Our 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 who we are today.



an epic celebration of community and humanity, opens this Autumn/Winter season. Director Sarah Frankcom puts Manchester centre stage as she redefines Thorton Wilder’s Pulitzer-Prize winning story of ordinary people for our city today. From 14 Sept – 14 Oct in the Theatre.



by 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. This Bruntwood Prize winning new play is co-produced with the Bush Theatre and directed by Manchester-based Jude Christian. This World Premiere runs in the theatre from 18 – 28 Oct.



Derek Jarman’s iconic film, is adapted for the stage by Chris Goode - one of the UK’s most original theatre makers. Erupting onto our stage in celebration of the movie's 40th anniverary. 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 World Premiere from 2 -18 Nov.



continues our reinvention of classic smash-hit musicals for Christmas. A co-production with Talawa Theatre Company 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 Dec – 27 Jan 2018 and is directed by Talawa Artistic Director Michael Buffong and with choreography from Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy.



by Kendall Feaver is the second Bruntwood Prize World Premiere this season. Directed by Katy Rudd THE ALMIGHTY SOMETIMES 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.



is director Amit Sharma’s first show for the Exchange as Associate Artistic Director. A co-production with Graeae Theatre Company this sharply funny debut play by poet Jackie Hagan, sees friendship blossom in the cracks of northern new-town Skelmersdale. Following its World Premiere in Edinburgh this summer COSMIC SCALLIES is in the Studio from 27 Sept – 14 Oct.



sees Eclipse Theatre Company makes it’s Royal Exchange debut with this 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. The Studio from 18 Jan – 3 Feb 2018.

Artistic Director Sarah Frankcom said ...
“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 so some of the work this season 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.”

We are 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.

Check out the Full Season Brochure here!