As part of our ongoing commitment to nurture, support and inspire local theatre-makers, the Royal Exchange Theatre offers directors based in Greater Manchester the opportunity to observe the journey of a production through rehearsals with our Observer Mondays Scheme.

Within the creative and supportive environment of this major producing theatre, selected participants will be assigned to a production of their choice and invited to observe rehearsals every Monday from the first day through to Press Night. They will receive mentoring from one of our Associate Artistic Director, tickets to see the production and a one-to-one meeting with the director of the production.

The times of the rehearsal will be dictated by the director and may vary. You should expect to be in attendance approximately between 9am – 6pm.

"It provided for me, as an aspiring director, a view which isn’t really given. Simply being in a rehearsal room and just watching - watching how a piece is developed at a professional level. This is something that, at an early stage, directors tend to just guess and simply plough through. With Observer Monday’s week-by-week you gain more insight and really go on a journey with the cast and crew. The scheme provided by the Royal Exchange is a necessary step to understand the inner workings of productions and how a finished product is achieved. If you have any interest in theatre production particularly how a director works, this is a scheme to be involved in." Monique Touko Observer Mondays Director on The Rolling Stone

In the Spring/Summer 2018 Season, the five productions that we will be inviting directors to observe are: 

  • Spring Summer 2018 Shows and Dates

    By Mary Shelley
    In a new adaptation by April De Angelis
    Director Matthew Xia

    Rehearsals: 6 February to 8 March 2018
    First Preview: 9 March 2018


    By In-Sook Chappell
    Director Jennifer Tang

    Rehearsals: 19 February to 21 March 2018
    First Preview: 22 March 2018


    By RashDash
    Rehearsals: 19 March to 2 May 2018
    First Performance: 3 May 2018


    By Samuel Beckett
    Director Sarah Frankcom

    Rehearsals: 23 April – 24 May 2018
    First Preview: 25 May 2018


    By Maxine Peake
    Director Bryony Shanahan

    Rehearsals: 29 May to 27 June 2018
    First Preview: 28 June 2018

    We are delighted to offer - for a second term - the opportunity for aspiring facilitators and those interested in working with participants, the opportunity to observe sessions with our ground-breaking YOUNG COMPANY and ELDERS COMPANY.


    Led by Matt Hassall 

    A chance to sit in on six sessions with the Young Company, observing how Matt leads the rehearsals for their upcoming production of MIXTAPE in April 2018.

    Dates and times in 2018:

    Rehearsals: February 3, 4, 10, 11, 17-24  / March 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25, 31 / April 3-9
    Open Dress Rehearsals: April 10 & 11
    Press Night: April 11


    Led by Andy Barry
    A chance to observe our resident company of ages 60+ for one term of the company’s skills development sessions.

    Dates and times in 2018: The Spring term takes place on Wednesdays 2pm-4pm, Front Room.

    March 14, 21, 28 / April 18, 25 / May 2*, 9, 16

    *the location for this session is at 47-53 Swan Street, M4 5JY 

  • Important Dates
  • Deadlines and interviews for applications has now passed. 

    The next round of applications for Observer Mondays for Autumn/Winter 2018-19 Season will be announced in Summer 2018. To stay updated, please join the Open Exchange

  • How To Apply
  • Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with a copy of your CV and a short statement explaining which production/company you would like to observe and why. (no more than 500 words)

    If you require your submission to be in a multimedia format, please send a video statement (no more than 2 mins) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Each Observer will be writing a weekly blog on this page to share their learning from the experience.

Previous Observer Mondays Blogs

Emerging Directors on the Open Exchange network can also access other opportunities including Observer Mondays.

Open Exchange provides a series of developmental opportunities for emerging artists of all disciplines, rooted in the belief that collaboration creates great art and brilliant theatre doesn't always begin with a script. Sign up here for opportunities.