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Sarah Frankcom’s Final Season – Stunning New Writing, Fresh Imagination & A Bold Look at the Past

Royal Exchange Theatre

This Spring/Summer season is an inspiring collection of work programmed under the leadership of former Artistic Director Sarah Frankcom. It embraces the energy and power of new writing, staging plays from established, award-winning writers alongside supporting early career playwrights to realise their work for the stage. Dynamic new directors, who are making waves across the industry, will create fresh and ambitious pieces of theatre for today, tackling both new plays and turning their attention to bold interpretations of classic texts. This spring/summer is a powerful and energetic programme of work for audiences in Manchester and beyond.

• ROCKETS AND BLUE LIGHTS is an astonishing new play from the award-winning playwright Winsome Pinnock. Winner of the 2018 Alfred Fagon Award, this stunningly crafted play moves seamlessly between the past and the present and unveils the impact of Great Britain’s role in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Confronting an ugly history head on ROCKETS AND BLUE LIGHTS is performed in the Royal Exchange, once one of the world’s largest cotton exchanges. This powerful play asks…who is it that gets to tell our stories? Straight from the acclaimed Young Vic production of DEATH OF A SALESMAN, the exceptional director Miranda Cromwell brings this epic play to life. A Royal Exchange debut for both writer and director the production previews on 12 March and runs in the Theatre until 4 April.• Following its sold-out run in spring 2019 Sarah Frankcom’s smash-hit WEST SIDE STORY, with choreography from Aletta Collins, returns to the Royal Exchange. Loved by critics and audiences alike this infamous Broadway musical is back in Manchester for 2020. With the return of Andy Coxon as Tony and Gabriela García as Maria and remounted by Associate Director Atri Banerjee this stunning musical is in the Theatre from 18 April – 30 May.

• Alongside remounting WEST SIDE STORY, Stage Debut Award-winning director Atri Banerjee returns to the Exchange to direct Tennessee Williams’ autobiographical classic THE GLASS MENAGERIE. This memory play pulls apart the complex dynamics of a suffocating family life, and shows how unpredictable, painful and volatile memory can be. This bold new interpretation from a brilliant young director opens in the Theatre on 5 June and runs until 4 July.

• A 2017 Bruntwood Award-winning play Tim Foley’s ELECTRIC ROSARY is a funny and moving exploration of faith and humanity. Set in a time where nuns are scarce and robots are commonplace, this new play explores how artificial intelligence influences what we choose to believe in. Directed by Elizabeth Freestone this is a play about what it means to be human. ELECTRIC ROSARY can be seen in the Studio from 15 June – 4 July.

• Enchanting and brutal, chilling and beautiful Jack Thorne’s adaptation of LET THE RIGHT ONE IN is directed by Royal Exchange Joint Artistic Director Bryony Shanahan. In a world where adults are failing them, two teenage outsiders are drawn to each other. Separated by centuries and rejected by society they find salvation in a unique friendship and their palpable need for someone to love. This unforgettable vampire story has gained cult status across the world, it is a sharp and reflective coming-of-age story that asks its audience to recognise and value the humanity in us all. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN runs in the Theatre from 9 July – 8 August.

• Having a baby is the Most Important Thing you can do. If you have one. If you don’t, something else can be the Most Important Thing. Following the award-winning THREE SISTERS, RashDash and their mums explore having and becoming mothers. OH MOTHER, runs from 16 July – 1 August in the Studio.

• In the Studio original work continues to be developed and shared by artists from across the UK, by the Exchange’s award-winning Young Company and by the Theatre’s Elders Company.

Artistic Directors Bryony Shanahan and Roy Alexander Weise said …

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.’

The Theatre

A Royal Exchange Theatre production

ROCKETS AND BLUE LIGHTS

By Winsome Pinnock
Directed by Miranda Cromwell

12 March – 4 April
Press Night: Tuesday 17 March, 7.30pm The Theatre

In her powerful new play ROCKETS AND BLUE LIGHTS, celebrated playwright Winsome Pinnock superbly laces together the stories of a 21st-century black actress who finds herself bound by historical legacy, Thomas, a black sailor who longs for the sea and an ageing J.M.W Turner, impatient for artistic inspiration. This Alfred Fagon award-winning play brings together the superb writing talent of Winsome Pinnock with director Miranda Cromwell whose work includes the international tour of HALF BREED (Talawa Theatre) and as Associate Director the award-winning shows COMPANY (Gielgud Theatre) and ANGELS IN AMERICA (National Theatre). ROCKETS AND BLUE LIGHTS explores the impact of historical legacy and the representation of painful subjects, it invites us to ask what is chosen to be represented and what is denied? Juxtaposing the intimate and the epic, the personal and the political this complex play is powered by love, resilience and hope and can be seen in the Theatre from 12 March – 4 April.

Winsome Pinnock’s stage plays include THE PRINCIPLES OF CARTOGRAPHY (The Bush Theatre), TITUBA (Hampstead Theatre), CLEANING UP (For Clean Break at Oval House Theatre), TAKEN (For Clean Break at Oval House Theatre), IDP (Tricycle Theatre), THE STOWAWAY (Play for young people, Theatre Royal, Plymouth), ONE UNDER (Tricycle Theatre), BEG BORROW OR STEAL (Kuumba Community Arts Centre), WATER (Tricycle Theatre), MULES (Royal Court Theatre Upstairs and Clean Break Theatre), CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? (Connections at Royal National Theatre), A ROCK IN WATER (Royal Court Theatre), LEAVE TAKING (Liverpool Playhouse Theatre, National Theatre, Belgrade Theatre Coventry and Lyric theatre, Hammersmith), A HEROES WELCOME (Royal Court Theatre Upstairs), THE WIND OF CHANGE (Half Moon Theatre) and PICTURE PALACE (Womens Theatre Group). Awards include the Alfred Fagon Award (2018); George Devine Award; Pearson Plays on Stage Scheme best play of the year Award; Unity Trust Theatre Award. She received a special commendation from the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Her play LEAVE TAKING received a major revival at the Bush Theatre, London in 2018 and a new version of ONE UNDER was produced by Graeae Theatre Company in 2019 for a UK tour. She is currently commissioned by the Bush Theatre, Royal Court Theatre and is developing a screenplay with Blueprint Pictures.

