FREE ADVISORY SESSIONS FOR OPEN EXCHANGE MEMBERS 

Image of Open Office Hours, Royal Exchange Theatre

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.

UPCOMING OFFICE HOURS

The next Open Office Hours is on: Tuesday 22 January 2019, 10am-1pm, The Rivals Cafe, Royal Exchange Theatre.

Who's in the office:

Chris Thorpe, Associate Artist
Amy Clewes, Producer
Suzanne Bell, Dramaturg

See below for their job descriptions to help you prepare your questions.

How to book:

To make an appointment, please click on the following links to book your 15 min slot between 10am-1pm.

  • WHO'S IN THE OFFICE - JANUARY 2019
  • Tuesday 22 January 2019, 10.00am - 1.00pm

    Chris Thorpe (Associate Artist)

    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.

    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.

    Suzanne Bell (Dramaturg)

     

  • WHO'S IN THE OFFICE - JANUARY 2018
  • Tuesday 16 January, 2.00pm - 4.30pm Amy Clewes (Producer), Gina Fletcher (Senior Development Manager) and Suzanne Bell (Dramaturg)

  • WHO'S IN THE OFFICE - FEBRUARY 2018
  • 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.

  • WHO'S IN THE OFFICE - MARCH 2018
  • 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 Hirst (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.

  • WHO'S IN THE OFFICE - MAY 2018
  • 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)

    As Development Director, Val leads on the development and management of the Exchange's Fundraising Strategy. She leads a team of five who work together to raise approximately £800k p.a. from businesses, grant making bodies and individuals. She has 14 years’ experience in senior fundraising roles in Theatre and Visual Arts including Manchester City Galleries, The Art Fund and The Arts Catalyst. Prior to this she worked in local government securing funding from the European Union and government for large scale economic development projects and programmes.  

  • WHO'S IN THE OFFICE - JUNE 2018
  • Wednesday 13 June, 10.00am - 1.00pm

    Amit Sharma (Associate Artistic Director)

    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). Read more about Amit's appointment as Associate Artistic Director here.

    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.

    Suzanne Bell (Dramaturg)

  • WHO'S IN THE OFFICE - JULY 2018
  • Friday 20 July, 2.00pm - 5.00pm

    Gina Fletcher (Senior Development Manager)

    The Royal Exchange needs to raise £800,000 a year from businesses, charitable Trusts and individuals. As Senior Development Manager, Gina is responsible for raising funds from charitable trusts and grants including Arts Council and the Greater Manchester Authority. She’s worked in the arts and culture sector for 16 years as a fundraiser, project manager, local authority officer and senior manager. She’s also trustee for two Arts Council National Portfolio organisations, and as a freelance fundraiser has experience of Grants for the Arts, Project Support Grants and Grantium. 

    Inga Hirst (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.

    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 Studi, 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.

  • WHO'S IN THE OFFICE - SEPTEMBER 2018
  • Friday 21 September, 10.00am - 1.00pm

    Amit Sharma (Associate Artistic Director)

    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). Read more about Amit's appointment as Associate Artistic Director 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.

    Paula Rabbitt (Communications Manager)

     

  • WHO'S IN THE OFFICE - OCTOBER 2018
  • Wednesday 24 October, 2.00pm - 5.00pm

    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.

    Bryony Shanahan (Associate Artistic Director)

    Bryony joined the Exchange in June 2018 with her first show in her role as Associate Artistic Director, directing QUEENS OF THE COAL AGE by Maxine Peake. Bryony was born in Stoke-on-Trent and trained at the East 15 acting school in Acting and Contemporary Theatre. She is an award-winning theatre maker and was the 2016 winner of the Young Vic Genesis Future Directors Award. Alongside a vibrant freelance directing career, including projects such as CHICKEN SOUP (Sheffield Crucible) and TRADE (Young Vic) she is a founding member of Snuff Box Theatre Company, a theatre collective making bold new work for today.

    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.

  • WHO'S IN THE OFFICE - NOVEMBER 2018
  • Wednesday 14 November, 2.00pm - 5.00pm

    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 Studi, 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.

    Val Young (Development Director)

    As Development Director, Val leads on the development and management of the Exchange's Fundraising Strategy. She leads a team of five who work together to raise approximately £800k p.a. from businesses, grant making bodies and individuals. She has 14 years’ experience in senior fundraising roles in Theatre and Visual Arts including Manchester City Galleries, The Art Fund and The Arts Catalyst. Prior to this she worked in local government securing funding from the European Union and government for large scale economic development projects and programmes.

    Amanda Dalton (Associate Artist)

    A writer, theatre practitioner and arts education consultant, Amanda is an Associate Artist at the Royal Exchange, Visiting Teaching Fellow in the Writing School at MMU and a Royal Literary Fund Fellow. She writes for theatre and for BBC radio and her poetry collections are published by Bloodaxe Books. For the Exchange she has written several original dramas and adaptations, most recently a dramatization of Janne Teller’s NOTHING, created for the Exchange’s Young Company and staged in 2016 and 2017. Her extensive radio credits include radical re-imaginings of the silent movies THE CABINET OF DR CALIGARI and NOSFERATU. During her time as the Royal Exchange’s Engagement Director she led a number of innovative programmes and projects including YOU, THE AUDIENCE and the installation MAKING AN EXHIBITION OF OURSELVES.  

  • DO I NEED TO BOOK?
  • Yes please do, 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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