Theatre News

New Royal Exchange season announced

Highlights include a revival starring Daniel Rigby and a production with Graeae Theatre Company

Daniel Rigby will star in Breaking the Code (from October) whilst Kaisa Hammarlund will play Charity Valentine in Sweet Chairty (from December)
Daniel Rigby will star in Breaking the Code (from October) whilst Kaisa Hammarlund will play Charity Valentine in Sweet Chairty (from December)
© Dan Wooller

Ahead of their 40th anniversary celebrations in September, the Royal Exchange have announced their new season.

Kicking the season off will be Katherine Soper's 2015 Bruntwood Prize winning play Wish List, running from 24 September to 15 October in The Studio. A collaboration with the Royal Court Theatre, the production is directed by Matthew Xia and explores life at the bottom of the pile and the helpless uncertainty of zero-hours contracts.

The previously announced production of A Streetcar Named Desire starring Maxine Peake will then run from 8 to 15 October.

As part of Manchester's year as European City of Science, B!rth – a global festival of theatre and debate – will take place from 19 to 22 October. Seven new plays from seven female writers across the world have been commissioned to provoke challenging debate.

Up next will be Breaking the Code directed by new Sheffield Theatres artistic director Robert Hastie and starring BAFTA winner Daniel Rigby. Based on Alan Turing who famously cracked the German Enigma code, the mathematician's life will be explored in the revival of Hugh Whitemore's play (28 October to 19 November).

Over the festive period, Derek Bond (Little Shop of Horrors) will bring his production of the classic Broadway musical Sweet Charity to the Exchange. Including songs such as "Big Spender" and "Rhythm of Life", the show will star Kaisa Hammarlund as Charity Valentine and will be choreographed by Aletta Collins (3 December 2016 to 21 January 2017).

Elsewhere in the season, the Exchange team up with Graeae Theatre Company for Jenny Sealey's production of The House of Bernada Alba which will star Kathryn Hunter. Jo Clifford's translation of Federico García Lorca's comic tragedy will run from 2 to 25 February.

Artistic director Sarah Frankcom said: "This season I cannot wait to get back into a rehearsal room with Maxine Peake as we explore the complexities of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire. I'm thrilled to welcome Rob Hastie to the Exchange with his interpretation of a Manchester story in Breaking the Code. Our seven new commissions for B!rth have already started an international debate about inequality in healthcare and at Christmas Sweet Charity will push the boundaries of our physical space as we bring Broadway to Manchester. In our first co-production with Graeae, The House of Bernada Alba, we create theatre in-the-round which is innovative in its accessibility."