The Royal Exchange Theatre is situated in the heart of Manchester, and is known for its wide spectrum of entertainment programmes. Established in 1976, the Royal Exchange Theatre was established by well-known directors at the time, including Braham Murray, Richard Negri, Michael Elliott, Caspar Wrede and James Maxwell. By the time of the establishment of the Royal Exchange Theatre, the artistic directors had already made a name for themselves, having worked with over 60 theatre companies creating a great impact in London’s theatrical industry. Later in 1979, Gregory Hersov was augmented into the Royal Exchange Theatre’s artistic directorship as a new member to the group. Today, only Braham Murray and Gregory Hersov remain as the last surviving members of the original group.
The Royal Exchange Theatre has undergone extensive reconstruction due to the massive bomb that the IRA detonated in Manchester city centre on 15th June 1996. The explosion took place an approximate of 50 metres away from the theatre, creating much damage to the building. The reconstruction took an estimate of two years to complete and was funded by the National Lottery. During this time, the Royal Exchange Theatre expanded, adding a second performance space, called the Studio. In addition, it added a restaurant, a bookshop, rooms for corporate hospitality, bars and a craft shop. The refurbished theatre’s re-opening ceremony was done by Prince Edward on 30th November 1998.
Containing some of the most unusual and attractive spaces, the Royal Exchange Theatre is in close proximity to a wide range of sports facilities, quality shopping and cultural attractions. Providing the ideal opportunity to enjoy a theatre experience, the theatre presents the audiences with a diverse programme of special events, plays and concerts.
It is renowned for attracting a high calibre of actor to its stage from Tom Courtenay to Leo McKern to Albert Finney. Throughout the successive generations of theatre, Helen Mirren, Vanessa Redgrave, Amanda Donohoe, Robert Lindsay and Janet McTeer have also been amongst the famous personalities to perform at the theatre. In addition, the theatre holds a reputation for being the place of Hugh Grant’s and Kate Winslet’s first theatrical appearance before they became world-renowned celebrities.