Royal Exchange Theatre

Providing a World Class Experience at a World Class Theatre

The Royal Exchange Theatre is renowned as both an iconic venue and one of the top producing theatres in Europe. However, the cost of maintaining an enormous Grade II* listed Victorian building is substantial, and we must now secure funds to ensure our Front-of-House facilities match the high standards of the rest of our work.

history Campaign has now closed

It ran from to

Registered Charity in England and Wales (255424)




  • Arts/Culture/HeritageArts/Culture/Heritage
  • Health/WellbeingHealth/Wellbeing


  • Children (3-18)Children (3-18)
  • Older PeopleOlder People
  • Women & GirlsWomen & Girls
  • Young People (18-30)Young People (18-30)
  • OtherOther



The Royal Exchange Theatre is housed within Manchester’s former Cotton Exchange, literally suspended from the marble pillars. The beautiful Grade II* listed Victorian building, once a section of what was thought to be the biggest room in the world, now houses two performance venues, two bars, a restaurant, a Craft Shop and a Gallery. Each year over 500,000 people visit our stunning venue to watch a play, meet friends for coffee or just to enjoy the atmosphere of the building. We strive to complement our acclaimed productions with a similarly high quality experience for our visitors. This has seen numerous changes implemented, both to remove physical barriers around the Theatre, and to add innovative and exciting facilities for visitors to use. One new addition to the Front-of-House area at the Royal Exchange is our Education Lounge, an interactive room which can be used by everybody to learn about the Theatre and our wide-ranging education programme. Given the age and listed status of the building, we regularly come up against problems linked to the building itself when improving our facilities. For this reason the last big overhaul of the Royal Exchange was in 1996, following the IRA bomb which destroyed large areas of the Theatre. We have identified a number of areas that are in desperate need of repair, and which are diminishing the enjoyment of the many people that visit this cultural icon. To ensure our theatre-going experience continues to be second-to-none, we aim to undertake a large capital replacement scheme over the next three years, which will include: • Replacing the lighting throughout the Great Hall, offering better access, an increased sense of comfort and security, wider ranging artistic opportunities throughout the building and significantly reducing our carbon footprint • Replacing the public toilets which currently rely on the Victorian infrastructure. The current toilets are not environmentally friendly in the amount of water they use, and many of the fittings have become worn or unreliable. Some aspects (including the flooring) need to be completely replaced • Installing discreet storage areas. Currently the unique set-up requires us to store set and prop items in full view of the audience. Whilst this is often of interest to the patrons, it can appear unsightly, and we are at risk of items getting lost or damaged. We would like to develop our current storage facilities to rectify this, whilst still providing an interesting view into the way a producing theatre like ours operates. To complete this ambitious programme we need to raise £1million over the next three years.