Theatre News

Frankenstein and new Maxine Peake play in Royal Exchange 2018 season

Michael Boyd will also direct a production of ”The Cherry Orchard”

Maxine Peake will star in Happy Days at the Royal Exchange, Manchester
Maxine Peake will star in Happy Days at the Royal Exchange, Manchester

Manchester's Royal Exchange has announced its spring/summer 2018 season, with highlights including a new adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and a new play from Maxine Peake.

The season opens with April De Angelis' new version of Frankenstein (9 March to 7 April). 200 years after the novel was originally published Matthew Xia's production stars Shane Zaza and will ask questions about identity, responsibility and ambition in modern-day Britain.

In a co-production with Bristol Old Vic, former RSC artistic director Michael Boyd will then present Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard (19 April to 19 May) in a new translation by Rory Mullarkey.

Maxine Peake will reunite with Exchange AD Sarah Frankcom for a new production of Samuel Beckett's Happy Days from 25 May to 23 June. This will be followed by a brand-new play by Peake – her first for the Manchester theatre – called Queens of the Coal Age. Directed by Bryony Shanahan, the true story follows four women in the Parkside Colliery pit as they make a stand for each other and their way of life. The co-production with the New Vic Theatre runs from 28 June to 21 July.

In the Studio, Yellow Earth and Black Theatre Live present Mountains: The Dreams of Lily Kwok (22 March to 7 April), a new adaptation of restauranteur Helen Tse's family memoir, written by In-Sook Chappell and directed by Jennifer Tang. RashDash present their energetic response to Chekhov’s Three Sisters from 3 to 19 May; and the theatre's Young Company present Mixtape (11 to 14 April) – part musical, part gig, part play, the piece is directed by Matt Hassall and exploring what it means to live in Manchester today.

On the new season, Frankcom said: "The stories this season are about ordinary people, our family, friends and neighbours, and the lengths they go to find themselves in an increasingly complex world.

"Our in-the-round space brings audience members into the middle of these stories, making the ordinary seem extraordinary and creating a space for reflection, celebration and conversation – it is this that makes theatre so important today, and why the theatre we are making should always reflect the here and now."