Miranda Cromwell’s directing credits include as co-director DEATH OF A SALESMAN (Young Vic Theatre) as director HALF BREED (Talawa Theatre/Soho Theatre/Edinburgh Fringe Festival/India tour), MAGIC ELVES, HEY DIDDLE DIDDLE, SENSE (Bristol Old Vic), PIGEON ENGLISH (Edinburgh Fringe Festival/Bristol Old Vic), THE REST OF YOUR LIFE (Bush Theatre) and DEATH AND TREASON (Bristol Old Vic/UK tour). As Associate Director her credits include COMPANY – Olivier award for Best Musical Revival, Critics Circle Award for Best Musical (Gielgud Theatre) and ANGELS IN AMERICA – Olivier and Tony Award for Best Revival (National Theatre/Neil Simon Theatre, Broadway); A MONSTER CALLS – Olivier Award for Best Entertainment and Family (Old Vic/ Bristol Old Vic); CORAM BOY (Colston Hall).

A Royal Exchange Theatre production

WEST SIDE STORY

Based on a conception of Jerome Robbins
Book by Arthur Laurents
Music by Leonard Bernstein              Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Directed by Sarah Frankcom             Associate Director Atri Banerjee
Choreographer Aletta Collins            Orchestration by Jason Carr

18 April – 30 May
Press Night: Wednesday 22 April, 7.30pm – The Theatre

Back by popular demand the Royal Exchange’s new version of Broadway’s biggest musical WEST SIDE STORY returns to Manchester. This legendary musical is an incredible blend of music, dance, lyricism and performance, with a matchless songbook – MARIA, AMERICA, SOMEWHERE, TONIGHT – which makes WEST SIDE STORY one of the most powerful pieces of modern theatre ever created. Under Sarah Frankcom’s direction, with choreography from Aletta Collins, orchestration by Jason Carr and musical direction from Tim Jackson this version brings a new focus to the gang culture of the iconic Sharks and Jets. Returning to the theatre to as Tony and Maria are Andy Coxon and Gabriela García. The production runs in the Theatre from 18 April – 23 May.

Sarah Frankcom is the Director of LAMDA and former Artistic Director at the Royal Exchange. Her recent productions include: THE NICO PROJECT co-created with Maxine Peake for Manchester International Festival. For the Royal Exchange her work includes LIGHT FALLS, WEST SIDE STORY, DEATH OF A SALESMAN, OUR TOWN (winner of Best Director at the UK Theatre Awards) and HAPPY DAYS, A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, THE SKRIKER (co-commission with MIF15) and HAMLET (all with Maxine Peake), BLINDSIDED, THAT DAY WE SANG and the Royal Exchange and MIF13 co-production THE MASQUE OF ANARCHY. She also directed THE LAST TESTAMENT OF LILLIAN BILOCCA for Hull City of Culture.

A Royal Exchange Theatre production

THE GLASS MENAGERIE

By Tennessee Williams
Directed by Atri Banerjee

5 June – 4 July
Press Night: Wednesday 10 June, 7.30pm – The Theatre 

THE GLASS MENAGERIE is Tennessee Williams’ poetic and bruising portrayal of a family on the brink of change. Tom remembers; he recalls his mother Amanda, his sister Laura, their suffocating dependency and the overwhelming responsibility of family ties that bind you for life. But memory is fragile and the clarity of truth and recollection is clouded over time. This intimate classic is given a fresh perspective by director Atri Banerjee who returns to the Royal Exchange following his acclaimed production of HOBSON’S CHOICE. Created for the Exchange’s unique in-the-round theatre, this domestic play tackles questions that resonate on a global scale. THE GLASS MENAGERIE can be seen in the Theatre from 5 June – 4 July.

Atri Banerjee trained at Birkbeck and was previously Trainee Director at the Royal Exchange Theatre. His directing credits include: UTOPIA and HOBSON’S CHOICE (both Royal Exchange). Associate/assistant director credits for the Royal Exchange include: WEST SIDE STORY; THE MYSTERIES (also tour); JUBILEE (also Lyric Hammersmith); HAPPY DAYS; THE ALMIGHTY SOMETIMES; OUR TOWN. Other associate/assistant director credits include: THE NICO PROJECT (Manchester International Festival/ Melbourne International Arts Festival); THE SON (Kiln Theatre). For HOBSON’S CHOICE, Atri won The Stage Debut Award 2019 for Best Director and was nominated for the UK Theatre Award 2019 for Best Director.

A Royal Exchange Theatre production

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN

A stage adaptation by JACK THORNE
Based on the Swedish novel and film by JOHN AJVIDE LINDQVIST
Directed by Bryony Shanahan

9 July – 8 August
Press Night: Tuesday 14 July, 7.30pm – The Theatre

A strange story of friendship and love finds a new home on the unique stage of the Royal Exchange Theatre. Jack Thorne’s adaptation of John Ajvide Lindqvist cult novel LET THE RIGHT ONE IN receives a brand-new production for 2020 from Royal Exchange Joint Artistic Director Bryony Shanahan. When two young outsiders meet on a snow-covered playground they are instantly drawn together, they are kindred spirits finding solace in each other – one a bullied, isolated teenage boy the other a feral, lonely and dangerous vampire. And so, begins a chilling and unlikely friendship. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN is an intricate examination of isolation, neglect and the extraordinary lengths we go to for our friends. This compelling story runs in the Theatre from 9 July – 8 August.

Bryony Shanahan is Joint Artistic Director at the Royal Exchange, this season she will direct WUTHERING HEIGHTS in a new version by Andrew Sheridan. In 2016 she won the Genesis Future Directors award and directed trade at the Young Vic. Other directing credits include: ENOUGH (Traverse Theatre), QUEENS OF THE COAL AGE (Royal Exchange), CHICKEN SOUP (Sheffield Crucible); OPERATION CRUCIBLE (Finborough Theatre, Sheffield Crucible/UK tour/59e59 New York); WEALD (Finborough Theatre); NOTHING (Royal Exchange, winner of Manchester Theatre Award); BITCH BOXER (Soho Theatre/national tour/Adelaide Fringe Festival); BOYS WILL BE BOYS (Women Centre Stage, National Theatre); CHAPEL STREET (National Tour) and YOU AND ME (Greenwich Theatre/National Tour).

