Exchange Plans Six, Major & Expectations in 2004Date: 20 January 2004
Manchesterís Royal Exchange kicks off its 2004 spring/summer season next month, with highlights including revivals Great Expectations, Major Barbara, Six Degrees of Separation and The Importance of Being Earnest in the main house, alongside a trio of premieres in the studio.
The schedule opens, from 25 February until 12 April 2004, with the Dickensí classic Great Expectations. This new version is adapted for the stage by James Maxwell and the Royal Exchange, and directed by Jacob Murray. Murray's other Exchange credits include last November's Sanctuary Lamp by Tom Murphy and The Dead Wait.
This is followed - from 14 April to 8 May 2004 - by American playwright John Guare's 1990 play, Six Degrees of Seperation. Based on a true story, it tells of Paul, a streetwise young black man who charms his way into the home of the Kittredges, a wealthy white New York couple. Theyíre art dealers on the verge of clinching a fortune. He claims to be a college friend of their children and the son of Sidney Poitier. But is he? This production marks the return of director Michael Buffong, who directed last year's critically acclaimed On My Birthday as part of the Mandela's Land season.
George Bernard Shaw's 1905 piece about a Salvation Army major who has to accept money from unlikely sources to keep her mission going, Major Barbara, runs from 12 May to 19 June 2004. Itís directed by Exchange joint artistic director Greg Hersov. The final main house production of the season is Oscar Wilde's 1895 The Importance of Being Earnest from 23 June to 7 August, which will be directed by fellow artistic director Braham Murray.
Running concurrently with Great Expectations in the studio is Coyote on a Fence (24 March to 10 April), which is written by Bruce Graham and directed by Sarah Esdaile. Itís followed by Linda Brogan's Basil and Beattie (21 April to 8 May), co-produced with North West Playwrights and directed by Sarah Frankcom, and the world premiere of Amanda Daltonís Dog Boy (3 to 19 June), directed by Jacob Murray.
In July 2004, the studio will also host Write#2, the second phase in a New Writing competition for 16- to 25-year-olds, and Blue, an initiative to support local performers.
- by Hannah Kennedy