Manchester’s Royal Exchange has announced a new season of shows through to March 2024.
The season kicks off with Great Expectations, a reworked adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic, brought to life by director Pooja Ghai and award-winning writer Tanika Gupta. Set in Bengal in 1903, against the backdrop of British colonial rule, the fresh take on the beloved story delves into themes of caste and race. Ghai expresses her excitement, stating, “This adaptation of a classic by Tanika Gupta is just pure genius. You’ll get to see the familiar Dickens framework, but it comes with a twist – beautifully set against a colonial backdrop of 1903 Bengal, India.”
Following Great Expectations, the Royal Exchange Theatre presents “Romeo & Juliet,” directed by Nicholai La Barrie, making his debut at the theatre. La Barrie’s retelling of Shakespeare’s iconic love story promises to capture the vitality and diversity of Manchester, drawing inspiration from his interactions with young people in the city. La Barrie explains, “The thing that excites me most about directing Romeo and Juliet is about taking this epic story and making it personal, making it feel like these characters live with you, live near you, like you really know them.”
Over Christmas, former artistic director Sarah Frankcom returns to the Royal Exchange Theatre with her adaptation of Emma Rice’s acclaimed musical production of Noël Coward’s Brief Encounter. Frankcom shares her enthusiasm, saying: “I’m excited about finding a theatricality and atmosphere in the Exchange that does full justice to one of the greatest love stories ever told and celebrates an extraordinary connection between two very ordinary people.”
The season concludes next spring with the world premiere of Phoebe Eclair-Powell’s Shed: Exploded View, winner of the prestigious Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting in 2019. Directed by Atri Banerjee, the play delves into the themes of violence, love, and loss, exploring the lives of three couples over three decades. Eclair-Powell explained: “I am so excited to have my play on at the incredible and legendary Royal Exchange. After delaying the play due to COVID and lockdown, I feel really lucky to get to dust it off and put it on with this brilliant team and to hopefully bring something startling to the stage.”