The Studio

A Royal Exchange Theatre production

ELECTRIC ROSARY

By Tim Foley
Directed by Elizabeth Freestone

15 June – 4 July
Press night: Thursday 18 June, 7.30pm – The Studio

Winner of the 2017 Bruntwood Prize Judges’ Award Tim Foley’s ELECTRIC ROSARY sees the world of prayers and hymns collide, with that of glitching and binary. When we meet the Sisters of St Grace, their numbers are dwindling, divine inspiration is at an all-time low and a robot nun has just been invited to join their convent. Sharply funny, this acutely observed play places questions of faith, spirituality and humanity alongside technological advancement and a robotic future. Directed by Elizabeth Freestone, who returns following her production of QUEEN MARGARET, ELECTRIC ROSARY runs in the Studio from 15 June – 4 July.

Tim Foley is a writer based in Manchester. Tim’s first full-length play, THE DOGS OF WAR (Old Red Lion Theatre) won the Off West End award for Most Promising New Playwright. In 2016 he was awarded the Channel 4 Playwright’s bursary to become Pentabus Theatre Company’s writer-in-residence and he is now their Associate Artist. Tim’s second play, ASTRONAUTS OF HARTLEPOOL (VAULT Festival), won a VAULT Origins Award for Outstanding New Work. His work has been supported by the National Theatre Studio, Orange Tree Theatre, Soho Theatre, HighTide Theatre, the Old Vic and the Peggy Ramsay Foundation. Tim also writes audio dramas set in the worlds of DOCTOR WHO and TORCHWOOD for Big Finish Productions.

Director Elizabeth Freestone’s productions include: NORA: A DOLL’S HOUSE (Citizen’s Theatre Glasgow); MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING and HENRY V (Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory); HERE LIES MARY SPINDLER, THE COMEDY OF ERRORS, THE TRAGEDY OF THOMAS HOBBES, THE RAPE OF LUCRECE (RSC); QUEEN MARGARET (Royal Exchange, Manchester); THE DUCHESS OF MALFI, DR FAUSTUS, THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL, VOLPONE (Greenwich Theatre); ROMEO AND JULIET (Shakespeare’s Globe & European tour); THE WATER HARVEST (Theatre 503) and as Associate Director for the National Theatre’s PEOPLE, PLACES AND THINGS and A CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE. From 2012-17 she was the Artistic Director of Pentabus Theatre Company, a new writing company touring nationwide, where she directed world premieres including AS THE CROW FLIES, HERE I BELONG, EACH SLOW DUSK, FROM LAND TO MOUTH, STAND UP DIGGERS ALL, and BLUE SKY.

A RashDash and Royal Exchange Theatre production

OH MOTHER

Developed by RashDash

6 July – 1 August
Press night: TBC

The award-winning RashDash return to the Royal Exchange with their latest show OH MOTHER and ask … To have a baby or not to have a baby…

Having a baby is the Most Important Thing you can do. If you have one. If you don’t, something else can be the Most Important Thing. What if I can’t have one? Don’t want one? What if the planet can’t take another? What if I like my life now and just want it to continue? What if I’m desperate to have one and I can’t find someone to do it with? What if I don’t want to do it on my own? What will my mum think? OH MOTHER runs in the Studio from 16 July – 1 August.

RASHDASH is Abbi Greenland, Becky Wilkie and Helen Goalen. They are a company of performers, musicians and makers and an associate company of the Royal Exchange Theatre. Their work includes THREE SISTERS (co-production with Royal Exchange Theatre, co-commissioned by The Yard, Tobacco Factory Theatres, The Old Vic, MAYK and Cambridge Junction), THE DARKEST CORNERS (Transform Festival 2017), TWO MAN SHOW (Northern Stage and Soho Theatre, Edinburgh Fringe First Winner 2016, Stage Award for Acting Excellence, shortlisted for an Off West End Award), SNOW WHITE & ROSE RED (Cambridge Junction and Battersea Arts Centre), WE WANT YOU TO WATCH (by RashDash and Alice Birch, National Theatre and UK Tour), OH, I CAN’T BE BOTHERED (Soho Theatre, shortlisted for an Off West End Award), THE UGLY SISTERS (Edinburgh Festival, shortlisted for the Total Theatre Award for Experimentation and Innovation), DARK WOODS DEEP SNOW (Northern Stage) THE FRENZY & SET FIRE TO EVERYTHING!!! (Lyric Hammersmith, GDIF, Imagine Watford and Latitude), THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA (The Royal and Derngate), SCARY GORGEOUS (Edinburgh Fringe First Award winner 2011), ANOTHER SOMEONE (Fringe First award winner 2010), and THE HONEYMOON.

LISTINGS

ROYAL EXCHANGE THEATRE
St Ann’s Square, Manchester, M2 7DH
Box Office: 0161 833 9833
royalexchange.co.uk

Priority booking for Members from 11 am Thursday 14 November
Season Tickets are on sale from 11am on Thursday 21 November
Tickets are on public sale from 11am on Thursday 28 November

THE THEATRE

ROCKETS AND BLUE LIGHTS – Listing information
A Royal Exchange Theatre production
ROCKETS AND BLUE LIGHTS
By Winsome Pinnock
Directed by Miranda Cromwell

12 March – 4 April
Press Night: Tue 17 March, 7.30pm The Theatre

Box Office: 0161 833 9833
Online: www.royalexchange.co.uk/bookonline

WEST SIDE STORY – Listings Information
A Royal Exchange Theatre production
WEST SIDE STORY
Based on a conception of Jerome Robbins
Book by Arthur Laurents
Music by Leonard Bernstein             Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Directed by Sarah Frankcom            Associate Director Atri Banerjee

18 April – 30 May
Press Night: Wed 22 April, 7.30pm – The Theatre

Box Office: 0161 833 9833
Online: www.royalexchange.co.uk/bookonline

THE GLASS MENAGERIE – Listings Information
A Royal Exchange Theatre production
THE GLASS MENAGERIE
By Tennessee Williams
Directed by Atri Banerjee

5 June – 4 July
Press Night: Wed 10 June, 7.30pm – The Theatre

Box Office: 0161 833 9833
Online: www.royalexchange.co.uk/bookonline

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN – Listings Information
A Royal Exchange Theatre production
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
A stage adaptation by JACK THORNE
Based on the Swedish novel and film by JOHN AJVIDE LINDQVIST
Directed by Bryony Shanahan

