Come backstage and meet the artistic team behind the Royal Exchange Theatre.

Sarah Frankcom, Artistic Director

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Joining the Royal Exchange Theatre as Literary Manager in 2000, Sarah Frankcom has been an Artistic Director since 2008. With Royal Exchange Theatre credits including Three Birds, Orpheus Descending, Miss Julie, Beautiful Thing, A View from the Bridge, Punk Rock, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Kes, Sarah’s career has also seen her working with the Lyric Hammersmith, the Crucible Theatre, the National Theatre and the Young Vic, amongst many others.

Matthew Xia, Associate Artistic Director

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An award-winning theatre director, composer, journalist, broadcaster and DJ, Matthew joined the Royal Exchange Theatre in 2014. Matthew received the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme bursary in 2013, taking up the post of Director in Residence at the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse Theatres. Matthew’s theatre credits include SCRAPPERS and the Young Vic’s sell-out production of SIZWE BANZI IS DEAD, for which he won the Young Vic’s Genesis Future Director award.

Known for promoting new UK talent under the pseudonym DJ Excalibah, Matthew won the Best Radio Show and Best Radio Presenter awards in the hip-hop press for his BBC 1Xtra show, TALES FROM THE LEGEND in 2003, 2004 and 2005 - giving initial airplay to artists including Estelle, Professor Green, Example, and Plan B. Excalibah performed for a global audience as headline DJ at the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony.

Amit Sharma, Associate Artistic Director

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Amit has been Graeae’s Associate Director since 2011, and is a graduate from Graeae’s Missing Piece actor training course. His work has included traditional building-based performance and largescale outdoor events including PROMETHEUS AWAKES (La Fura dels Baus / co-commissioned by Greenwich and Docklands International Festival and Stockton International Riverside Festival), marking the first large-scale outdoor production to be artistically led by Deaf and disabled people in the UK. Most recently, Amit directed Jack Thorne’s new play THE SOLID LIFE OF SUGAR WATER (Graeae Theatre Company /Theatre Royal Plymouth).

Maxine Peake, Associate Artist

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Playing the title role in our 2014 production of HAMLET, Maxine has previously performed at the Royal Exchange Theatre in MISS JULIE, THE CHILDREN'S HOUR and RUTHERFORD & SON. For HAMLET, she was reunited with Artistic Director Sarah Frankcom following the huge success of THE MASQUE OF ANARCHY for the Manchester International Festival 2013. Her many TV credits include SILK, THE VILLAGE (for which she was BAFTA nominated), RED RIDING and SEE NO EVIL. Maxine was also BAFTA nominated for her performance in HANCOCK AND JOAN.

Chris Thorpe, Associate Artist

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Writer and performer Chris Thorpe is a founder member of Unlimited Theatre and a member of Third Angel, a company fuelled by original and contemporary performance. Chris’ play for the Royal Exchange, THERE HAS POSSIBLY BEEN AN INCIDENT, was selected for the Berlin Stuckemarkt 2014. Other recent work includes I WISH I WAS LONELY, a collaboration with poet Hannah Jane Walker, HANNAH for Unicorn Theatre, Third Angel's WHAT I HEARD ABOUT THE WORLD, and CONFIRMATION, a collaboration with Rachel Chavkin. He plays guitar in Lucy Ellinson's #TORYCORE.

Benji Reid, Associate Artist

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An award-winning visual theatre director, Benji was formally trained in classical and contemporary dance, lighting design and choreography at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. He is one of the Pioneers of the hip-hop theatre movement in the UK.

Having worked with companies and artists including the David Glass Ensemble, Trestle Theatre, Theatr Clwyd and Black Mime Theatre, Benji recently directed HOAX MY LONELY HEART for The Studio, presented by Pippa Frith in association with the Royal Exchange Theatre.
 

Amanda Dalton, Associate Artist

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Amanda is a writer, theatre-maker and facilitator with a strong track record in bringing artists, audiences and communities together through innovative theatre projects. Until summer 2017, she was the Royal Exchange Theatre’s Director of Engagement, leading and developing our creative learning and participation work over 18 years. Her original plays and adaptations for the Exchange include SECRET HEART, DOG BOY, STRAWGIRL, POWDER MONKEY and, most recently, the award winning NOTHING which she created with and for the theatre’s Young Company. As a poet, she has published two pamphlets and two collections with Bloodaxe Books (HOW TO DISAPPEAR and STRAY). She writes extensively for BBC Radio 4, and for BBC Radio 3 she has made radical re-visionings of the silent films THE CABINET OF DR CALIGARI and NOSFERATU. She is also a Visiting Teaching Fellow in the Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University. 

 

RashDash, Associate Artists

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RASHDASH is Abbi Greenland, Becky Wilkie and Helen Goalen. We are a company of performers, musicians and makers. We work with music, dance and theatre because we believe this can speak to an audience in the most rich, delicious, complex way. We make radical, often feminist work, that speaks to the feeling body as well as the thinking brain. Recent projects include THE DARKEST CORNERS (a large scale, outdoor, headphone show for Transform Festival 2017), TWO MAN SHOW (made with Northern Stage and Soho Theatre, Fringe First Winner 2016), SNOW WHITE & ROSE RED (a Christmas show for Cambridge Junction in 2015 and Battersea Arts Centre in 2017), WE WANT YOU TO WATCH (by RashDash and Alice Birch, National Theatre and UK Tour, 2015).