The need to fill seats in times of economic hardship is inevitably going to promote caution and lead the theatre to want to host productions that have been successful in the past . But it also could lead to complacency. It's not as if the Exchange has exhausted all options.
Relatively ‘modern’ playwrights like Stoppard, Griffiths, Bennett and Churchill have been shamefully neglected for years.The use of ‘ classic’ writers need not be limited to the obvious but could be widened to include. say, Webster. And when are they going to do Richard III for pity’s sake?
With the Library Theatre currently operating out of town and the Contact Theatre pursuing increasingly specialist audiences, we need the Exchange to not only keep the standard of local theatre high but also to make sure that it is fresh and interesting. There is the risk of a fine theatre becoming a kind of ‘ Royal Exchange Gold’ and offering up programmes which are of intrinsic value but have been seen many times before.
- Dave Cunningham