Under Sarah Frankcom’s Artistic Directorship the Royal Exchange Theatre has been redefined, reimagined and reframed. It has explored classic texts in new and radical ways, celebrated the vitality and significance of new writing, embraced new ways to talk to audiences and engage communities and supported theatre makers to challenge their own practice.

This Autumn/Winter season celebrates her tenure which comes to an end in October, it brings together elements of her work and embraces a strong female narrative throughout. The season opens with MACBETH in which Lucy Ellinson takes on the title role, Sarah Frankcom directs LIGHT FALLS a new play from long-time collaborator Simon Stephens with original music by Jarvis Cocker. Emily Brontë’s WUTHERING HEIGHTS is stripped back to its essence in a radical version of this classic novel directed by Associate Artistic Director Bryony Shanahan and Director Jo Davies explores the complex mother/daughter relationship in GYPSY. Associate Artists RashDash and former Resident Director Nickie Miles-Wildin make new work for the Studio and a unique 24 hour long free performance sees the theatre remain open all night on Remembrance Sunday.

"Simon Stephens was the first writer I commissioned for the Royal Exchange so it seems apt that my final production as Artistic Director should be his richly layered new play about the North. Together we made a journey to northern towns, from Blackpool to Durham, talking and meeting new people on the way. This is the backbone of this new production and I can’t wait for us to get into the rehearsal room.

I’m proud of the work we have made and the stories we have told in the last five years here at the Exchange, and this season feels very reflective of that. We have always advocated for the stories of radical and powerful women, celebrated their imaginations and put outstanding female actors, directors and theatre makers centre stage. Supporting new writing remains vital so I’m thrilled that we have two new plays in this season and have exciting commissions from Winsome Pinnock, Zodwa Nyoni and Maxine and Seiriol lined up for 2020. I’m looking forward to sharing all this work with our incredible audiences here at the Exchange." Sarah Frankcom, Artistic Director

You can save up to 25% off the full ticket price with our flexible 4, 5 and 6 part season tickets. 
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Book Online or call the Box Office on 0161 833 9833 



Macbeth 532px

13 September - 19 October 2019The Theatre.


By William Shakespeare. Directed by Christopher Haydon.

The war is over, the victory complete. But for Macbeth, the triumphant forces’ most fearsome warrior, the battle for the throne is only just beginning – and she’ll stop at nothing to take the crown.

Shakespeare’s darkest tragedy is also his most chilling thriller, and Lucy Ellinson takes the title role in director Christopher Haydon’s highly-charged production, which explores what happens, when in a split-second you decide to act upon your deepest, darkest ambition. 

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Light Falls 532px

24 October - 16 November 2019The Theatre.


By Simon Stephens. Directed by Sarah Frankcom. With original music by Jarvis Cocker.

Artistic Director Sarah Frankcom says goodbye to the Royal Exchange with an extraordinary new play by Simon Stephens.

Connecting five relatives in five disparate English towns, from Blackpool to Durham, LIGHT FALLS is a richly layered play about life in the face of death, about how our love survives us after we’ve gone – and how family, community and kindness help the North survive. 

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Gypsy 532px

30 November 2019 - 25 January 2020The Theatre.


A Musical Fable. Book by Arthur Laurents. Music by Jule Styne. Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Suggested by memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee. Original Production by David Merrick & Leland Hayward. Entire production originally directed & choreographed by Jerome Robbins.

“Starting here, starting now, honey – everything’s coming up roses…”

Broadway is back in Manchester this Christmas with this wild production of the magnificent GYPSY.

Directed by Jo Davies, and with a songbook bursting with classics (EVERYTHING’S COMING UP ROSES, SOME PEOPLE, ROSE’S TURN), GYPSY is theatre’s ultimate celebration of the grime, graft and glamour of show business – and the power of the mother-daughter bond.

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Wuthering Heights 532px

7 February - 7 March 2020. The Theatre.


By Emily Brontë. A new version by Andrew Sheridan. Directed by Bryony Shanahan.

“Will you be happy when I’m just dust, floating in the air?” 

When two souls collide, the impact can resonate for all eternity. So it was, and so it is, with Heathcliff and Cathy – but if they can’t be together, the world that struggles to contain them will simply shatter and burn… Experience a very different side to literature’s most electric couple in this gripping reinvention of the classic tale. Visceral and vicious, tender and true: Emily Brontë never felt quite like this before.

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26 September - 12 October 2019. The Studio.


A RashDash, Soho Theatre and Royal Exchange Theatre co-production. By RashDash.

We’re making this show with our mums. We’re making this show with a six month old on the hip. We’re making this show because they say time is running out.

Following last year’s hugely successful take on Chekhov’s THREE SISTERS, Royal Exchange Theatre Associate Artists RashDash explore motherhood. There will be songs. There will be dancing. There will be breastfeeding. Age guidance14+ (May contain strong language and nakedness).

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9 January - 1 February 2020. The Studio.


By Charlene James. Directed by Nickie Miles-Wildin

Muna’s the life and soul of the 47 bus, trading top-deck trash-talk with her friends on the daily run to school. Iqra sits alone downstairs, five years in England but far from fitting in. Both born in Somalia 15 years ago, the pair fall into friendship. But it’s a shared secret that brings them closer together – and pushes them apart.

A sensation at its 2016 premiere, Charlene James’ fiercely brilliant play confronts the vital issue of FGM in Britain. Bold and tender, harrowing and heartbreaking, CUTTIN’ IT will be directed by former Royal Exchange Assistant Director (RTYDS) Nickie Miles-Wildin.

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You can save up to 25% off the full ticket price with our flexible 4, 5 and 6 part season tickets. 
More Information about our Season Ticket Package

Find out more about Membership and exclusive Members events here.

Book Online or call the Box Office on 0161 833 9833