In August 2019 The DEN was built for the first time in Stalybridge Civic Hall to host the first Local Exchange Festival. 

TheDEN Stalybridge 800x400px

The Den is the Royal Exchange’s brand new pop-up theatre - a space-within-a-space, this is a playful and fun creative hub where people can share, learn and make. It’s part of Local Exchange – which sees the Royal Exchange Theatre resident in communities across Greater Manchester.

Celebrating Imagination over two weeks, THE DEN @ STALYBRIDGE CIVIC HALL shared 17 performances, 4 workshops, a stakeholder event and an artist mixer resulting in 910 attendances (77% of all seats available)

Performances included THERE IS A LIGHT THAT NEVER GOES OUT: SCENES FROM THE LUDDITE REBELLION, new Young Company show UTOPIA, 3 Co:Lab shows chosen by Ambassadors, Stalybridge Old Band, a children’s show and The Story Den.

The first performance in THE DEN was A TAMESIDE STORY, which brought together 4 different Creactive Learning & Engagement projects that had worked with 48 residents of Tameside to create performances reflecting their communities and a film made by our 13 Tameside Ambassadors who hosted the evening as well as the Stakeholder event. The event also showcased Global Grooves, a carnival arts organisation in Tameside as well as other CLE projects including a playlist created by residents of Cavendish Mill and front of house was managed by a group from Tameside Women’s Centre.

Here are just a few of the many fantastic things our audiences had to say:

"Fabulous idea, thank you for supporting our lovely town with this innovative range of activities.”

'it’s bringing local community into the theatre which is where it should be. It makes art accessible to all!”

"It happened here. It’s happening now. One of the best theatre feelings ever!”

"It’s a great experience. So good to see some fantastic theatre locally. A real boost for Stalybridge and theatre!” 

Stamford Park


  • A TAMESIDE STORY – created by the community

    Tuesday 13 August, 7pm

    Royal Exchange artists and the residents of Tameside have been collaborating to make original pieces of theatre that tell stories that reflect their communities. Hosted by the Royal Exchange Tameside Ambassadors this celebratory evening includes work from an intergenerational physical theatre group, youth groups, Age UK Tameside and live music from Global Grooves.

    Tickets: By Invitation Only

    Created by James Yeatman and Lauren Mooney

    Thursday 15 August, 7pm | Friday 16 August, 2pm & 7pm (captioned)

    Fresh from the Royal Exchange Theatre - the story of the Luddites brought bang up to date.

    It’s the early 1800s, Manchester is one of the most advanced cities in the world – but workers are being side-lined for profit. It’s time to come together, it is time for rebellion – but with spies in the midst who can be trusted?



    [M]OTHERS - Created & performed by Christopher Brown, Yandass Ndlovu, Helen Andrew & Jordan Skelly

    Tuesday 20 August, 6pm

    A disruptive pop-up performance that mixes poetry with movement and dance.

    A combination of verbatim material and autobiographical stories. [M]Others is exploring our relationships with the word Mother and its meanings.

    A FAST ONE - Written & performed by Ali Wilson, Dramaturgy by Amy Lawrence, Supported by Leentji Van de Cruys & Kate Daley (Double bill with GRIEVE. BREATHE. SMILE. REPEAT)

    Tuesday 20 August, 7pm

    An old wise man sits crossed legged on a rock by the sea. As the sun goes down, he whispers to the world: when I shanghai you, you’ll wake up at sea, working for me. An 18-year-old finds herself in love with someone who wants to ruin her. A group of people gather in one place to be entertained. A dog barks.

    FastOne 800x400px

    GRIEVE. BREATHE. SMILE. REPEAT. - Created by SHAR X Conan The Librarian, Performers Charlotte Barber & Ryan Gilmartin, Dramaturgy by James Monaghan. (Double bill with A FAST ONE)

    Tuesday 20 August, 7pm

    When did you last miss me? My birthday? Christmas?

