A Royal Exchange Theatre and National Theatre co-production.


Directed by Marianne Elliott. Starring Anne-Marie Duff.

  • By D H Lawrence. Adapted by Ben Power.
  • 19 February 2016 - 19 March 2016
  • The Theatre

It’s risky work, handlin’ men, my lass. For when a woman builds ’er life on men, either ’usbands or sons, she builds on summat as sooner or later brings the ’ouse down crash on ’er head.

The village of Eastwood sits in the shadow of the great Brinsley pit. Its women are wives, mothers and daughters trying to hold their families and their own souls together.

Interweaving three of Lawrence’s greatest dramas, Husbands & Sons introduces us to the now-vanished world in which he grew up. A community built on manual labour, working class pride and fierce tenderness.

Marianne Elliott (War Horse, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) returns to the Exchange with a cast that includes Anne-Marie Duff and Joe Armstrong (Miss Julie) for this major co-production with the National Theatre.

“This is a story about the uncomplicated identity of men clashing with the trapped, frustrated and aspiring souls of these women. I know the Royal Exchange of old. I trained here if you like! It remains in my mind the greatest space for theatre and I’m extremely excited to be returning.” Marianne Elliott, Director

  • Event Information
  • VENUE: The Theatre

    PERFORMANCE DATES: Friday 19 February - Saturday 19 March 2016

    Monday – Saturday evenings, 7pm
    Thursday & Saturday matinees, 1.30pm 

    Extra Performances:
    Tuesday 1 March, 5pm (no 7pm performance that evening)
    Tuesday 8 March, 1.30pm (no 7pm performance that evening)

    View all times & dates

    Standard tickets from £16 
    Half price previews from £8.50 
    Seats released on the day £10  

    View all ticket prices

    BOOK TICKETS: Box Office 0161 833 9833 / online  

    How to book

    RUNNING TIME: Approx 3 hours including one interval

  • Creative Team
  • DIRECTOR Marianne Elliott

    DESIGNER Bunny Christie




    MUSIC Adrian Sutton

    SOUND DESIGNER Ian Dickinson

    FIGHT DIRECTOR Kate Waters

  • Related Events
  • After Show Discussion... HUSBANDS & SONS
    Monday 14 March 2016, following 7pm show
    Tickets not needed. To book tickets for 7pm show click here.

    Our after show discussions are a chance to see the latest production in a whole new light. After the performance, members of the cast and creative team return to the stage to answer questions from the audience - why not join the discussion, ask your own questions and enjoy an insider's glimpse into the production process? 

    Panel Discussion
    Marianne Elliott in conversation with Sarah Frankcom
    Monday 14 March 2016, 1pm-2pm
    Ticket prices: £5 Book Tickets: 0161 833 9833 / online

    Join the acclaimed Director of HUSBANDS & SONS and the Royal Exchange's Artistic Director as they talk about the production and consider what sparks their imaginations, what it means to be a female director, and how they feel about working in the Exchange's unique theatre space. MORE INFORMATION

    School Workshop, Friday 11 March, 10.30am-12pm
    £150 per workshop.  Maximum 30 Students.  To book click here

    This stimulating workshop will guide students through a practical exploration of HUSBANDS & SONS. Led by an experienced actor from the cast, students will learn a variety of acting techniques and how the production was made.  Please note: EXPLORE workshops can take place at your school as well as at the theatre.

    Between the Lines… HUSBANDS & SONS
    Wednesday 9 March 2016, 11am-1pm
    Ticket prices: £6 per session
    Book Tickets: 0161 833 9833 / online

    Between The Lines is our playreading and creative discussion group for everyone over 18, designed to accompany productions in the Theatre. At each session we choose a play that is connected in some way to the production, giving participants the chance to read a part, share their ideas and thoughts and gain a news perspective on the latest production. (Sessions do not require everyone to read aloud)

    Introducing… HUSBANDS & SONS
    Thursday 3 March 2016, 10am-11am
    Ticket prices: £6 per session / £4 concessions
    Book Tickets: 0161 833 9833 (individuals) or 0161 615 6702 (schools and groups) / online

    Meet Jo Shepstone, Head of Wigs and Make-up at the Royal Exchange Theatre, as she teaches us how to transform actors into miners through the use of specially made soot! This will be followed by a glimpse into the rehearsal processes used to create the world of DH Lawrence with two performers from the show.

    Introducings are pre-show, talk-based introductions to each play and production, for up to 100 people. Led from the stage by the Participation and Learning team, participants will meet actors and members of the creative team and learn all about the process of bringing the play to the stage. These sessions are suitable for groups, schools and individual audience members.

    Theatre Café… HUSBANDS & SONS
    Thursday 17 March 2016, 11.30am-1pm
    Ticket prices: £3 per session and includes one hot drink
    Book Tickets: 0161 833 9833 / online

    Theatre Café is a chance to talk about the work we stage here, the state of British theatre and why we make theatre at all. At each session we pose a question that somehow links to the show currently in production. The session starts with informal table conversations over a hot drink, before the opportunity to take part in a wider group discussion when we will be joined by a theatre guest. This is a chance to meet new people, join the discussion and share your thoughts on what theatre is and should be.

    Unlock… HUSBANDS & SONS
    Thursday 17 March 2016, 5.30pm-7pm
    Ticket prices: £6 per session 
    Book Tickets: 0161 833 9833 / online

    Unlock workshops are for everyone over 18. These practical drama sessions are perfect for those who might be new to theatre or want to learn more about the play they are coming to see. At each session we use practical and creative activities to unlock the central ideas of the play currently in production.

    Wordplay... HUSBANDS & SONS
    Wednesday 2 March 2016, 11am - 1pm
    Tickets prices: £6 per session
    Book tickets: 0161 833 9833 / online

    Wordplay Led by professional writers and theatre makers, Wordplay workshops draw on a selection of plays from our repertoire to gently introduce participants to creative writing, with an emphasis on writing for theatre. Each session explores a different aspect of playwriting, taking inspiration from the current Royal Exchange production.


  • Accessible Performances
  • AUDIO-DESCRIBED PERFORMANCE: Saturday 12 March, 1.30pm

    BSL PERFORMANCE: Tuesday 15 March, 7.00pm. Interpreter Karl Llorca

    CAPTIONED PERFORMANCE: Wednesday 9 March, 7.00pm

    Click here for more information about our accessible performances

  • Luther Gascoigne

    Joe Armstrong

    Joe Gascoigne

    Matthew Barker


    John Biggins

    Maggie Pearson

    Cassie Bradley

    Minnie Gascoigne

    Louise Brealey

    Mrs Gascoigne

    Susan Brown

    Lizzie Holroyd

    Anne-Marie Duff

    Lydia Lambert

    Julia Ford

    Ernest Lambert

    Johnny Gibbon

    Nellie Lambert/Laura

    Tala Gouveia

    Walter Lambert

    Lloyd Hutchinson


    Philip McGinley

    Charles Holroyd

    Martin Marquez

    Gertie Coomer

    Katherine Pearce

    Mrs Purdy/Clara

    Josie Walker


    Sue Wallace

  • ★★★★ 'Perfect. Anne-Marie Duff is superb' The Times

    ★★★★ ‘A magnificent evening’ Independent 

    ★★★★ 'A major miner triumph. Dramatic gold’ Mail on Sunday

    ★★★★ 'Burns with sober intensity. A fine-hewn cast’ Sunday Times

    ★★★★ 'Inspired. A compelling evening’ Daily Telegraph

    ★★★★ 'Brilliantly original. Gorgeous’ Time Out

    ★★★★ 'Compelling performances. Absorbing' Evening Standard

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