It was announced on 26 July 2018 that Braham Murray OBE, one of the founding Artistic Directors of the Royal Exchange Theatre, has sadly passed away.

Braham Murray credit Mia RoseHugely respected within British theatre, Braham devoted the whole of his career to the foundation and subsequently to the direction of the Royal Exchange. Since its inception in 1976 until he stepped down in 2012, he was at the forefront of the company for 36 years during which time he directed 65 productions.

"We are incredibly saddened to hear that Braham has passed away, and our love and thoughts are with his family. He was an artistic director of inestimable talent and ideas, and the Royal Exchange Theatre is built on the foundations of his tenacity, creativity and vision. We simply wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for him and the other founding artistic directors and Manchester’s cultural and social landscape would’ve been the poorer for it. We owe him a huge debt of gratitude, and will forever carry him in our hearts and minds as we continue to make theatre with, and for, Greater Manchester, for generations to come." Sarah Frankcom, Artistic Director, Royal Exchange Theatre

Braham first made his name writing and directing the phenomenally successful revue HANG DOWN YOUR HEAD, first in Oxford and then in the West End and on Broadway. This led to him becoming the youngest artistic director in the country when he took over the Century Theatre aged 22.

In 1968 he went on to become a key figure in the creation of the influential 69 Theatre Company – which ultimately became the Royal Exchange Theatre Company. Over four decades his work at the Exchange included everything from classics to musicals and full scale operas working with many of the country’s leading actors – including Sir Tom Courtenay, Vanessa Redgrave, John Mills, Judi Dench, Maureen Lipman, Amanda Donohoe, Robert Lindsay, David Threlfall and Brenda Blethyn.

His credits included SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER and CHARLEY'S AUNT (with Tom Courtenay) and MARY ROSE (with Mia Farrow). UNCLE VANYA (Tom Courtenay and Amanda Donohoe, Circle in the Square Theatre, New York), THE GOOD COMPANIONS (John Mills and Judi Dench), THE BLACK MIKADO (Michael Denison), ANDY CAPP (Tom Courtenay and Alan Price), THE CABINET MINISTER (Maureen Lipman) and LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN (all West End). Other credits include THE DYBBUK, RIDDLEY WALKER, WAITING FOR GODOT (Max Wall and Trevor Peacock), HAMLET (Robert Lindsay), MAYBE (Vanessa Redgrave), THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, PEER GYNT and RIDDLEY WALKER (David Threlfall), MISS JULIE and HEDDA GABLER (with Amanda Donohoe), OTHELLO with Paterson Joseph and Andy Serkis, HOBSON’S CHOICE with John Thomson, Trevor Peacock and Joanna Riding, THE HAPPIEST DAYS OF YOUR LIFE and the world premieres of SNAKE IN FRIDGE and COLD MEAT PARTY by Brad Fraser. He directed THE GLASS MENAGERIE (with Brenda Blethyn), which also toured nationally; the world premiere of Edna O’Brien’s HAUNTED (also with Brenda Blethyn), which also completed a national tour and had transfers to both New York as part of the Brits on Broadway season and Sydney. He directed the World Premiere of SKELLIG, the opera, for The Sage, Gateshead. In 2007 he directed Brenda Blethyn in Alan Bennett’s TALKING HEADS for an Australian tour.

He announced his decision to step down from the Royal Exchange Theatre in 2012, and his final work was to direct the critically-acclaimed production of the Leonard Bernstein musical WONDERFUL TOWN – a major collaboration between the Exchange, The Halle Orchestra and the Lowry.

Braham wrote two books – his autobiography THE WORST IT CAN BE IS A DISASTER (Methuen Drama) and HOW TO DIRECT (Oberon Books). He received an OBE in January 2010 for services to drama.

Amanda Donohoe Patrick OKane MISS JULIE photo Stephen Vaughan Tom Courtenay THE RIVALS 1976

Andy Serkis as Iago in OTHELLO 2001 Photo by Jonathan Keenan Brenda Blethyn as Amanda Wingfield Mark Arends as Tom in THE GLASS MENAGERIE 2008 photo Jonathan Keenan

JB Priestley and Braham Murray Patricia Routledge the cast of THE RIVALS 1976

 John Thomson as Willie Mossop and Joanna Riding as Maggie Ho Maureen Lipman as Mrs Malaprop THE RIVALS 1996 PHOTO Stephen Vaughan

 Tom Courtenay THE RIVALS 1976 Braham Murray Leaving Party 2012