Theatre News

Manchester Royal Exchange announces new season

Highlights include Maxine Peake in ”The Skriker”, the acclaimed ”Pomona” and a revival of ”Into the Woods”

Maxine Peake in a publicity image for The Skriker
Maxine Peake in a publicity image for The Skriker

The new season at Manchester's Royal Exchange will include The Skriker starring Maxine Peake, the regional premiere of Pomona and new plays from Bruntwood Prize winners Alistair McDowall and Luke Norris. There will also be major revivals of Arthur Miller's The Crucible and Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods.

"I am thrilled to announce our new season – a season with access, collaboration and new voices at its heart," said artistic director Sarah Frankcom.

As previously announced, the season opens with Frankcom's latest collaboration with Maxine Peake, a production of Caryl Churchill's 1994 play The Skriker, which runs from 1 July to 1 August 2015 as part of Manchester International Festival.

It's followed on the main stage by The Crucible (18 September-24 October), which runs in Miller's centenary year. Director Caroline Steinbeis said: "The Crucible was the first play I ever performed in a school, aged 12. Revisiting Miller over 20 years later, it is with shock and awe that I am shown again how close we all stand to the abyss."

Next up is the Manchester-set Pomona (29 October-21 November), Alistair McDowall's dystopian play that premiered to acclaim at the Orange Tree Theatre last year.

The Christmas production is Into the Woods, Stephen Sondheim's 1987 fairytale musical that was recently adapted for the big screen. Directed by Matthew Xia, designed by Jenny Tiramani and with choreography by Jason Pennycooke (Memphis), it runs from 4 December to 16 January.

And rounding off the season in the main house is Wit by Margaret Edson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning play about the final hours of a celebrated professor of poetry. Directed by Raz Shaw, it runs from 21 January to 13 February 2016.

The season in the studio includes So Here We Are (5 September-10 October) by Luke Norris, winner of the 2013 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting. Directed by Steven Atkinson, it's billed as "a play about what can happen when nothing happens."

Sarah Franckom added: "This season presents a series of firsts for us a company – with Sunday performances; our first relaxed performance; and the opening of our third performance space at Swan Street Studios, where our associate director Matthew Xia will oversee a programme which will support emerging talent from across our region."