The Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester has announced its spring/summer 2020 season, the last one to be programmed by outgoing artistic director Sarah Frankcom.
The season features Winsome Pinnock's Alfred Fagon-winning play Rockets and Blue Lights, Tim Foley's Electric Rosary, RashDash's Oh Mother, Jack Thorne's adaptation of Let the Right One In and Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie. These productions will join the return of West Side Story, starring Andy Coxon and Gabriela García.
Pinnock's Rockets and Blue Lights will play in the theatre from 12 March to 4 April, with a press night on 17 March. As the winner of the 2018 Alfred Fagon Award, it tells of the impact that Great Britain had on the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The Royal Exchange Theatre itself was once one of the world's largest cotton exchanges and so has a strong relationship with Pinnock's narrative. Miranda Cromwell (Death of a Salesman) directs in both hers and Pinnock's debuts at the venue. Full casting and creative team is still to be announced.
The Stage Debut Award-winning director Atri Banerjee returns to direct a new interpretation of Williams' The Glass Menagerie, an autobiographical work that examines the complex family dynamics of a suffocating family life. The show plays in the theatre from 5 June until 4 July, with a press night on 10 June and a full cast and creative team to be announced at a future date.
As a 2017 Bruntwood Award-winning play, Foley's Electric Rosary is set in a time where nuns are scarce and robots are commonplace. It examines faith, humanity and how artificial intelligence influences what we choose to believe in. The production will be directed by Elizabeth Freestone and will run from 15 June to 4 July in the studio, with a press night on 18 June. The full cast and creative team will be announced at a later date.
Thorne's adaptation of Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist will play at the theatre from 9 July to 8 August, with a press night on 14 July. Directed by Royal Exchange joint artistic director Bryony Shanahan, it focusses on two teenage outsiders who are drawn to each other despite being centuries apart. The vampiric story has gained a cult status around the world and will announce its full cast and creative team soon.
Oh Mother by RashDash follows on from their award-winning Three Sisters, a story featuring the performers' mothers. It explores motherhood and the perceived importance of having a baby from 16 July to 1 August in the studio.
The newly announced productions join West Side Story, returning following its sold-out run earlier this year. With choreography by Aletta Collins and orchestrations by Jason Carr, it plays from 18 April to 30 May, with a press night on 22 April. Directed by Sarah Frankcom and remounted by associate director Banerjee, Coxon and García will return to play Tony and Maria respectively.
Artistic directors Shanahan and Roy Alexander Weise commented: "The season is a powerful reflection of everything the Exchange has become in the last five years under Sarah's leadership. It champions the importance of new plays and the power the playwright has to redefine our stories, it encourages artists to make work at scale and it highlights how valuable it is to support the future of our industry to be ambitious and brave in
the work they make. We are very excited to support and celebrate this brilliant season while we work towards creating our own."