanting story that makes you smile. Everyone should know a Mavis Sparkle.” Rachael El-Weshahi, Rochdale Children’s Centres

“Enchanting...a treasure trove of delights” The Stage

“The children were totally engrossed.  A wonderful performance” Westwood School, Oldham

“Gentle, moving, technically very sophisticated and brilliantly performed” Arts Council England Assessor

Great performance - put a sparkle in my heart” Audience Member, Birmingham Rep Theatre

Created with flickr slideshow.



VENUE: The Studio

Monday 23 December, 11.30am
Monday 23 December, 2.30pm
Tuesday 24 December, 11.30am
Tuesday 24 December, 2.30pm
Thursday 26 December, 4.00pm
Friday 27 December, 11.30am
Friday 27 December, 2.30pm
Saturday 28 December, 11.30am
Saturday 28 December, 2.30pm
Sunday 29 December, 2.30pm

RUNNING TIME: Approx 45 minutes

BOOK TICKETS: Box Office: 0161 833 9833 / online

TICKET PRICES: Adults £12 / Concessions £10 / Under 13s £5



Set within the Great Hall, The Round restaurant serves the very best in seasonal modern British food and is the perfect place to enjoy your festive pre-show meal or Christmas Party celebrations!

We can cater for small parties up to large groups of 25. Sittings are available pre-show from 4.00pm – 5.30pm. So why not sit back, relax and feel the atmosphere build before the beginning of the show.

You can even order your desserts and drinks for the interval, meaning you don’t have to rush your meal in order to catch the show.

  Preview our Christmas Set Menu here  

You can reserve your table online or by calling the Box Office on 0161 833 9833. A confirmation email will follow your reservation request. Please note that parties of 8 – 25 will need to pre-order their meal options. 

If you're after a romantic meal for two this Christmas, you can still book a table, where as well as Christmas Specials, we have our extensive Winter Menu to choose from. Simply book now and decide what mouth-watering delights you fancy on arrival.

Looking for an idea to make your Christmas party go with a swing?

Well how about recreating the 1920s or 1960s - the setting for our Christmas production, Victoria Wood’s heart-warming That Day We Sang? 

So if you fancy being the belle of the ball this party season, let us help you recreate the glamour and decadence of the Christmas season. Simply email or phone  our Costume Hire department on 0161 819 6660 to make an appointment.

And Christmas past can be your Christmas present too if you purchase gift vouchers from our Box Office; vouchers can be redeemed not only against tickets for the theatre and sales from the Craft Shop but also for costumes in Costume Hire.
So you’ve absolutely no excuse. Get your glad rags booked, and get ready to party on!

This Christmas we have an enchanting exhibition full of storytelling, fairy tales and romance by various makers, including members of the Manchester Jewellers Network.

This must see craft & jewellery fair - full of beautiful, handmade, one-off gifts - offers something for everyone, from a range of affordable stocking fillers to unique extravagant pieces.

So step out from the cold and the crowds, rest and refuel yourself in the oasis of calm that is our Great Hall, and while you treat yourself to mulled wine and a mince pie from the Great Hall Café, why not browse our unique craft fair for that special gift!

ONCE UPON A TIME... Christmas Jewellery and Craft Fair are now on display in the Colonnade Cabinets in the Great Hall until 5 January, and available to purchase from the Craft Shop.  

Continuing with the Once Upon A Time... theme, Amy Williams will be exhibiting her beautifully intricate and intriguing paper cuts and prints in our Gallery Corner from 2 December - 12 January.

The Craft Shop will also be stocking cute little stocking fillers - tree decorations from £3 – including wooden Santa’s, laser cut felt trees, glass baubles & hand cut paper baubles. Gifts from £5 – including felt coaster sets, ceramic tea light holders and craft kits. And not forgetting Christmas cards, diaries and calendars.


Over on the Mezzanine Gallery, we welcome a brand new exhibition by Heart & Sold - showing (and selling) from 27 November 2013 - 12 January 2014.