9 July – 8 August
Press Night: Tue 14 July, 7.30pm – The Theatre

Box Office: 0161 833 9833
Online: www.royalexchange.co.uk/bookonline

THE STUDIO

ELECTRIC ROSARY – Listings Information
A Royal Exchange Theatre production
ELECTRIC ROSARY
By Tim Foley
Directed by Elizabeth Freestone

15 June – 4 July
Press night: Thurs 18 June 7.30pm – The Studio

Box Office: 0161 833 9833
Online: www.royalexchange.co.uk/bookonline

OH MOTHER – Listings Information

A RashDash and Royal Exchange Theatre production
OH MOTHER
Developed by RashDash

16 July – 1 August
Press night: DATE TBC 7.30pm – The Studio

Box Office: 0161 833 9833
Online: www.royalexchange.co.uk/bookonline

LAMDA slashes first round audition fees, widening access to drama school training

LAMDA Director Sarah Frankcom and LAMDA President Benedict Cumberbatch. Credit Helen Maybanks
Sarah Frankcom

Sarah Frankcom. Photo Credit: Helen Maybanks

  • LAMDA significantly reduces application fee and simplifies audition process:
    • Improved audition experience providing greater value-for-money
    • Newly created audition team of arts practitioners with current industry experience to ensure transparency and relevancy
    • £12 administration fee for initial audition, reducing cost for majority of candidates
    • Remaining fee of £48 (£24 for LAMDA Foundation Diploma) at Recall stage, ensuring that those who progress further (and benefit the most) pay a more proportionate part of the overall fee
    • Fee waivers and travel bursaries available, with proactive approach from LAMDA admissions department
    • First auditions held in 11 cities across the UK, Ireland and France with regular dates in London
  • First initiative under the leadership of Sarah Frankcom as she today takes up the post of Director of LAMDA
  • Changes welcomed by President of LAMDA Benedict Cumberbatch CBE

LAMDA (London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art) has announced its new audition process and audition fee structure, which will see the cost of first round auditions slashed for all applicants. This is the first initiative under the leadership of acclaimed theatre director Sarah Frankcom as she today takes up the helm as Director of LAMDA. Applications open at 10.30am on Monday 4 November, via LAMDA’s website.

Chair of LAMDA Shaun Woodward, LAMDA Director Sarah Frankcom and LAMDA President Benedict Cumberbatch. Credit Helen Maybanks

Chair of LAMDA Shaun Woodward, LAMDA Director Sarah Frankcom and LAMDA President Benedict Cumberbatch. Credit Helen Maybanks

A new simplified process comes into immediate effect for UK and EU applicants for LAMDA’s acting courses. A £12 administration fee will drastically cut the upfront cost of auditioning by 75%. A remaining fee, would then only be payable by candidates invited back for a full-day recall audition, ensuring that those who benefit the most from the process pay a more proportionate amount.

Sarah Frankcom, Director of LAMDA said: “This is about removing the barriers to finding the best talent across the country for our acting schools. It is all about creating greater opportunity. For too long we have talked about removing barriers to students from challenging and low-income backgrounds, but the cost of the first audition for these aspiring actors has too easily been a barrier to them seeking their chance to audition. LAMDA wants to demonstrate the importance to the industry of slashing the cost of that vital first audition.”

The Rt Hon. Shaun Woodward, Chair of LAMDA Trustees, and the former Labour Secretary of State for Northern Ireland said: “This is all about giving real opportunity to students across the UK. We were set the challenge of how to respond to concerns that “the cost of having a go” was “discouraging to would be actors from poorer backgrounds.” So today we meet that challenge.  We want to play our part in removing barriers to young people getting the chance to have their first audition. From the experience of my former constituency of St Helens, I am certain that expensive fees for a first audition really do prevent students from these tougher backgrounds taking the chance on that first audition. This decision by Sarah and our Board is a vital next step and hopefully LAMDA’s lead will encourage more of the industry to act accordingly. We must put our noble ambition for greater access into practice. Slashing first audition fees is about giving the break to opportunity.”

Benedict Cumberbatch CBE, President of LAMDA said: “I am so excited to see that Sarah’s first step as the new Director of LAMDA has been to open up the doors to greater opportunity for students from the toughest backgrounds. We need to make sure that training for the stage, film and television is opened up and that we take down barriers to young people with enormous talent and potential who might have been put off by a first audition fee that was unaffordable.”

LAMDA will continue to hold first auditions regionally, visiting 11 cities across the UK, Ireland and France, with regular dates in London. Audition places will be capped at 4,200 and will be offered on a first come first served basis.

LAMDA will maintain its system of UK audition fee waivers and travel bursaries. Financial support will continue to be available at both stages for candidates applying via LAMDA’s Access and Widening Participation programme.

For further information on funding available, course details and applications visit www.lamda.ac.uk.

Royal Exchange Theatre Autumn Winter 2019 Season Announcement

Sarah Frankcom

Under Sarah Frankcom’s Artistic Directorship the Royal Exchange Theatre has been redefined, reimagined and reframed. It has explored classic texts in new and radical ways, celebrated the vitality and significance of new writing, embraced new ways to talk to audiences and engage communities and supported theatre makers to challenge their own practice.

This Autumn/Winter season celebrates her tenure which comes to an end in October, it brings together elements of her work and embraces a strong female narrative throughout. The season opens with MACBETH in which Lucy Ellinson takes on the title role, Sarah directs LIGHT FALLS a new play from long-time collaborator Simon Stephens with original music by Jarvis Cocker. Emily Brontë’s WUTHERING HEIGHTS is stripped back to its essence in a radical version of this classic novel directed by Associate Artistic Director Bryony Shanahan and Director Jo Davies explores the complex mother/daughter relationship in GYPSY. Associate Artists RashDash and former Resident Director Nickie Miles-Wildinmake new work for the Studio and a unique 24 hour long free performance sees the theatre remain open all night on Remembrance Sunday.

• Dark, dangerous and action-packed this contemporary version of MACBETH, from Director Christopher Haydon, pulls the audience into the unsettling world of Macbeth as her desire and lust for power become all consuming. Lucy Ellinsontakes on the title role in this highly-charged political thriller where individual aspiration spirals out of control with violent, bloody and devastating consequences for all. She is joined by Ony Uhiara as Lady Macbeth. The production runs in the Theatre from 13 September until 19 October.

