The Royal Exchange Theatre is set to host one of the world’s oldest dramas, Aeschylus’ The Suppliant Women.

The new version by award-winning writer David Greig will be performed at the Royal Exchange from 10 March, running until 1 April, directed by Ramin Gray.

Presented by Royal Exchange Theatre, Actors Touring Company and Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, The Suppliant Women will feature a chorus of forty women and men from across Greater Manchester at its heart, with each of them arguing for their lives.  The forty-strong Chorus is a diverse mix of talented and passionate volunteers from across Greater Manchester who have been working with the company to create the power and energy of a Greek chorus. They perform alongside Oscar Batterham, Omar Ebrahim and Gemma May Rees.

Written 2,500 years ago The Suppliant Women resonates as strongly as ever in 2017, reflecting major issues of contemporary society with the play exploring issues of migration and democracy, gender politics and political power.  A group of women leave everything behind to board a boat in North Africa and flee across the Mediterranean. They are escaping forced marriage in their homeland, hoping for protection and assistance, seeking asylum in Greece.

The production features new music by composer John Browne who has used the ancient Greek instrument the aulos (likely to have been used in the original production 2,500 years ago) to create a beautiful and unique sound for the production, clashing ancient sounds with contemporary composition for a 2017 chorus and audience

David Greig is The Royal Lyceum’s Artistic Director as well as an acclaimed and award-winning playwright. His plays, including the likes of The Lorax (The Old Vic), Dunsinane (Royal Shakespeare Society) and The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart (National Theatre of Scotland), have been performed across the UK, as well as produced and toured around the world.

Ramin Gray is Artistic Director of Actors Touring Company. He returns to the Royal Exchange following his role as a Judge on the 2015 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting. He has worked in many of the UK’s most notable theatres, including the Liverpool Playhouse, Royal Shakespeare Company and Hampstead Theatre.

The Suppliant Women is performed at the Royal Exchange Theatre from 10 March until 1 April.  Tickets from £16.50.

Royal Exchange Theatre.  image credit University of Salford Press Office/flickr under creative commons licence.