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Whether you're trying to get a project funded, don't understand how to read a lighting plan or are just interested in finding out more about how a venue programmes a season, we're here to help.

Regardless of whether you’ve just graduated or are a seasoned theatre maker, everyone needs advice from time to time and we’ve got a wealth of experienced staff on hand. Once a month, members of our creative, backstage and technical teams will move their offices to The Rivals Cafe in the Great Hall and welcome any Open Exchange members to drop in and ask those burning questions.


Before you pop in, learn a little more about the job of the advisor you want to meet, and ready the questions you want to ask…

  • Tuesday 16 January, 2.00pm - 4.30pm Amy Clewes (Producer), Gina Fletcher (Senior Development Manager) and Suzanne Bell (Dramaturg)

  • Monday 19 February, 10.00am - 1.00pm

    Simon Curtis (Head of Production)

    As Head of Production, Simon is responsible for overseeing the delivery and running each season’s productions, events and visiting at the Royal Exchange Theatre, working in collaboration with a wide and varied range of directors, designers and artists. Working with these people he interprets the artistic vision and leads the production teams to deliver, within agreed timescales and budgets, the best production possible. In collaboration with the producing team, artistic director and individual members of the creative teams, he leads the Production team to ensure the most effective use of resources in the realisation of all production and technical elements of productions.

    Sorcha Williams (Head of Sound)

    As Head of Sound, Sorcha is responsible for leading the Sound team and requirements which will include all aspects of theatrical Sound and associated equipment, ensuring this is undertaken in a safe and consistent manner at the Royal Exchange Theatre. She manages all aspects of Sound in the Technical department efficiently and effectively in order to consistently deliver the highest standard of technical support.

    Max Emmerson (Asst. Producer)

    As Assistant Producer, Max supports the Producer and Senior Producer in line-producing the artistic programme at the Exchange. Max’s role covers anything from processing payments to contracting creatives and brining onboard freelance creatives such as Fight Directors and Vocal Coaches. Max also produces the new writing workshops at the Exchange including the casting of these workshops and produces special events for the Exchange.

  • Monday 12 March, 2.00pm - 5.00pm

    Richard Delight (Head of Technical)

    As Head of Technical, Richard line manages the in-house Lighting, Sound and Stage teams, and maintains an overview of all projects and events across the buildings and beyond. While the Sound and Light/Electrics departments have a degree of self-containment, Richard has a more overarching view and will co-ordinate with heads of department and nominated production manager to make sure work is coming in on time and on budget.

    Inga Hurst (Director of Creative Learning and Engagement)

    As Director of Creative Learning and Engagement, Inga is responsible for the strategy and leadership of the department. She manages a team that develops and delivers a range of training, workshops, projects and productions with children and young people, elders, community groups and schools across Greater Manchester. She represents the theatre externally with a range of partners and networks both locally and nationally including with cultural, community, local authority, third-sector, academic and funding partners. Inga is also part of the theatre’s Senior Management Team.

    Laura Arends (Director of Marketing and Communications - Maternity Cover)

    As Director of Marketing and Communications, Laura’s overall purpose is to devise, plan and implement marketing, PR and communication strategies that develop audiences, maximise sales and maintain a strong brand profile to support the Company’s business plan and work closely with Senior Management colleagues across the Company. On a day-to-day basis, she manages the marketing, sales and communications team, with line management responsibility for four members of staff and overall responsibility for the wider team of 18.

  • Wednesday 11 April, 2.00pm - 5.00pm

    Sarah Frankcom (Artistic Director)

    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 Our Town, The Last Testament of Lillian Bilocca (for Hull City of Culture), A Streetcar Named Desire, Hamlet, 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.

    Suzanne Bell (Dramaturg)

    Suzanne Bell is Dramaturg at the Royal Exchange Theatre.  She works closely with the directors and producers to support the development of scripts and the development of writers.  She has led writer development schemes and script development workshops at Royal Court Theatre, Soho Theatre, Live Theatre, Gate Theatre, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Theatre West, various universities and for theatre companies in Brazil, Turkey, Canada and the USA.  Suzanne was the first Literary Manager and Dramaturg to be appointed at the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse.  In her role at the Royal Exchange Theatre, she oversees the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting and the development of all winning scripts.

    Ric Watts (Senior Producer)

    As Senior Producer, Ric is a key member of the artistic directorate at the Exchange, working with Sarah Frankcom to make the overall programming and strategy decisions for the building. Ric also line-produces a number of productions across both the Theatre and the Studio, securing the rights, creating and monitoring the budget, and managing partnerships and creative teams. Ric also has a wealth of experience of touring small and mid scale work, for his past as a freelance producer.

  • Friday 18 May, 10.00am - 1.00pm

    Mark Dobson (Executive Director)

    More about Mark here.

    Amy Clewes (Producer)

    As Producer, Amy is a member of the artistic directorate at the Exchange, working with Sarah Frankcom and Senior Producer, Ric Watts, to make the overall programming and strategy decisions for the building. Amy also line-produces a number of productions across both the Theatre and the Studio as well as looking after The Exchange’s strategic touring, Studio visiting companies programme, securing the rights, creating and monitoring the budget, managing partnerships and creative teams and, artist development scheme Open Exchange. 

    Val Young (Development Director)

  • YES please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to book a slot.

    Accessibility: We want to be well prepared to make you feel welcomed and comfortable at the session. If you have any access requirements (including requiring BSL interpretation), please download and fill in the Access Form. Email it to Grace Ng-Ralph or call 0161 615 6709 to discuss further requirements.

Open Exchange provides a series of development 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.

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