This beautiful initiative was created by Heart & Sold director, Suzie Moffat. Inspired by her five year old son Max, who has Down syndrome, she decided to combine her interest and experience in the arts with meeting talented individuals with the condition and their families and carers.

The more she discovered creative talent amongst people with Down syndrome around the globe, the more convinced she became that their work should be more widely celebrated.

"Would like to thank the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester for their support. Exhibitions such as this will help to promote, and more importantly, create jobs for these artists. It will improve their self-esteem, create a much greater awareness of their individual skills and personalities, and make their families proud." Heart & Sold

Heart & Sold will continue to grow, and actively work to find other talented artists with Down syndrome. It will allow them to develop, grow, create, sell, educate, encourage and inspire. They want to show that art is from the heart, and that a condition such as Down syndrome actually creates exciting new perspectives and often strikingly original insights.

For more information about Heart & Sold, please visit the Heart & Sold website at

Circus Bear by Amy Williams

Heart & Sold Exhibition
Whether it's post-work, pre-show or you just want to escape the Christmas Market crowds, why not pop into the Exchange and enjoy a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie in the surroundings of the Great Hall.

‘I love love love this place! It's a beautiful building with so much character and history. They have shows for all ages and will definitely recommend the children's shows at Christmas. Even if you're passing by, pop in, have a coffee and take in all they have to offer.’ TripAdvisor Review – September 2013

And if you're coming as part of a group, you can pre-order your tea/coffee & mince pies for just £3.95 per head, with mulled wine & mince pies at just £4.50 per head.

Available for Groups of 10+ up to 1 hour before every matinee performance of THAT DAY WE SANG or by request on other days. Pre-booking essential – call the Box Office on 0161 833 9833 for more details.

If you have children with you, why not entertain them with a FREE Explorer Bag? 

The contents of the bags are aimed at children up to age 7, but anyone is welcome to borrow them. Available from the Information Point. (Bag contains: a World of Colour postcard, Peggy Puppets postcard, Looking Closer Postcard, Imaginary Animals postcard (all to take home), 3 x Explorer “challenges”, Wooden Peg, Pack of 4 Crayons, 5 x Material Scraps, 3 x Lighting Gels and a cardboard looker/telescope).

We also have activity sheets - Theatre Sketch, Wordsearch and Quiz, Fragment Search, Theatre Trail and Exploring the Hall with Under 5s - which you can get from our Information Point or download here.



This Christmas we've got some fantastic children's choirs and music groups performing in the Great Hall for you to enjoy. So why not take a break from your shopping, pop in and peruse our Christmas Craft Fair or have a drink and a sit down and enjoy some festive tunes?

 12.15pm - 12.45pm Sunday 1 December -  Parochial Primary School Choir

 12.15pm - 12.45pm Sunday 8 December -  St Matthew's String and Wind Ensemble


Friday 6 December sees Smug Roberts, Seymour Mace, Susan Vale and Tony Burgess among a team of Manchester's top funny men and women lining up for COMIC FX DOES THE BIG LAFF at the Royal Exchange.

Playing a manic game of comedy tag, they will each perform just a minute of material as comperes Des Sharples and John Goodfellow find out how many acts - and laughs - can be crammed into an hour.

Other acts confirmed include Jonathan Paylor, Vince Atta, Dave Williams, Phil Ellis and Penella Meller.

The free fun begins in the Great Hall at the Exchange from 6pm with a happy hour at the bar from 5.30pm. Get there early to bag a seat!


Come along and create your own singing paper puppet with practitioner Caroline Daly in our FREE craft workshop for under 11s!

Sunday 8 December, 12.45pm - 2.15pm. The Craft Workshop is free but ticketed. Please book via Box Office on 0161 833 9833



The Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann's Square, Manchester, M2 7DH © copyright Royal Exchange Theatre 2007- 2013, Registered Charity No. 255424 The Royal Exchange Theatre Company Limited is a company limited by guarantee Registered in England, registration number 927203; registered office as above