Royal Exchange announces new season

Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre has revealed details of its new season, the first under the sole leadership of artistic director Sarah Frankcom.

Topping the bill is Maxine Peake’s highly anticipated turn as Hamlet, which will launch the season on 11 September.

‘Maxine started her acting career in our youth theatre,’ said Frankcom. ‘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.’

Read: Maxine Peake joins Royal Exchange as associate artist

The season also features new productions of classic works Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Little Shop of Horrors, alongside premieres of the new works Scuttlers by Rona Munro and Crocodiles by Lee Mattinson.

Frankcom continued: ‘It’s vital we continue to reinvent the way we make, develop and deliver our artistic programme. Alongside some bold, inclusive and popular shows we continue to open the Exchange up to new ideas and new artists.

‘We are launching new projects that celebrate the creative potential of Manchester’s communities, young people and elders. We will also be deepening our relationship with our audiences in a massive year-long creative conversation breaking down barriers between those that make work and those that experience it.’

The 2014-15 season will be the first time Frankcom has solely led the organisation since co-artistic director of 27 years, Greg Hersov, stepped down earlier this year.

The theatre’s new engagement project, You, the Audience, promises to reach out to audiences through ‘creative consultations’ held over the course of a year. An audience manifesto, an audience archive exhibition and a new commission are set to be produced via the project.