• LIGHT FALLS reunites Sarah Frankcom and award-winning playwright Simon Stephens for her final production as Royal Exchange Theatre Artistic Director. In this extraordinary new play a family is drawn back together following a single, devastating and unpredictable event. An intricate observation of people and places LIGHT FALLS is a powerful allegory to the North. This production features original music by Jarvis Cocker and can been seen in the Theatre from 24 October – 16 November.

• Acclaimed Writer and Director Neil Bartlett is using the words of a hundred contemporary peace workers to create a marathon artwork entitled 24 HOURS OF PEACE – a twenty-four-hour-long performance dedicated to the work of peace taking place on Remembrance Sunday (10 November 2019). This unique event begins at 11am with the performers and audience joining together for two minutes of silence. This moment marks the 100th anniversary of the very first Remembrance Sunday silence, the performance continues uninterrupted for a whole day and night. The event is free and will be broadcast live on national radio station Resonance FM.

• Following her acclaimed production of TWELFTH NIGHT Director Jo Davies returns to the Royal Exchange at Christmas with GYPSY, a Broadway smash-hit that celebrates the highest-highs and the lowest-lows of show business. Momma Rose puts everything she has into her girls, her desire, her grit and her frustrated ambition, stopping at nothing to make her daughters the star she never was. The production follows hot on the heels of the Christmas smash-hits GUYS AND DOLLS and THE PRODUCERS. It opens on 30 November and runs until 25 January 2020.

• Associate Artistic Director Bryony Shanahan and Bruntwood Prize winning writer Andrew Sheridan explore the extraordinary imagination of Emily Brontë in a gripping new adaptation of WUTHERING HEIGHTS. This startling novel unleashes a love that is raw and uncontained, visceral, brutal and all-consuming. As unpredictable as the moors Cathy and Heathcliff are seen afresh in this bold and powerful production. The show will run in the Theatre from 7 February – 7 March 2020.

• Following their sold-out smash-hit THREE SISTERS RashDash return to the Studio with their latest show OH MOTHER, where alongside their own mums they explore Motherhood. There will be songs. There will be dancing. There will be breastfeeding. The show runs from 26 September – 12 October in the Studio.

• Charlene James’ award-winning CUTTIN’ IT will have a new production in the Exchange’s Studio directed by former Royal Exchange Assistant Director Nickie Miles-Wildin. This urgent and sharply funny play follows Muna and Iqra – two teenage girls, both born in Somalia, both living in Manchester, both hiding a traumatic secret. Exploring the physical and mental impact of FGM in the UK this stunning contemporary play runs from 9 January – 1 February 2020.

• Throughout the Autumn, the Exchange is also developing several major new commissions for 2020 and beyond continuing its commitment to supporting a wide range of voices making work for the main stage. Commissions in development include: ROCKETS AND BLUE LIGHTS by Winsome Pinnock, which recently won the Alfred Fagon Award, the leading award for Black British playwrights; a new play by Zodwa Nyoni about the 1945 Pan-African National Congress in Manchester, co-commissioned with Talawa Theatre Company; and a new musical being developed by Maxine Peake and Seiriol Davies. In addition, Testament joins us as Channel 4 Playwright in Residence to develop a major new play.

Artistic Director Sarah Frankcom said …

“Simon Stephens was the first writer I commissioned for the Royal Exchange so it seems apt that my final production as Artistic Director should be his richly layered new play about the North. Together we made a journey to northern towns, from Blackpool to Durham, talking and meeting new people on the way. This is the backbone of this new production and I can’t wait for us to get into the rehearsal room.

I’m proud of the work we have made and the stories we have told in the last five years here at the Exchange, and this season feels very reflective of that. We have always advocated for the stories of radical and powerful women, celebrated their imaginations and put outstanding female actors, directors and theatre makers centre stage. Supporting new writing remains vital so I’m thrilled that we have two new plays in this season and have exciting commissions from Winsome Pinnock, Zodwa Nyoni and Maxine and Seiriol lined up for 2020. I’m looking forward to sharing all this work with our incredible audiences here at the Exchange.

The Theatre

A Royal Exchange Theatre production

MACBETH

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Christopher Haydon
With Lucy Ellinson

13 September – 19 October 2019
Press Night: Wed 18 September, 7.30pm The Theatre

This contemporary version of Shakespeare’s darkest tragedy MACBETH sees director Christopher Haydon reunited with actor Lucy Ellinson and designer Oliver Townsend following their smash-hit one-woman show GROUNDED. This disturbing thriller sees Macbeth battle with her overwhelming desire for power and asks what happens, when in a split-second you decide to act upon your deepest, darkest ambition? Actor Lucy Ellinson returns to the Exchange following her role in JUBILEE to take on the role of one of drama’s most iconic and violent warriors, she is joined on stage by Ony Uhiara as Lady Macbeth who returns to the Exchange following her lead role in ANNA KARENINA. The production runs from 13 September – 19 October in the Theatre.

Director Christopher Haydon was formerly Artistic Director at the Gate Theatre, where his credits include: DIARY OF A MADMAN (also Traverse Theatre), THE IPHIGENIA QUARTET, THE CHRISTIANS (also Traverse Theatre, winner: Fringe First), GROUNDED (Traverse Theatre, Studio Theatre Washington DC, national and international tour; winner: Fringe First, Best Production – Off West End Awards) IMAGE OF AN UNKNOWN YOUNG WOMAN (winner: Best Production, Off West End Awards), THE EDGE OF OUR BODIES, TROJAN WOMEN, PURPLE HEART, THE PROPHET, WITTENBURG. Last year his European premiere production of ON THE EXHALE by Martin Zimmerman won a Fringe First for its run at the Traverse during the Edinburgh Festival. His production of TRYING IT ON by David Edgar toured the UK with China Plate Theatre, including performances at the RSC in Stratford and the Royal Court.

