In 2014 we started what would turn out to be one of our most signiﬁcant pieces of work in recent years. We launched You, The Audience – a huge, open and honest conversation with Royal Exchange audience members. We invited them to share their ideas with us, asking them what they thought a theatre for the 21st Century might be, what they wanted that theatre to look like and what they needed it to do for them. The results were incredible, (as Amanda Dalton says on page 21), and we started to carve out an equal partnership between us and our audiences which has helped us to shape our thinking about our future and deﬁne some of our key ambitions for the next few years.
But our dialogue didn’t stop there. We spent time talking to our peers, to local artists (see Matthew Xia’s piece on Open Exchange), to emerging theatre makers and to our creative partners such as Talawa and Graeae about making bold, daring and ambitious work for our stages, digitally and with our communities.
Excitingly we are still having these conversations and they continue to challenge and inspire us every day.
Here you’ll ﬁnd a small part of our story so far. In these pages we hear from just some of the incredible people we have worked with in the last few years: from associate artists, actors and directors to members of our Young and Elders companies. Please take a look, ask us some questions and join our ever changing, growing and inspiring conversation. We look forward to seeing you here soon.
The Royal Exchange Theatre Board
Ben Caldwell, Chair, joined his family hardware business after reading history at Cambridge. He spent the next twenty-five years evolving the business into the outsourcing company IESA. He was Vice-Chair of Business Link Cheshire and Warrington Collegiate, and Chair of the Warrington Chamber of Commerce and Warrington Youth Club. He is a founder investor in the Homeless World Cup and a member of Ashoka, an organisation that supports social entrepreneurs.
Kate Vokes is the Director of Social Impact at Bruntwood. Her commitments to the city include being Chair of the Oglesby Charitable Trust and trustee of Manchester Youth Zone, and she has gained a passion and knowledge particularly around the youth sector and arts and culture. With a broad and commercial view of Bruntwood, she helps to get clarity on how we are using our experience, knowledge and resources to have the greatest long term sustainable impact, and introduces our partners to suppliers and customers to inspire others to get involved in effecting change..
Sally Penni is a prominent Barrister at Law, diversity champion and community advocate. She is Vice Chair, Association of Women Barristers UK, and Counsel to International Criminal Courts, The Hague.
Jennifer Raffle was a chartered accountant with KPMG. Moving to GEC plc. she was responsible for business review and trouble-shooting. She returned to KPMG as a technology analyst before leaving to join the Manchester Technology Fund, the in house venture capital fund for the University of Manchester as an investment manager. Jennifer now has her own financial consulting business.
Aziz Rashid is Head of BBC North West in charge of BBC TV, Radio and Digital services for the North West of England. He has held senior editorial roles in BBC World News, BBC Breakfast and Network TV News. Aziz is also Head of Diversity for BBC English Regions.
Geoffrey Shindler OBE is a Trust Consultant at Old Trafford Consulting Ltd, specialising in wills, trusts, capital taxation and estate work. He has held trustee positions with a number of organisations including Manchester Camerata, Manchester Portico Library Charitable Trust and Lancashire County Cricket Club. He is the Consulting Editor of Trusts & Estates Law & Tax Journal and a member of the Editorial Board of Wills & Trusts Law Reports.
Martyn Torevell is a founding director of Dewhurst Torevell which provides active independent financial advice to high net worth individuals. Through his company Martyn has developed a significant portfolio of arts philanthropy in Manchester.
Nicole May is Executive Producer at Young Identity. Young Identity is an arts organisation and a charity delivers dynamic poetry and spoken word workshops for young people aged 13–30 working with educational institutions, communities and arts organisations locally, nationally and internationally. Nicole describes herself as a Millennial – Producer, dramaturg, director and Writer. She was the Dramaturg for Alphabus Manchester International Festival (2019). Nicole is Associate Producer and Dramaturg at the theatre company Fio. She also was the Writer and Dramaturg for Timelines performed at RawFFest (2019). Nicole is a member of the UpRisingGM Advisory Board. Nicole is a graduate from Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts with a BA (hons) Music, Theatre and Entertainment Management. On behalf of the British Council, she taught a writing residency in Colombo and performed at Galle Literature Festival (2019). She was one of twelve poets commissioned from BBC and Forward Arts Foundation to write the North West Poem for National Poetry Day 2018. Nicole has performed and taught spoken word and performance both nationally and internationally, as part of Young Identity and as a solo performer and practitioner. Nicole received a fellowship and established AndWhat TV.
Davina Shah graduated with a degree in Psychology and a Post Graduate Diploma in Work and Organisational Psychology from the University of Nottingham, where she was Production Co-ordinator of the student theatre company. She worked at the Royal Exchange Theatre for a year as Trainee Producer/General Manager on an ITC training programme. Davina worked in a variety of successive roles in Theatre Administration, Planning & Producing for Hampstead Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre in London. She has also worked as a freelance producer for companies including: Digital Theatre, DryWrite, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, Nabokov, Paines Plough, Theatre 503, Theatre Royal Stratford East & Shakespeare’s Globe. She has been a reader for the Bruntwood Prize and previously sat on the Board of Directors of the Independent Theatre Council. Davina has been a theatrical agent since 2011, representing writers and creatives, predominantly in Theatre, but also covering Dance, Opera, Film, Television and Commercial work. She launched her own agency, TEAM, in 2020.
Ellen Flood is a solicitor with over 30 years experience. She currently works as Chief Legal Officer for a digital advertising business. She is a Trustee of Caritas Care, a charity which provides a wide range of services including adoption, fostering, disability support services and ex-offenders programmes.
Housed in one of the most beautiful buildings in the city, you need only step inside to begin a journey into the world of the Royal Exchange Theatre. Come on in, see what makes us tick and share in our excitement for the future.
Are you interested in joining the Royal Exchange Theatre team and becoming part of a company that celebrates the power of creativity? Would you like to work with artists and communities from across Greater Manchester supporting original new work created for our unique spaces?
The Royal Exchange team is made up of both permanent staff and a host of freelancer makers and practitioners from actors, stage management, creative teams and technicians. The Governing body of the Royal Exchange Theatre company is the Board whose members are non-executive and unpaid.
We encourage as many people as possible to get involved in the work of the Theatre. Here you'll find the latest job listings, but you may also be interested in volunteering or our latest projects.
We welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons; however, some communities are currently under-represented within our organisation. We would particularly welcome applications from anyone identifying as ethnically diverse and/or disabled.