Currently housing the well reviewed Pygmalion in the main house, Manchester’s Royal Exchange Studio is getting ready for some Monkey business in June with a new play by Amanda Dalton; Monkey Business.

While her brother is away fighting in the army, 12-year old Stella spends a lot of time hiding out in her wasteland kingdom on the edge of the woods, defending her armchair castle. Some days her life feels like a battle, especially with 10-year old Neighbour Worm pretend fighting with her brother’s treasured toy soldiers.

As Stella and Worm try to escape to their own retreats, they start to notice some weird things in the woods, almost like they’re being watched! On the news, war seems a million miles away, but if there is something in the woods, how long can
Stella defend her kingdom – her place?

Powder Monkey is written by Royal Exchange Associate Director and Head of Education Amanda Dalton who is also an acclaimed poet and playwright. Theatre credits for the Royal Exchange include the adaptations of Strawgirl (from the children’s novel by Jackie Kay), Dogboy, and Secret Heart (from the novel by David Almond).

Director Matt Peover assisted on the transfer of Sam West’s Dealer's Choice into Trafalgar Studio 1 (2007/08) and attended Cis Berry's two week director's workshop at the RSC in 2009. The play's designer is James Cotterill and the creative team is completed by Lighting Designer Richard Owen and Sound Designer Claire Windsor.

The cast includes Alisha Bailey as the child solider and refugee AK. Alisha has just graduated from the Central School of Speech and Drama and recent credits include Missing and Doctor Who. Also making his debut at the Exchange, playing the role of Worm, is Matthew Abram, who has just graduated from LAMDA. And returning to the Exchange to play the role of Stella is Niamh Quinn, whose credits include Macbeth and The Children's Hour.

The World Premiere of Powder Monkey runs from Thursday 3 June to Saturday 19 June.