Lucy Ellinson is a stage performer who makes a welcome return to the Royal Exchange. Her theatre credits include TOP GIRLS (National Theatre), KINGDOM COME and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (both RSC), THE RESISTIBLE RISE OF ARTURO UI (Donmar Warehouse), JUBILEE (Manchester Royal Exchange & Lyric Theatre Hammersmith), GROUNDED, THE CHRISTIANS (both The Gate & The Traverse), TROJAN WOMEN, DEAR ELIZABETH, TENET (all at The Gate) WORLD FACTORY (New Wolsey & Young Vic), MONEY THE GAME SHOW (The Bush), OH THE HUMANITY! (AND OTHER GOOD INTENTIONS) (Northern Stage & Soho Theatre) and #TORYCORE (Battersea Arts Centre & tour).

Ony Uhiara returns to the Royal Exchange following her lead role in ANNA KARENINA and in the Bruntwood winning THE ROLLING STONE. Her other theatre credits include ALLIGATORS (Hampstead Theatre) GOD BLESS THE CHILD (The Royal Court), EYE OF A NEEDLE, CANNIBALS (Royal Exchange) and IN THE RED AND BROWN WATER (Young Vic). She played the female lead in Peter Kosminsky’s BAFTA nominated THE STATE on Channel 4.

A Royal Exchange Theatre production

LIGHT FALLS

By Simon Stephens
Directed by Sarah Frankcom
With original music by Jarvis Cocker

24 October – 16 November 2019
Press Night: Tue 29 October 7.30pm – The Theatre

Royal Exchange Artistic Director Sarah Frankcom and the multi award-winning writer Simon Stephens have taken a journey across the North of England, shaping and developing their latest collaboration, Simon’s newest play LIGHT FALLS. A family finds themselves scattered across the north, each one searching for something to hold on to, to root them to a place, tie them to a person. A woman wakes up with a stranger beside her. A student argues with his lover. A single mother fights to feed her baby. A married man flirts with two younger women and one devastating event will change their lives forever. With original music by Jarvis Cocker LIGHT FALLS runs from 24 October – 16 November in the Theatre.

Simon Stephens’ previous plays at the Royal Exchange include BLINDSIDED, PUNK ROCK and ON THE SHORE OF THE WIDE WORLD (All directed by Sarah Frankcom); FATHERLAND and PORT. His award-winning adaptation THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHTTIME was produced by the National Theatre and visited the Lowry, Salford twice as part of a world tour. His play THE FUNFAIR, opened HOME Theatre. His many other plays have been widely translated and produced throughout the world. He has presented three series of the Royal Court Playwright’s Podcast. His book “A WORKING DIARY” is published by Methuen. Simon Stephens has been an Associate at the Royal Court, London and Steep, Chicago and a board member of Paines Plough. He is a Professor of Scriptwriting at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Sarah Frankcom is the Artistic Director of the Royal Exchange Theatre and the new Director of LAMDA. Her recent productions include: WEST SIDE STORY, DEATH OF A SALESMAN, OUR TOWN (winner of Best Director at the UK Theatre Awards); HAPPY DAYS, THE LAST TESTAMENT OF LILLIAN BILOCCA (Hull City of Culture); A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, THE SKRIKER (co-commission with MIF15) and HAMLET (all with Maxine Peake), BLINDSIDED, THAT DAY WE SANG and the Royal Exchange and MIF13 co-production THE MASQUE OF ANARCHY. Her new production THE NICO PROJECT co-created with Maxine Peake runs at Manchester International Festival this July.

Thomas Carter Projects, in partnership with Royal Exchange Theatre and Resonance FM

24 HOURS OF PEACE

Created and Directed by Neil Bartlett
Sunday 10 November – The Theatre and live on Resonance FM

Every year, the two-minute silence on Remembrance Sunday asks us all to look back, but it also asks us to look forward. The word ‘peace’ is often mentioned on the day – but what does that word mean to us now, one hundred years after the two-minute silence was first observed? To create this unique performance, acclaimed writer and director Neil Bartlett has been carrying out interviews with one hundred contemporary peace-workers, from an 84-year-old Greenham Common veteran to a young volunteer recently returned from a Syrian refugee camp; from a trans activist to an imam; from an ex-sniper who served in Afghanistan to an IRA bomb survivor- all of people committed to trying to turn the word peace from an ideal into a reality. To create the text of 24 HOURS OF PEACE Neil will edit the transcripts from his interviews into a single, marathon monologue; this will then be delivered live in the theatre and simultaneously broadcast live on Resonance FM. The company of 48 performers working on this remarkable project will feature members from Greater Manchester’s diverse communities as well as outstanding professional performers; Toby JonesAdjoa AndohDon WarringtonMiranda Richardson andJulie Hesmondhalgh have all said they will participate (subject to their availability) on the day. It will take place on Remembrance Sunday, starting at 11 am on November 10th and finishing at 11 am on the Monday 11th; the doors of the theatre will stay open for whole 24 hours, and the event will be free.

Neil Bartlett is a leading UK theatre director, who has worked for the National Theatre, the Royal Court and more; plus ten years as Artistic Director of Lyric Hammersmith. In 2014, he created LETTER TO AN UNKNOWN SOLDIER for 1418 NOW, which involved over 22 thousand members of the public – schoolchildren, pensioners and politicians – in creating an online war memorial made up of personal letters written to the dead of WW1. 24 HOURS OF PEACE will be his 3rd show at the Royal Exchange following THE PIANIST (MIF 2007, MEN award) and EVERYBODY LOVES A WINNER (MIF 2009).

A Royal Exchange Theatre production

GYPSY

A Musical Fable
Book by Arthur Laurents, Music by Jule Styne, Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Suggested by memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee
Original production by David Merrick & Leland Hayward
Entire production originally directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins
Directed by Jo Davies

30 November 2019 – 25 January 2020
Press Night: Thurs 5 December 7.30pm – The Theatre

Building on the success of redefining Broadway musicals for the Exchange’s unique in-the-round theatre GYPSY is the latest smash-hit to take centre stage. Director Jo Davies returns to the Royal Exchange following her lavish production of TWELFTH NIGHT to explore the wonderful world of show-business through the tour-de-force that is Momma Rose. Choosing the bright lights of the stage over putting her girls though school, Momma Rose is resolute in her desire to see her daughters realise her dreams of stardom and adoration. But how are these young women shaped by her actions, what is passed down from generation to generation, and what new opportunities are afforded to one but denied to another? An extraordinary musical, GYPSY can be seen in the theatre from 30 November 2019 – 25 January 2020.

