Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Spring/ Summer at Manchester Royal Exchange

MANCHESTER’s Royal Exchange Theatre has announced full details of shows in The Studio and Special Events in its Spring Summer 2015 Season.  

Highlights include the world premiere of 2013 Bruntwood Prize Winner YEN by Anna Jordan; a Royal Exchange Young Company collaboration with poet and novelist, Jackie Kay and a collaboration with interactive artists Blast Theory;   

The Studio programme also includes a show written and performed by newly appointed RET Associate Artist Chris Thorpe and visiting shows from Mars.tarrab, Sleepdogs, Ovalhouse & Arch 468, Warwick Arts Centre & China Plate and Grayscale.   

YEN – which runs from Wednesday 18 February to Saturday 7 March – explores a childhood lived without boundaries and the consequences of being forced to grow up on your own.  

It tells the story of sixteen-year-old Hench and thirteen-year-old Bobbie who live alone with their dog Taliban, playing Playstation, watching porn; surviving. Occasionally their chaotic mum Maggie visits, sometimes she passes out on the front lawn. But when Jenny knocks on the door, the boys discover a world far beyond what they know, a world full of love, possibility and danger.   

Anna Jordan’s play was commended for its ‘beautiful empathy, and a humanity which stood out to all the judges’ by Chair of the Judges, Dame Jenni Murray.

The production is directed by Ned Bennett. Previously a resident trainee director at the Royal Court, whose recent credits include SUPERIOR DONUTS (Southwark Playhouse), MERCURY FUR (Old Red Lion) and PIGEONS (Royal Court schools tour).

BRINK - a Royal Exchange Young Company collaboration with poet and novelist, Jackie Kay – runs from Thursday 26 March to Saturday 28 March 2015.

Directed by the Royal Exchange’s Associate Artistic Director Matthew Xia, the show asks questions such as “What brings you to the brink in your life?” and “When you are so close to the edge - do you take the plunge or retreat?”

TOO MUCH INFORMATION - Blast Theory’s latest project in partnership with the Royal Exchange – takes place between Friday 27 February and Saturday 1 March and will allow people to take an audio walk around the streets of Manchester.   

The 45 minute walk will be themed around a series of frank and funny conversations between a group of young people and a group of over 60s. Participants will use a smart-phone to find audio recordings of secrets and intimate moments hidden about the city – all set to a specially commissioned score by musician Martyn Ware of The Human League and Heaven 17.   

The project is being created in partnership with the RET’s Truth About Youth programme, which is supported by the Co-operative Foundation. It follows the 2013 collaboration MY NECK OF THE WOODS.   

THE LADY’S NOT FOR WALKING LIKE AN EGYPTIAN – commissioned by Ovalhouse and presented by innovative theatre makers Mar.tarrab – runs from Thursday 9 April to Saturday 11 April.   

Written and performed by Rachel Mars and nat tarrab, this joyful romp of a show crosses the words of Margaret Thatcher’s speeches with all the words of every top ten hit by a female artist from the 1980s. Audiences are invited to join a quest to understand pop culture, politics, the power of love and discover what the 80s ever did for us.   

THE BULLET AND THE BASS TROMBONE – a fascinating new performance piece from Bristol-based Sleepdogs – continues the Studio season from Friday 1 May to Saturday 2 May 

Written and performed by Timothy X Attack and directed by Tanuja Amarasuriya, the show is a modern hymn to people and places now lost, and has an intricate, fractured narrative and haunting soundtrack. A concert orchestra is trapped in a city during a military coup. As violence erupts, the orchestra becomes separated. The composer is left to tell the story. 

This is followed by CUDDLES - the stunning debut play from Capital award-winning young playwright Joseph Wilde presented by Ovalhouse and Arch 468 – which runs from Tuesday 19 May to Saturday 23 May.

The action of this gothic tale centres on 13-year-old vampire Eva. She lives in a world without sunlight. A world where Harry Potter, Bilbo Baggins and the cast of Dante’s Inferno are real; where princes with adjectives instead of names seduce beautiful princesses against the odds. A world crammed full of story book characters but with just one living, breathing human being to cuddle.

CONFIRMATION – the critically acclaimed 2014 Fringe First winning show, written and performed by Chris Thorpe and developed and directed by Rachel Chavkin – comes to The Studio from Wednesday 27 May to Saturday 30 May.
Presented by Warwick Arts Centre and China Plate, the show is about gulfs we can’t talk across and the way we choose to see only the evidence that proves we’re right. Exploring the phenomenon of confirmation bias, it is an attempt to have an honourable dialogue with political extremism - to find out why we believe what we do and how we can end up so far apart.   

Chris Thorpe is a founder member and core artist with Unlimited Theatre. He recently became an Associate Artist at the Royal Exchange. The RET’s production of his play THERE HAS POSSIBLY BEEN AN INCIDENT was seen in The Studio, as well as playing at Latitude Festival, at the Edinburgh Fringe and at last year’s Theatertreffen festival in Berlin.   

The final visiting show in The Studio is GODS ARE FALLEN AND ALL SAFETY GONE, presented by Newcastle-based international theatre company Greyscale from Friday 12 June to Saturday 13 June.   

Written and directed by Selma Dimitrijvic, the show is an investigation into what happens when we discover that our parents are flawed human beings, and that at some point, sooner than we think, they are suddenly going to disappear from our lives.   

It is an intimate and funny exploration of  the fascinating relationship between a thirty-something daughter and her ageing mother. Their honest, frank and familiar exchanges range from the everyday: tea, travel, boyfriends and more tea; to the truth of their seemingly tense relationship - a lifetime of conversations, condensed into one hour.   

YOU, THE AUDIENCE - the Exchange’s year-long audience collaborative adventure which began this season - weaves through the programme for Spring Summer 2015. An epic conversation and a celebration of audiences, it explores the special relationship between the work that is made and the people it is made for.  

The company is currently gathering a remarkable collection of opinions and ideas from some of the 2,000 people who helped to kick-start the project at the recent Fun Palace Open Day. The Spring Summer Season’s events will include a weekend of outdoor theatre and A NIGHT AT THE THEATRE, a giant sleepover in The Theatre and the Great Hall.  

An launching in Spring this year, OPEN EXCHANGE will offer a series of attachments, master-classes and other development opportunities as part of the Exchange’s commitment to the next generation of artists and theatre makers.   

Artists will have the chance to explore, play and collaborate with mentoring and support from professional teams and access to new rehearsal spaces.  

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