Come round ours! We’d love to see you.
If you’re in Manchester’s city centre then why not pop in and visit one of the most unique theatres in the country. Housed inside the Royal Exchange, a stunning Grade II listed building built in the 1800s, our space-ship like theatre is a complete contrast to the magnificent marble columns and stunning glass domes of the original building.
Whether you simply want to come in to admire the architecture, grab a coffee, get some lunch, or just sit and read your book, our huge Great Hall has space for everyone.
Lounge and Exhibitions
You might also want to check out our public lounge, a warm and welcoming space for families to take some time out from the hustle and bustle of the city, there are books to read and games to play.
And while you’re here you can always take a look at our exhibitions which can be found around the great hall.
When the hall becomes backstage
Sometimes you might drop-in and find us in the middle of a technical rehearsal for our next show. This is the perfect time to take a seat in the Rivals and take in what happens backstage as we build and create our on-stage work. You might get to see the actors running in and out, big set changes, music and lighting cues. We might be the only theatre in the country where our café becomes backstage!
You’ll find us at: Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester M2 7DH.
There are entrances at St Ann’s Square (step-free access, with a lift directly to the Great Hall), and on Cross Street.
Visiting Us FAQs
What time should I arrive?
The theatre and café will be open from 11am, Monday – Saturday, so feel free to arrive as early as you like and enjoy a drink and/or bit to eat before the show.
If you are coming to watch a show, we recommend arrivng around half an hour before the show starts, which is also when the theatre auditorium opens and you’ll be able to take your seats.
Generally, evening performances start at 7.30pm and matinees start at 2.30pm but for our end of Summer show UNTITLED F*CK M*SS S**GON PLAY, there are a number of Sunday performances that start at 2pm.
To check what time (and date) you have booked for, you can check your online account and once logged in, scroll down to the option ‘E-Tickets’ and all your current and past e-tickets will be here. If your tickets aren’t here or there is a problem downloading them, please contact our Visitor Experience Team.
Where is the nearest car park?
There are over 3000 car parking spaces within a 10 minute walk of the Theatre.
Car parks which are within easy distance of the theatre and offer late opening include:
- Our partnered car park – Q-Park Deansgate
(See below for more information. Please note, part of Deansgate has been pedestrianised so double check your route before leaving)
- High Street multi-storey car park, above the Arndale Centre (1450 spaces)
Manchester Arena car park (1000 spaces)
Please note: due to construction work, some customers are encountering high levels of traffic in the area around the Q Park car park. Please take this into consideration when planning your travel.
Getting to the theatre
Our address is the Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester M2 7DH.
For information on public transport and parking, please see our How To Find Us page
Please note: due to ongoing construction work, and the introduction of ‘BUSES ONLY’ if approaching from Chapel Street, some customers are encountering delays due to queuing traffic in the area surrounding the Q park, car park.
Visitors using the Q Park should only approach the car park from the Great Ducie Street / Victoria Street direction. Please take this into consideration when planning your travel.
Please also be aware that the Q Park is open but may look closed if the automatic security barrier is down as you approach. Please be assured this will lift as you drive up close to the entrance.
Coming into the building
Everyone is welcome at the Royal Exchange Theatre – whether you’re watching a show or just want to nip to the toilet, to simply gaining respite from the city centre.
Pull up a chair, grab a drink (there is free water available) and take in the awe of our spectacular Great Hall!
We have 2 entrances – Cross Street and St Ann’s Square – which will be open from 11am Monday – Saturday.
Both entrances require steps to access the Great Hall and there is a lift at the St Ann’s Square entrance.
Please note, the Great Hall will be closed when there is performance on but you are welcome to move into The Rivals Bar. There will also be occasions where there might be loud music and sounds in the Great Hall as we rehearse our productions.
Toilets (including accessibility and baby-change facilities)
There are two sets of public toilets, including two sets of accessible toilets.
These are located in The Great Hall, either side of Bar Exchange. The male and female toilets are located up the stairs. There is an accessible toilet located on the ground floor. This toilet also contains baby change facilities.
There are gender neutral toilets and accessible toilets in the Studio foyer.
These toilets are labelled with the facilities available i.e. ‘four urinals and one cubicle’ and we ask visitors to use the facilities they prefer.
The Rivals Bar & Cafe
The Rivals Bar and Bar Exchange will both be open, serving a range of drinks including some new craft beers. Pre-order your interval drinks before the show starts to save time later on. And don’t forget that The Rivals Bar is still open after the show so why not enjoy a post-show drink with us.
The Rivals Café is also open every day (besides Sundays) from 11am for hot drinks and snacks, including mulled wine, mince pies, cakes, sandwiches, salads and delicious soups.
Please note – cold drinks are allowed into the module but must be transferred into our reusable eco-friendly plastic glasses (just please remember to return them!)
No glass or ceramic mugs/plates is allowed inside the auditorium and please do not take hot food or hot drinks into the auditorium for safety reason. Thank you.
Can I bring my own food into the building?
Yes, with some exceptions. We ask that the café tables are left for those buying food/drink at the café, and that any hot/smelly/noisy food is not taken into the performance spaces.
Will the restaurant re-open?
We don’t currently have plans to re-open our restaurant.
A range of hot food, sandwiches and cakes are available from our café.
Can I come into the venue during the day?
Yes, we encourage people to come in and use our building during the day. Whether that’s to read a book, use the toilet, have a coffee with friends or even just find a quiet space in the city centre for a breather.
We also have a Lounge space with some comfy seating, books to read and some toys for younger ones.
We also have free WiFi – please search for ‘RET-Company’. The password is: theatre0406
There may be occasions when access to the Great Hall is limited, either due to a matinee performance (usually Wednesday and Saturday afternoons), or a private function.
Do you have a defibrillator on site?
Yes, we have a defibrillator located at the Box Office. Please speak to a member of the Visitor Experience Team if you need it.
Have a ticketing query?
Get in touch
Have a query that's not listed? Our Visitor Experience Team are very happy to help.