Manchester's Royal Exchange Season to Include Maxine Peake as Hamlet, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Little Shop and More

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23 Apr 2014

The fall season at Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre, which marks the first full season that Sarah Frankcom has been sole artistic director for, will include Maxine Peake starring in the title role of Hamlet, new productions of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Little Shop of Horrors and the world premiere of Rona Munro's Scuttlers, about gangs in nineteenth-century Manchester.

Hamlet will begin performances Sept. 11 prior to an official opening Sept. 16, for a run through Oct. 18. Frankcom, who will direct, commented, "Maxine started her acting career in our youth theatre. Her performances have thrilled our audiences and the Royal Exchange is her local theatre. Hamlet is a massively exciting challenge for any actor and director. I am certain Maxine will be a compelling and extraordinary Hamlet for our time." Frankcom and Peake last collaborated on The Masque of Anarchy, seen as part of the Manchester International Festival last year.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, co-produced with Northampton's Royal and Derngate and Newcastle's Northern Stage, will begin performances Oct. 30 prior to an official opening Nov. 4, for a run through Nov. 29. It is directed by James Dacre, artistic director at Northampton, who previously directed The Accrington Pals at the Royal Exchange last year. Original music has been created by the band White Lies.

In a press statement, Dacre commented, "It's incredibly exciting that Royal and Derngate are collaborating for the first time with The Royal Exchange. And for my part I’m looking forward to working again with many of the team who staged The Accrington Pals. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was written on the eve of the sexual and civil rights revolution and is one of America’s greatest plays. The Royal Exchange – as intimate and as grand as the story itself – is the perfect location for this incendiary masterpiece."

Little Shop of Horrors will begin performances Dec. 5 prior to an official opening Dec. 9, for a run through Jan. 24, 2015. With a book and lyrics by Howard Ashman, music by Alan Menken and based on the film by Roger Corman with a screenplay by Charles Griffith, it is directed by Derek Bond, whose previous credits include Shiver and Lost in Yonkers (both seen at Watford Palace) and Floyd Collins (Southwark Playhouse).



The world-premiere run of Rona Munro's Scuttlers will begin performance Feb. 5 prior to an official opening Feb.10, for a run through March 7. Munro's other plays include The James Plays (premiering at the Edinburgh International Festival in August prior to a run at London's National Theatre), Iron, Bold Girls, The Maiden Stone, The Last Witch, Long Time Dead, The Indian Boy, Little Eagles and Pandas. Her adaptation of Mary Barton was seen at the Royal Exchange in 2006.

According to press materials, the play tells the story of the Scuttlers, who were Manchester’s original gangs. Throughout the 1870s and beyond, the streets of Openshaw, Gorton, Ancoats and Salford were terrorized by rival groups of young mill workers fighting for control. With their bell-bottoms and floppy caps they fought with blades, fists, feet and the heavy ends of their leather belts. It is based on real court reports. It will be directed by Wils Wilson.

To book tickets, contact the box office on 0161 833 9833, or visit www.royalexchange.co.uk.