Fresh from his success with the West End hit Constellations, Michael Longhurst is set to direct at the Royal Exchange with Rory Mullarkey’s new play Cannibals next month.

The play tackles big themes of love, death and consumerism in the 21st century. It sees its central character Lizaveta carried on a nightmare journey from a war-torn ex-Soviet state to the streets of Manchester. Her simple farm life is ripped apart and she has to run. Her quest to start again leads her through mud and blood, past holy fools and icon painters, to things she has never imagined.

This is  Manchester playwright Rory Mullarkey’s first full-length play. It was written while he was Pearson Playwright in Residence at the Royal Exchange in 2011. Director Michael Longhurst has recent credits which include Jake Gyllenhaal’s American stage debut in New York and the award-winning Constellations at the Royal Court and in the West End.

The cast includes Ony Uhiara, as Lizaveta¸ whose previous theatre credits include work for the RSC, The Royal Court and The Tricycle. The cast also includes Simon Armstrong, last seen at the Exchange as CSM Rivers in The Accrington Pals; Ricky Champ, and Tricia Kelly, whose previous RET credits include The Gatekeeper and Laurence Spellman.

Appearing alongside the cast is a 24-strong team of supernumeraries comprising local drama students and members of the theatre’s Friends Organisation.

The production is designed by Chloe Lamford, with lighting by David Holmes, sound design by Peter Rice, with music composed by Simon Slater and movement by Imogen Knight.

Cannibals is at the Royal Exchange from 3 - 27 April.