Jo Davies is an international theatre and opera Director. Her most recent work includes THE FANTASTIC FOLLIES OF MRS RICH (Royal Shakespeare Company), CARMEN (Welsh National Opera), DON CARLO (Grange Park Opera) and THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO (Opera North / Tour). Other work includes THE ROARING GIRL (Royal Shakespeare Company), TWELFTH NIGHT (Royal Exchange) KISS ME KATE (Opera North / London Coliseum), OKLAHOMA (Grange Park Opera) and CAROUSEL (Barbican/ Chatalet Theatre Paris).

A Royal Exchange Theatre production

WUTHERING HEIGHTS

By Emily Brontë
In a new version by Andrew Sheridan
Directed by Bryony Shanahan

7 February – 7 March 2020
Press Night: Wed 12 February 7.30pm – The Theatre

A sharp new version of Emily Brontë’s remarkable novel WUTHERING HEIGHTS will be created for the Exchange’s unique theatre by Associate Artistic Director Bryony Shanahan and writer Andrew Sheridan. Created with an ensemble of actors and musicians this contemporary production explores the extraordinary twists and turns in Brontë’s exhilarating narrative and astonishing imagination. A ferocious exploration of passion and desire, Cathy and Heathcliff’s love finds a visceral and vicious, physical and poetic, tender and true connection in this new production. WUTHERING HEIGHTS runs in the theatre from 7 February – 7 March 2020.

Andrew Sheridan trained as an actor at Rose Bruford and has performed extensively in award-winning theatre, TV and film. Andrew’s debut play WINTERLONG won the 2008 Bruntwood Playwriting Competition. The play opened at the Royal Exchange, directed by Sarah Frankcom before transferring to Soho Theatre, London. WINTERLONG has been translated and performed across Europe to critical acclaim. Andrew’s play HOPE, LIGHT & NOWHERE was produced at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival and in 2014 he was the recipient of the Tom Erhardt Award for emerging writers. Andrew’s work gains notoriety and prestige in Scandinavia and he has been under commissioned by Stockholm’s Stadsteater and has written PAULDING LIGHT which was shortlisted for the 2018 Nick Darke Award. He has also nurtured a close collaborative relationship with Monkeywood Theatre company. His play THE GOOD, THE BAD, And THE GIGGSY was one of 4 plays celebrating Manchester’s rich and historic footballing rivalry between the mighty Manchester United and their imitators Manchester City which was performed at The Lowry Theatre. His play BLUE was performed at Hope Mill Theatre in 2019.

Bryony Shanahan is Associate Artistic Director at the Royal Exchange. In 2016 she won the Genesis Future Directors award and directed TRADE at the Young Vic. Directing includes QUEENS OF THE COAL AGE (Royal Exchange), CHICKEN SOUP (Sheffield Crucible); OPERATION CRUCIBLE (Finborough Theatre, Sheffield Crucible/UK tour/59e59 New York); WEALD (Finborough Theatre); NOTHING (Royal Exchange, winner of Manchester Theatre Award); BITCH BOXER (Soho Theatre/national tour/Adelaide Fringe Festival); BOYS WILL BE BOYS (Women Centre Stage, National Theatre); CHAPEL STREET (National Tour) and YOU AND ME (Greenwich Theatre/National Tour).

The Studio

A RashDash and Royal Exchange Theatre production co-commissioned by Soho Theatre

OH MOTHER

Developed by Rashdash

26 September – 12 October 2019
Press night: Tuesday 1 October 7.30pm – The Studio

Royal Exchange Associate Artists RashDash return to Manchester following last year’s hugely successful take on Chekhov’s THREE SISTERS to make their second show in co-production with the Theatre. OH MOTHER is a show they are making with and for their mums, and with a six-month-old on the hip. In it they explore motherhood and everything that it brings with it or leaves behind. RashDash are making OH MOTHER because people keep telling them time is running out. There will be songs. There will be dancing. There will be breastfeeding.

RASHDASH is Abbi Greenland, Becky Wilkie and Helen Goalen. They are a company of performers, musicians and makers and an associate company of the Royal Exchange Theatre. Their work includes THREE SISTERS (co-production with Royal Exchange Theatre, co-commissioned by The Yard, Tobacco Factory Theatres, The Old Vic, MAYK and Cambridge Junction), THE DARKEST CORNERS (Transform Festival 2017), TWO MAN SHOW (Northern Stage and Soho Theatre, Edinburgh Fringe First Winner 2016, Stage Award for Acting Excellence, shortlisted for an Off West End Award), SNOW WHITE & ROSE RED (Cambridge Junction and Battersea Arts Centre), WE WANT YOU TO WATCH (by RashDash and Alice Birch, National Theatre and UK Tour), OH, I CAN’T BE BOTHERED (Soho Theatre, shortlisted for an Off West End Award), THE UGLY SISTERS (Edinburgh Festival, shortlisted for the Total Theatre Award for Experimentation and Innovation), DARK WOODS DEEP SNOW (Northern Stage) THE FRENZY & SET FIRE TO EVERYTHING!!! (Lyric Hammersmith, GDIF, Imagine Watford and Latitude), THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA (The Royal and Derngate), SCARY GORGEOUS (Edinburgh Fringe First Award winner 2011), ANOTHER SOMEONE (Fringe First award winner 2010), and THE HONEYMOON.

A Royal Exchange Theatre production

CUTTIN’ IT

By Charlene James
Directed by Nickie Miles-Wildin

9 January – 1 February 2020
Press night: Monday 13 January 7.30pm – The Studio

A critically acclaimed hit in 2016, Charlene James’ powerful play CUTTIN’ IT about the harrowing physical and emotional impact of FGM receives a new production at the Royal Exchange from director Nicki Miles-Wildin. Sharply funny and deeply profound this award-winning play tells the story of teenagers Muna, popular and funny, and Iqra quiet and too old for her hand-me-down Hello Kitty bag. A cautious glance on a bus leads to a moment of unmistakable recognition – a painful secret ties these two Somali girls together and then rips them apart as ideas of tradition and ritual clash in a makeshift waiting room reeking of Dettol and stale blood. Nickie returns to the Exchange following her 18month residency as an Assistant Director with this incredible contemporary drama. The production runs in the Studio from 9 January – 1 February 2020.

