As always, there’s plenty coming to the Royal Exchange Theatre in the Spring/Summer 2018 season, so we’re taking a look at some of the visiting productions coming to The Studio at the Royal Exchange Theatre over the next few months.

Moments That Changed Our World
23-25 February 2018
Created by Andrew Barry and TripleDotMakers with the Elders Company
Moments That Changed Our World is created by the Royal Exchange Elders Company. A group of people aged 60-85 standing in the space, together they have years of experience. With direction from Andrew Barry, they navigate a constantly changing world; from big political events to personal intimate moments. TripleDotMakers, the Manchester based moving image studio, join the Elders Company on this show, bringing their innovative artistic methods with them. In Moments That Changed Our World the Elders ask us two main questions; where are we going and what can history teach us about who we are?

Forbidden Love
28 February – 1 March
by Jessica Walker and accompanied by Joseph Atkins
20th century homosexual people displayed resilience in times of repression.  One of the ways to fight those pressures was through song. The singer Jessica Walker transfers from London to the Royal Exchange Theatre’s Studio with cabaret Forbidden Love, exploring the romantic melodies of the 1920s – 1980s. Jessica has recently received a PhD after undertaking practical research into the actor-singer as a creator. This feat has taken her from Australia to China and now Royal Exchange Theatre. Accompanied by Joseph Atkins, the show glides gracefully from past to present with a stunning repertoire of songs, filled with repressed longing and desire. Arrangements include vocals, piano and accordion.

2-3 March 2018
Presented by Horse + Bamboo Theatre; Written and Directed by Shamshad Khan & Bob Firth; Music by Arun Ghosh; Animation by Kain Leo
Moonwatcher is a multi-artform spectacular is brought to the Royal Exchange by Horse + Bamboo. Hailing from the Pennines, this collective of theatre-makers are on a mission to use fast evolving technologies to inspire and make movements that effect positive change within their community and communities they are invited into. Inspired by the accounts of first generation immigrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India to Rossendale, poet Shamshad Khan and writer Bob Frith weave a surreal story of one Pakistani girl’s journey through strange locales to reach her family in England. Including playful puppetry, music by Arun Ghosh (who returns to Manchester after excellent performances in the city including at Manchester Jazz Festival) and animation from Kain Leo.
For adults and children aged 9+

11 – 14 April
By the Royal Exchange Young Company; Directed by Matt Hassall
The Award-winning Royal Exchange Young Company present Mixtape, a lyrical adventure into the world of gig theatre that asks – what makes a city and how do you make a city your home? Winners of this year’s Stage Award for School of the Year, the Young Company continue to create original new theatre with their unique perspective in this brand-new production that is part gig, part play, part party. Directed by Matt Hassall, Mixtape promises to be a musical celebration, an ode to the city and great nights out.

Carol Ann Duffy and Friends: Laureate’s Choice Special
25 April
Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy brings with her an array of bright new poets in Carol Ann Duffy and Friends: Laureate’s Choice Special.  Along with Manchester Writing School, she is joined by Ella Duffy and company performing a new adaptation of original Carol Ann Duffy poem, Wife.

Half Breed
31 May – 2 June
A Soho Theatre and Talawa Theatre Company production; By Natasha Marshall; Directed by Miranda Cromwell
One-woman-show Half Breed, written and staring Alfred Fagon Award shortlisted writer Tasha Marshall, bursts into The Studio 31 May – 2 June. Developed with Talawa, Half BReed started off as a poem and has been constructed into a touring show, just as Marshall has gone from factories in the West Country to stages in London, Edinburgh and now Manchester. This is a semi-autobiographical, high-octane tale of overcoming surroundings and getting out. HALF BREED received audience and critical acclaim after premiering at 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Joke Translation Service
8 June
By Rachel Mars and the People of Manchester
Audacious theatre maker Rachel Mars returns to the Royal Exchange Theatre with new show, Joke Translation Service, filling in the cultural blanks with side-splitting anecdotes and extended patience. A group of people telling each other their most beloved jokes from the cultures they grew up in, and if other doesn’t get them, trying their best to explain them until they do. Drawing from Jewish and Queer heritages, Mars explores the cultural quirks she was exposed to and invites the same reflections of the vastly diverse People of Manchester who will not just be watching but also taking part. What better way to explore difference than with healing laughter.

Anyone’s Guess How We Got Here
14 – 16 June
A Barrel Organ Production; By Jack Perkins
Barrel Organ, associate artists of Camden People’s Theatre, return with critically acclaimed show Anyone’s Guess How We Got Here.  Barrel Organ’s work reflects on the current issues affecting households in the UK. This piece investigates the scars financial difficulties can leave on a family. Writer Jack Perkins weaves a tale of loss within a modern ghost story to tackle the emotional scars left by debt and displacement. The ever-surprising style of story-telling and set design from Barrel Organ means you should expect the unexpected.

20 – 22 July
By Royal Exchange – Open Exchange
This festival of creative collisions and collaboration returns, as the next generation of Manchester’s theatre makers curate a cross-arts exploration of new work, embryonic ideas and installations in Co:Lab. Following the success of 2017, from interactive adventure stories in the basement to vocal installations in the hall, the festival weekend will see the whole building taken over by Greater Manchester artists.  A showcase of the best work coming out of Open Exchange – the Royal Exchange’s network of local theatre makers and artists.

The Act
28 July
By Company Three; Directed by James Blakey
The Act, devised and performed by Company Three, a powerful group of young performers,  explores the intimate relationships of young people and how they navigate through unfamiliar territory. This show draws out the awkward nervousness and fond memories of teenage relationships while opening the subject of the adolescent experience to conversation. Directed by James Blakey (Upstart Theatre).

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