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Directed by Raz Shaw. Starring Julie Hesmondhalgh.

  • By Margaret Edson
  • 21 January 2016 - 13 February 2016
  • The Theatre

"I'm like a student and this is the final exam and I don't know what to put down because I don't understand the question and I'm running out of time." Vivian Bearing.

A celebrated but exacting professor of metaphysical poetry, endeavouring to cope with experimental and aggressive treatment for an equally aggressive illness. A towering academic caught between metaphysics, medicine and her own mettle.

Confined to a hospital bed, with her life nearing its final chapter and the memory of her academia past as her coping mechanism, Vivian discovers grace, forgiveness and above all, her true self, in the nick of time.

Pulitzer-prize winning WIT is a striking and sharply funny reflection on the frailty of existence and the complex relationship between knowledge and love. We welcome back Julie Hesmondhalgh to play Vivian Bearing in director Raz Shaw's return to the Royal Exchange.

"Wit, the Royal Exchange and Julie Hesmondhalgh have one thing in common. A huge and palpable heart. The unique and thrilling immediacy of the theatre is a perfect match for Margaret Edson's beautiful story of grace and transformation.  Throw Julie into the mix and you have a magical theatrical triumvirate. I am thrilled to be at its helm." Raz Shaw

  • Event Information
  • VENUE: The Theatre

    PERFORMANCE DATES: Thursday 21 January - Saturday 13 February 2016 


    Tuesday – Saturday evenings: 7.30pm

    Thursday & Saturday matinees: 2.30pm (no matinee Thursday 21 and Saturday 23 January)

    Extra Performances: Monday 25 January, 7.30pm, Sunday 7 February, 2.30pm and Tuesday 9 February, 2.30pm


    Standard Tickets from £16

    Half Price Previews from £8

    Banquette Tickets: £10

    BOOK TICKETS: Box Office 01618339833 / online

    RUNNING TIME: Approx 1 hour and 40 minutes with no interval

  • Creative Team
  • WRITER Margaret Edson

    DIRECTOR Raz Shaw

    DESIGNER Hannah Clark


    SOUND DESIGNER Mark Melville

    MOVEMENT Georgina Lamb

  • Related Events
  • After Show Discussion... WIT
    Thursday 4 February 2016 following 7.30pm performance
    Tickets not needed. To book tickets for 7.30pm 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: WIT: Making Art out of Illness 
    Saturday 6 February, 12noon - 1pm
    Ticket Prices: £5
    Book Tickets: 0161 833 9833 or

    Join us in the Theatre for an uplifting, thought-provoking lunchtime discussion with panellists Dr Sheila McCormick (Lecturer in Performance at University of Salford), Josh Coates (theatre-maker and Royal Exchange Theatre Supported Artist), and Dr Katherine Taylor (Arts for Health at Manchester Metropolitan University).

    Backstage Tours... WIT
    Tuesday 2 February 2016, 11am (Individuals) and Wednesday 3 February 2016 , 11am (Groups)
    Ticket Prices: £5
    Book Tickets: 0161 833 9833

    Areas covered by tours include the Great Hall, production departments, backstage areas, dressing rooms and The Studio. All tours share the fascinating history of the Royal Exchange building and the Theatre Company while offering real insight into the production process.

    Between the Lines… WIT
    Wednesday 10 February 2016, 11am-1pm
    Ticket prices: £6 per session / £4 concessions
    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… WIT
    Thursday 4 February 2016, 10.30am-12noon
    Ticket prices: £6 per session / £4 concessions
    Book Tickets: 0161 833 9833 (individuals) or 0161 615 6702 (schools and groups) 

    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… WIT
    Thursday 11 February 2016, 11am-12.30pm
    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… WIT
    Thursday 4 February 2016, 5pm-6.30pm
    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.

  • Accessible Performances
  • AUDIO-DESCRIBED: Saturday 6 February, 2.30pm

    BSL-INTERPRETED PERFORMANCE: Friday 12 February, 7.30pm. Interpreter: Alex McDonald

    CAPTIONED PERFORMANCE: Thursday 11 February, 7.30pm

    Click here for more information about our accessible performances

  • Jason Posner, M.D

    Esh Alladi

    Lab Technicians / Students / Residents

    Niki Angus Campbell

    Lab Technicians / Students / Residents

    Okorie Chukwu

    Dr Vivian Bearing PH.D

    Julie Hesmondhalgh

    Harvey Kelekian, M.D / Mr Bearing

    Tom Hodgkins

    Lab Technicians / Students / Residents

    Haruka Kuroda

    E.M. Ashford, D.PHIL.

    Julie Legrand

    Susie Monahan, R.N., B.S.N.

    Jenny Platt

Join the Discussion