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Our Work and Business

Our Work

For 48 weeks of each year we produce and present theatre and participation / learning programmes over 2 seasons. Most of this is work created and produced in collaboration with freelance creative teams and individual artists, other theatre companies and communities. Some of it is work created by others that tours to the theatre as part of a national or regional tour. Our work also transfers and tours nationally and internationally. We run programmes for theatre artists and practioners at different stages of their careers to learn and develop the skills needed for their craft.

 Each season we present a varied programme with a strong commitment to staging riveting revivals and championing new work. Our Studio is also home to work presented by the most distinctive and imaginative touring companies and where our pioneering work with communities in Manchester finds expression.

190,000 tickets were sold for events in our theatre spaces in 2010/11. It is estimated that another 200,000 people visited the building to listen to, watch and take part in other events, visit exhibitions, have a coffee or some food or learn more about the heritage and history of building. 32,769 tickets were sold for our productions touring nationally and internationally.

Our Business

The company has an annual turnover of c7.5m. 64% is earned income through our box office, corporate support, trusts and foundations and other trading income. 36% is investment from public funding sources, the majority of which is from the Arts Council England - North West (ACE) and some from Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA).

The RET is a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity. It is governed by a board of 15 voluntary members. The Leadership Team comprises Executive Director, Fiona Gasper and Artistic Director, Sarah Frankcom (pictured below). The company employs / contracts the services of up to 500 people over the course of a year.  Of these 150 are in permanent positions, and another c350 are employed on short term contracts across each year as actors, stage management, creatives and technicians.


Profile & Reputation

Our productions have won fourteen Theatrical Management Association Awards in the last ten years with many more nominations.  In 2010/11 our audiences filled 70% of our seating capacity demonstrating a high demand and appetite for our work.  In addition to our skilled core team we work with some of the best creative talent in the country.


Our profile outside Greater Manchester continues to grow through the success of our world premieres and productions that have transferred to London and toured nationally and internationally including THE PALACE OF THE END (Edinburgh, Dublin, winner of the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award), PUNK ROCK (national tour), HAUNTED (London, New York, Sydney), MOGADISHU, (national tour), WINTERLONG (London) and WONDERFUL TOWN (national tour), attracting more than 32,000 attendees in 2010/11.

In 2013 we join forces with the Bush Theatre (London) and Live Theatre (Newcastle) to produce two winners of the 2011 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting: Janice Okoh’s THREE BIRDS in association with Bush Theatre, directed by Sarah Frankcom, and Alistair McDowall’s BRILLIANT ADVENTURES, a co-production with Live Theatre, directed by Caroline Steinbeis, winner of the 2009 JMK Award for Young Directors.

We have a long held commitment to bringing exceptional new work to the stage.  Bi annually we deliver the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting, now the biggest national competition for new writing.  MOGADISHU, by Vivienne Franzman, one of the 2008 winners produced at the RET in February 2011 received the following quote from Dominic Cavendish, for the Daily Telegraph - ‘This play about our ailing London state comprehensives might well be the play of the year.’ Rating: * * * * *. The show, which transferred to Lyric Hammersmith in London for a further five-week run before going on national tour, went on to be one of three nominations for the TMA Awards UK 2011 Best New Play award and was nominated for the 2012 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Affiliate Theatre.

Pictured top to bottorm: (1) The Royal Exchange Theatre Christmas production of RATS' TALES by Carol Ann Duffy - November 2012 - January 2013. Photo by Jonathan Keenan. (2) The Leadership Team, Fiona Gasper, Sarah Frankcom and Greg Hersov. (3) The co-production with The Lowry and Halle Orchestra WONDERFUL TOWN - March - April 2012. (4) The RET and Lyric co-production of MOGADISHU - January - February 2010.

Latest News

Family Matters
One lunchtime, one monologue, 20 minutes long, all this week at 1pm.   
We have an exciting Work Placement opening here at the Royal Exchange 
Celebrating 80 years of Liberty, the campaigning organisation for human rights!
We are now taking submissions for the 2015 Open Competition
If you fancy appearing on stage in our production of SCUTTLERS, then we want you.
Lovie Award
For our work with Blast Theory!
Check out our Storify here...
Secret Theatre
This October, we host a Festival of shows like you've never seen before!