Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre will host a run of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

The fiery retelling of the classic from theatre and film director Nicholai La Barrie will open in October, running for four weeks.

La Barrie’s Royal Exchange Theatre debut will feature the hope and tragedy of love and the power to chance, with a contemporary reimagining inspired by young people and his visits to schools across Greater Manchester.  The production embraces the vitality and diversity of Manchester.

Taking on the role of Romeo is Manchester actor Conor Glean last seen at the Royal Exchange in Mother Courage and Her Children.  Shalisha James-Davis, best known to TV audiences for her regular role as Paige Alcott in BBC drama Casualty, takes on the role of Juliet in her Royal Exchange Theatre debut.

Speaking about the production Nicholai La Barrie said, “The thing that excites me most about directing Romeo & Juliet is about taking this epic story and making it personal, making it feel like these characters live with you, live near you, like you really know them. The things that this story teaches us are as relevant today as it was when it was written and that no matter how tragic it is, this love story still has immense hope at its heart.”

The cast is completed by Geoffrey Aymer, Ike Bennett, Adam Fenton, Kate Hampson, Dominic Holmes, David Judge, Ashley O’Brien, Daniel Poyser and Gemma Ryan. The Company will also be joined by two teams of supernumeraries who populate the play as Montagues and Capulets. The teams include Colin Blackledge, Stephen Brown, Eddie Fenn, Joseph Figueira, Rosa Gatley, Paul Green, Josie Julyan, Helen Kozak, Nathan Lea, Jacquie Long, Dorretta Maynard, Elise Melvin, Katie Nedderman, Molly O’Brien, Nänaa Ôta, Stefan Polhill, Ann Sarge, Maralyn Tohill, Jennifer Wightman, Carmen Wood-Hope, who are members of our Elders Company, Young Company and Local Exchange Ambassadors who will help to create Manchester on stage.

The creative team for Romeo and Juliet includes Designer Good Teeth – James Perkins and Victoria Smart, Lighting Designer Asuza Ozo, Composer & Sound Designer Mark Melville, Fight Director Kev McCurdy, Assistant Director Samantha Bunyan Holland, Production Manager Jacqui Leigh and Casting Director Lotte Hines CDG.

When does Romeo and Juliet run at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre?

Romeo and Juliet runs at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre from 20 October – 18 November 2023.

image from Romeo and Juliet courtesy Felicity McCabe