Making new work that wrestles with questions of identity, family, gender, hope and resilience and what it takes to be heard in an increasingly complex world.

This season artists Maxine Peake, Matthew Xia, In-Sook Chappell, Bryony Shanahan and RashDash amongst others are making new work with the Exchange.

Members and Season Ticket Holders can book now. Public Booking opens 10am Tuesday 28 November. 


This spring we open our season with one of the world’s most famous stories, Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN. This brand-new version adapted by April De Angelis and directed by Royal Exchange Associate Artistic Director Matthew Xia raises important questions of identity, responsibility and ambition in modern-day Britain, 200 years after the novel was originally published. This evocative 2018 version, with Shane Zaza, runs from 9 March – 7 April in the Theatre.

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The Cherry Orchard

Michael Boyd, former Artistic Director of the RSC, makes his Royal Exchange debut with the affecting classic, THE CHERRY ORCHARD, in a new translation by Rory Mullarkey, who returns to the Exchange following his critically acclaimed CANNIBALS. This co-production with Bristol Old Vic is the first time that Michael has directed a play by the literary love of his life Anton Chekhov, and runs in the Theatre from 19 April – 19 May.

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Happy Days

HAPPY DAYS, Samuel Beckett’s profoundly beautiful theatrical poem, reunites the successful creative team of Exchange Artistic Director, Sarah Frankcom, and Associate Artist, Maxine Peake once more in our unique space. Maxine Peake takes on the role of everywoman Winnie, in this surreal and celebratory must-see masterpiece. The production runs in the Theatre from 25 May – 23 June.

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Queens of the Coal Age

A brand-new stage play by Maxine Peake, her first for the Royal Exchange, QUEENS OF THE COAL AGE follows four ordinary women down the Parkside Colliery pit as they make a stand for each other and their way of life. This true story is directed by Bryony Shanahan, who makes her main-stage debut with this sharp and witty play about ordinary women and extraordinary action. This co-production with the New Vic Theatre runs from 28 June – 21 July.

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A new adaptation of Helen Tse’s family memoir - the astonishing story of the women behind the famous Manchester restaurant, Sweet Mandarin. Writer In-Sook Chappell and director Jennifer Tang chart the journeys of two generations of remarkable women from the streets of Hong Kong to Manchester’s Northern Quarter. This co-production with Yellow Earth and Black Theatre Live runs in the Studio from 22 March – 7 April before beginning a UK tour.

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Associate Artists RashDash take over the Studio with their passionate and energetic response to Anton Chekhov’s classic THREE SISTERS. What are you expecting? A period drama with surprises? Why do we keep telling this story? This thrilling response to a much-loved classic runs in the Studio from 3 – 19 May before touring.

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Artistic Director Sarah Frankcom said … 

“The Royal Exchange family of artists continues to grow and that’s exciting. This season we develop work that celebrates the creative ambition of these brilliant artists, and we support writers and directors, actors and theatre makers to challenge themselves to make work at scale for a passionate audience. The stories this season are about ordinary people, our family, friends and neighbours, and the lengths they go to find themselves in an increasingly complex world. Our in-the-round space brings audience members into the middle of these stories, making the ordinary seem extraordinary and creating a space for reflection, celebration and conversation – it is this that makes theatre so important today, and why the theatre we are making should always reflect the here and now.”


Members and Season Ticket Holders can book now. Public Booking opens 10am Tuesday 28 November. 

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