The Royal Exchange are very excited to announce that Oliver Hurst is the inaugural recipient of the Hodgkiss Director Award.

This opportunity gives Hurst a breadth of experience both in our unique theatre space and in our community theatre the Den, whilst giving him an opportunity to develop his own craft. 


Oliver Hurst is Artistic Director of Red Brick Theatre, and a member of the Young Vic Fresh Direction cohort 2023/24. He was recently assistant director to the Olivier Award-winning David Thacker on a revival of David Mamet’s junk-shop classic American Buffalo, and is currently developing Bad Moult (Winner of the Cambridge Playwrighting Award 2023) by Robin Cantwell which will premiere in Summer 2024. His recent directing credits include the first professional UK revival of Simon Stephens’ Pornography since 2009, The BBC’s First Homosexual as part of the BBC100 celebrations, and Sour Milk by Jonathan Mitchell. 


Oliver Hurst said,

I feel incredibly honoured to have been selected for the Hodgkiss Award 2024. It’s a real privilege to take the next steps in my career at my favourite theatre and a cultural powerhouse in the city. It’s very exciting to be supported by the Exchange and their artistic teams at such a turbulent time for the Arts. I look forward to developing my craft, and continuing to make work for Greater Manchester audiences.

Director of THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST Josh Roche said,

I’m delighted to have Oli alongside me as the Hodgkiss Director for The Importance of Being Earnest. He’s a passionate and articulate young director who will be a brilliant sounding board for the whole team during the process. Open application awards like The Hodgkiss Director scheme are so importhirant for giving people early opportunities. Careers in theatre should be possible for everyone, whatever your background, so long as you have the guts and energy to apply.

Community producer Emily Oldroyd said,

We are thrilled to be working with Oli, a brilliantly ambitions GM creative who is truly passionate about bringing theatre to new audiences and thinking about how we invite people into creative spaces. Oli will be working with us on a brand-new show produced by the Royal Exchange featuring dozens of personal stories which will be collected from the people of Rochdale. It is a unique opportunity to develop dramaturgically with a verbatim structure, work flexibly in response to the community, and work with a mix of Rochdale community and professional actors. Our engagement work sits at the heart of what the Royal Exchange does and it’s vital that we work with GM artists to develop high quality work with and for the community now and into the future.

This opportunity is generously supported by The Hodgkiss Family and William Hare, who has supported emerging artists in a range of disciplines over the years to develop their careers and build a connection to the Royal Exchange and Greater Manchester.