    This is about grieving for people who are still alive. Someone who is here in body but not in spirit. It’s called ambiguous grief, but where is its place, what is the experience? Stand and be enveloped in an audio-visual experience through the seven stages of grief, with you stood at the heart of it. This is something more than “I miss you”.

    Grieve 800x400px

    UTOPIA - After Thomas More, created by the Young Company with text by Chris Thorpe, directed by Atri Banerjee. (Double bill with MANCHESTER)

    Thursday 22 August, 7pm - 8pm | Friday 23 August, 7pm - 8pm | Saturday 24 August, 3pm - 4pm (captioned) & 7pm - 8pm. 

    The award-winning Royal Exchange Theatre Young Company present their brand new show UTOPIA. Half a millennium after Thomas More wrote Utopia they re-imagine this classic for today – and ask what does Utopia mean for us now? And what does it mean in our future?

    Utopia New 800x400px

    Reading of MANCHESTER - Andy Sheridan will perform a reading from the play by Chris Thorpe, which was part of THE MYSTERIES play cycle, performed at the Royal Exchange Theatre October 2018 and on tour. (Double bill with UTOPIA)

    Friday 23 August, 8.15pm  

    If one of our own does something terrible, how can we still claim them as one of our own?


    Saturday 17 August, 12pm - 3pm. DROP-IN EVENT, NO NEED TO BOOK

    Want to have a go at building you own mini Den? Then join us for this hands-on, practical workshop where you can get creative and make the perfect hideaway. Suitable for all ages.


    Saturday 17 & 24 August, 11am

    Storytelling sessions from some very special guests guests including Coronation Street stars Sally Dynevor, Julie Hesmondhalgh and Tupele Dorgu plus Alex Williams and Haiesha Mistry from Hollyoaks and Manchester comedian Justin Moorhouse. Get comfortable and lose yourself in an adventure as hey share their favourite stories and captivating tales.

    Suitable for under 10s.

    THE GOOSE WHO FLEW - Presented by Half Moon, A Lots of Odds Theatre production for ages 3 - 7

    Friday 23 August, 12.30pm & 2.30pm

    Goose loves the summer, playing with his family and friends, but soon it is time for him to fly south for the winter. As his journey begins, things are not as they should be.

    Using charming storytelling, simple puppetry and an assortment of quirky characters, this is a heartfelt story about the importance of compassion, community and understanding.

    Goose 800x400px

  • THERE IS A LIGHT: Workshop with Dramaturg

    Friday 16 August, 11am - 2.00pm

    Explore the performance, provocations and processes of how THERE IS A LIGHT THAT NEVER GOES OUT was made.

    This hands-on workshop gives you the chance to become the performers and work together with Dramaturg, Lauren Mooney.


    Friday 23 August, 11am - 12.45pm

    Creative Writing with the Mossley Writers as part of the 200 anniversary of Peterloo.

    Suitable for ages 16+


    Friday 23 August, 1.15pm - 3pm

    Join creative artist Pat Baker, to make and explore together through visual art creation.

    Suitable for ages 16+


    Saturday 24 August, 12.15pm - 1.45pm

    A workshop for ages 5 - 10 years old.

    Discover our Children's Company sessions with a little taster of PLAY.


    Friday 16 August, 5.30pm

    Come along and meet local artists from all disciplines for a good chat over a drink. This informal event is the chance to share ideas and exchange opportunities with other artists from across Tameside.

    It’s free to attend but to give us an idea of numbers please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to register your interest.


    Saturday 17 August, 8pm 

    Peterloo Anniversary Concert. Tickets £6 – available on the door.


2013 USE THIS ONE ARTS COUNCIL LOGO WITH lottery black      GMCA Black logo expanded   Oglesby Charitable Trust Colour 2




Jigsaw Foundation      granada logo CMYK     John Thaw Foundation

 The Victoria Wood Foundation   
 Beaverbrooks Charitable Trust  

 The D'Oyly Carte Charitable Trust     Garratts Solicitors



We would also like to thank our Patrons, Members and anonymous donors whose ongoing gifts to the theatre make this work possible.