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Moorhouse Returns, Beautiful Thing In RET New Season

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An epic Christopher Marlowe play, modern classics by C P Taylor, Jonathan Harvey and Jim  Cartwright, a major collaboration with Told by an Idiot and a return for Manchester funny-man Justin Moorhouse (pictured) are all part of the Royal Exchange Theatre’s newly -announced Autumn – Winter 11/12 Season. The new programme focuses on writers with a distinctive northern voice.

Season opener – Edward 11 by Christopher Marlowe – will be staged by the creative team behind last year’s acclaimed production of Doctor Faustus. Director Toby Frow again teams up with designer Ben Stones to stage Marlowe’s state of the nation tale from Wednesday 7 September to Saturday 8 October 2011.

In this fast-paced political thriller, the young Edward ascends the throne and calls back from exile his beloved childhood ally Piers Gaveston.  But their close relationship throws the court and Edward’s marriage into disarray – threatening to destabilise an entire country.

Award-winning director Polly Findlay takes the helm for a new production of Good by C P Taylor which continues the season from Wednesday 12 October to Saturday 5 November 2011. With recent credits that include Twisted Tales at the Lyric Hammersmith, it marks her directorial debut at the Exchange.

This gripping drama focuses on Professor Halder – a man struggling with an elderly mother, a needy wife and the increasing tendency to hear beautiful music in unexpected places. Set in 1930s Germany, the play is an exploration of how personal morality can be twisted and drawn to a diabolical cause – examining how a good man can find himself increasingly caught up in the Nazi propaganda machine.

Following this, Royal Exchange Artistic Director Sarah Frankcom - whose recent successes include the critically-acclaimed Punk Rock and A View From The Bridge – returns to direct Beautiful Thing by Jonathan Harvey from Wednesday 9 November – Saturday 3 December 2011.

The play finds young Ste needing a refuge from his own fractured family. Neighbour Sandra encourages him to ‘top-and-tail’ with her own son Jamie. Together they both find comedy, warmth and the music of Mama Cass. By turns tough and tender, this touching tale combines fantasy and reality to truly capture what it is to be sixteen, in the first flush of love and full of optimism.  

Christmas at the Exchange is celebrated in frenetic comic style with George S Kaufman and Moss Hart’s screwball comedy You Can't Take It With You, running from Wednesday 7 December 2011 to Saturday 14 January 2012.

The production sees the Exchange collaborating for the first time with uniquely inventive physical theatre company Told by an Idiot to bring Kaufmann and Hart’s classic 1930s Broadway hit to life.

Told by an Idiot’s Artistic Director Paul Hunter directs this wonderfully knockabout comic creation. The action centres on the bohemian Vanderhofs – a family who firmly believe anything goes so long as it makes it you happy. But when granddaughter Alice falls in love with the son of a banker, mayhem ensues as values and philosophy collide head-on.  

Bringing the season to a close, Manchester comedian and actor Justin Moorhouse returns to the Royal Exchange Theatre to star in Two by Farnsworth-born Jim Cartwright.

Last seen in the Exchange’s much-acclaimed 2010 Christmas show Zack, Justin is now set to appear in this stunning theatrical tour-de-force - a witty, stunning and sad play in which two actors explore all the stages of love.

Written in 1989, Two is set somewhere in the North, a landlord and landlady welcome the audience into their pub along with the colourful collection of people who make it their local. Royal Exchange Artistic Director Greg Hersov directs the production which runs from Wednesday 18 January to Saturday 25 February 2012. His many RET credits include The Tempest with Pete Postlethwaite, Pygamilion, and Zack.

Public booking opens for the new season on Monday 13 June. The Studio at the Royal Exchange is to host a season made up exclusively of new work. Full details will be announced shortly but highlights include major collaborations with companies such as Horse + Bamboo, ATC and Paines Plough.


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