Royal Exchange Theatre

Securing the Future of The Studio at the Royal Exchange Theatre

The Royal Exchange Theatre is renowned for the high quality of work it delivers, both onstage and in the community. The Studio, a fully-equipped free-form workshop and performance space, is the driving force behind our continued success, allowing us the freedom to develop our work by experimenting and take risks.

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  • Arts/Culture/HeritageArts/Culture/Heritage
  • Community Support & DevelopmentCommunity Support & Development
  • Education/Training/EmploymentEducation/Training/Employment


  • Children (3-18)Children (3-18)
  • Older PeopleOlder People
  • Women & GirlsWomen & Girls
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The Royal Exchange Theatre suffered extensive damage by the IRA bombing in 1996, which decimated a huge amount of Manchester City Centre. The building took over two years to repair, and when it reopened it did so with an exciting new addition, The Studio. In the ten years since opening The Studio has become the driving force behind the Theatre’s continued success, securing our national reputation for excellence. Each season the Royal Exchange produces a number of its own plays in The Studio, often working with guest directors and designers, and aspiring local actors. The Studio also houses touring productions, allowing us to develop exciting creative partnerships with innovative companies from across the country. The Royal Exchange Theatre works with leading actors, directors, designers and playwrights from all over the world. We passionately believe that we have a responsibility to use our experience and expertise to inspire and develop the theatre practitioners of the future, and we have an excellent track record in this field. The Studio is central to this work, providing developing practitioners with the opportunity to take risks and try new ideas in a professional environment. Further to our work onstage, The Studio is central to our award-winning education and community programme. Each year we work with over 4,000 people from across the North West. We believe in the power of live theatre to aid personal education and development, and to help overcome a number of life-changing difficulties. The groups we work with make full use of The Studio, learning to use the technical resources to add a heightened sense of professionalism to their work. Whilst our in-house and touring Studio productions regularly achieve audience levels higher than the national average, this represents only a proportion of The Studio’s output. Other vital functions, such as rehearsed readings and work-in-progress performances attract smaller audiences, and are often presented for a minimal ticket price. Whilst this is not ideal financially, work of this nature is crucial to our continued development, offering unrivalled professional opportunities to the country’s most promising talent. When combined with the small total capacity of The Studio, and our accessible ticket prices, Box Office income is not enough to cover the £300,000 a year running costs. There is no doubt as to how vital The Studio is to the Royal Exchange Theatre, and indeed to contemporary drama in this country, and we must secure external support to keep this valuable resource open.