Nickie Miles-Wildin is Associate Director at Graeae Theatre Company. Previously she was Resident Assistant Director at the Royal Exchange Theatre as part of the Regional Theatre Young Directors Scheme. Directing credits include: THE FOREST OF FORGOTTEN DISCOS (Contact /Jackie Hagan), THE TEMPEST AT ABRAHAM MOSS (Royal Exchange Theatre); BINGO LINGO (co-director/Wild N Beets); DISABILITY SEX ARCHIVES, TWO CAN TOUCAN (TwoCan Theatre); NANA’S JUMBLE (Kazzum). Assistant Director credits at RET include MOTHER COURAGE & HER CHILDREN, DEATH OF A SALESMAN, FRANKENSTEIN, GUYS AND DOLLS and THE HOUSE OF BERNARDA ALBA (partnered with Graeae). Other credits: Staff Director on MOSQUITOES (Dorfman, National Theatre). Associate Director credits include: MIXTAPE (Royal Exchange Theatre); TOMMY (Ramps On The Moon National Tour). In 2014 Nickie co-founded TwoCan, Gloucestershire’s first professional disabled-led theatre company. As an actor Nickie is best known for her role as Miranda in the Paralympics Opening Ceremony, London 2012.

Charlene James is an award-winning writer. Her play CUTTIN’ IT ran at the Young Vic and Royal Court to critical acclaim and won multiple awards; including the George Devine Award and an Alfred Fagon Award for Best New Play. Charlene was awarded the Charles Wintour award for Most Promising Playwright at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards. She is currently under commission from The Royal Court and The Manchester Royal Exchange. Charlene is also developing her own original TV dramas with New Pictures and World Productions. She has written on A Discovery of Witches for Bad Wolf/Sky and is also writing on a prominent BBC series.

West Side Story – Back by Popular Demand in 2020

West Side Story
West Side Story

West Side Story

The Royal Exchange Theatre has announced that their current smash-hit WEST SIDE STORY will return to the stage in 2020 due to unprecedented popular demand. Recognised as one of the world’s most iconic musicals, tickets for Sarah Frankcom’s reimagining of this Broadway classic, with new choreography by Aletta Collins, have been in high demand from the moment the production was originally announced and were close to selling out before the previews had even begun. Opening last week to critical acclaim and loved by Manchester audiences  the Exchange is delighted to confirm that this celebrated production will be back next year running from Saturday 18 April – Saturday 23 May 2020.

Royal Exchange Artistic Director Sarah Frankcom said…

West Side Story was such a radical piece of work when it was first staged and I’m delighted that our new production has caught the imagination of today’s audiences, and that the electricity of it all – the story, the music, the dance – is still so urgent in 2019. The demand for tickets has been incredible so to be able to bring the show back next year and give people another opportunity to see Leonard Bernstein’s masterpiece is fantastic. Our unique in-the-round theatre brings viewers right into the action and to be able to do that all over again with a new audience is really exciting.

Casting for the 2020 production is yet to be confirmed and will be announced in the autumn along with further details of the production and the Spring/Summer season in full. Tickets are on sale to members from today and the public from Tuesday 30 April 2019, it is a stand-alone production and will not form part of the Royal Exchange Spring/Summer 2020 season ticket package.

LAMDA appoints Royal Exchange’s Sarah Frankcom to lead as new Director

LAMDA Director Sarah Frankcom and LAMDA President Benedict Cumberbatch. Credit Helen Maybanks
LAMDA Director Sarah Frankcom and LAMDA President Benedict Cumberbatch. Credit Helen Maybanks

LAMDA Director Sarah Frankcom and LAMDA President Benedict Cumberbatch. Credit Helen Maybanks

  • Appointment welcomed by LAMDA President Benedict Cumberbatch
  • As Director of LAMDA, Frankcom will shape LAMDA’s creative vision as it moves towards further independence and achieving degree awarding powers
  • Sarah Frankcom joins from Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester where she is Artistic Director

28th February 2019, London: LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art), the oldest drama school in the UK, today announced the appointment of acclaimed theatre director Sarah Frankcom as its new Director. Bringing world class industry experience, Frankcom joins from the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester where she has been Artistic Director for the last five years.

Frankcom is widely regarded as one of the most influential British theatre directors of the last decade. She was responsible for bringing a series of critically acclaimed shows to the Royal Exchange, most recently Death of a Salesman with Don Warrington, Happy Days with Maxine Peake, and Our Town, for which she was awarded Best Director at the 2018 UK Theatre Awards.

In the newly created role of Director, Frankcom will shape and lead LAMDA’s creative vision and oversee the training of the next generation of dramatic artists, directors and technicians. She will work directly with students to ensure they benefit first hand from her wealth of industry experience. The Directorship replaces the role of Principal following the departure of Joanna Read in January.

Frankcom will officially take up the role in November 2019 as LAMDA enters its first year as an independent Higher Education Provider and moves forward to realising its ambition of achieving degree awarding powers.

Speaking on her appointment, Sarah Frankcom said: “I am thrilled to be appointed as LAMDA’s new Director. LAMDA is a drama school that consistently delivers world-class arts training and examinations, and whose alumni I’ve always found to be the most open, collaborative, and generous during my work as a director.”

She continued: “I’m looking forward to building on LAMDA’s success and grasping the opportunity to re-imagine what a relevant 21st Century theatre training without barriers could be for all emerging talent.”

Welcoming the announcement, Benedict Cumberbatch, LAMDA President and alumni, said: “This is a very exciting next chapter for LAMDA and its students. I am thrilled at the prospect of working with Sarah, who I know has a passion for finding the best talent from whatever background and increasing diversity on stage and screen. Her reputation proceeds and I am sure her leadership will be a performance to truly grip the industry”.

Shaun Woodward, Chair of LAMDA, said: “This is an amazing appointment for LAMDA and a great next step for the school. Sarah is one of the outstanding directors in the UK and she will provide great leadership for our students in the years ahead. We are thrilled.”

Sir Nicholas Hytner, former artistic director of the National Theatre, adds: “Sarah is a tremendous appointment as LAMDA’s new Director. She is one of the UK’s outstanding directors from one of our leading theatres. Sarah galvanised Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre, transforming the careers of countless young actors in a succession of greatly admired productions”.