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FA­MOUS faces, new plays and rein­ter­pre­ta­tions of clas­sic works will fill the au­tumn/win­ter sea­son at Manch­ester’s Royal Exchange Theatre.

In an ex­cit­ing pro­gramme of work just an­nounced, high­lights will in­clude the re­turn of award-win­ning Julie Hes­mond­halgh as Mother Courage in Ber­tolt Brecht’s clas­sic po­lit­i­cal drama, Don Warrington as Willy Lo­man in Death of a Sales­man, and a new pro­duc­tion of hit mu­si­cal The Producers.

First up in the au­tumn will be a new play draw­ing on orig­i­nal lan­guage from Shake­speare in Jeanie O’Hare’s Queen Mar­garet.

Dan­ger­ous and de­ter­mined she was a monarch, politi­cian, and mother who re­solved to se­cure the crown for her son. Di­rec­tor El­iz­a­beth Free­stone, and ac­tor Jade Anouka as Mar­garet of An­jou, retell the Wars of the Roses through the eyes of this re­mark­able woman. The pro­duc­tion runs in the Theatre from 14 Septem­ber-6 Oc­to­ber.

Fol­low­ing in Oc­to­ber will be a con­tem­po­rary cy­cle of new plays that ex­plore how the places and land­scapes in which we live shape us, The Mys­terie.

This am­bi­tious tour­ing pro­duc­tion has been in­spired by chance meet­ings and long con­ver­sa­tions in lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties, and each hour-long play will be cre­ated and pre­sented in the place that in­spired it (on tour from 10 Sept-21 Oct) be­fore re­turn­ing to the Exchange where the full cy­cle can be seen from 25 Oc­to­ber-11 Novem­ber.

Fol­low­ing his crit­i­cally ac­claimed per­for­mance of King Lear, Don Warrington re­turns to the Royal Exchange to play Willy Lo­man in Sarah Frankcom’s ver­sion of Arthur Miller’s Death of A Sales­man.

As the ground shifts be­neath the feet of Amer­i­cans daily, this sem­i­nal play holds a light up to the po­lit­i­cal and as­pi­ra­tional systems of na­tions that leave men like Willy stranded and fam­i­lies set adrift. Play­ing in the Theatre from 11 Oc­to­ber-17 Novem­ber.

Di­rec­tor Raz Shaw re­turns to the Exchange with a brand-new ver­sion of The Producers for the fes­tive pro­duc­tion at the Royal Exchange.

This out­ra­geous love letter to the Broad­way mu­si­cal builds upon the Exchange’s grow­ing rep­u­ta­tion for rein­vent­ing cel­e­brated mu­si­cals in its unique in-the-round theatre.

The dis­tinc­tive­ness of the theatre al­lows the epic and the in­ti­mate to go hand in hand in this genre-bust­ing mu­si­cal, as au­di­ences find them­selves up-close-and-per­sonal with a wickedly funny, al­most vaudevil­lian, dou­ble act whose at­tempt to fail is their great­est suc­cess of all. The pro­duc­tion opens on 30 Novem­ber 2018 and runs to 26 Jan­uary 2019.

In a Royal Exchange co-pro­duc­tion with Head­long, former Coronation Stree star Julie Hes­mond­halgh re­turns to the stage in Ber­tolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and her Chil­dren in a new trans­la­tion by Anna Jor­dan.

In a feast of the­atri­cal sto­ry­telling, di­rec­tor Amy Hodge ex­poses the trauma and ab­sur­dity of po­lit­i­cal con­flict and the all-en­com­pass­ing world of war. This unashamed­lyrel­e­vant and bold pro­duc­tion of a clas­sic 20th Cen­tury play is brought bang-up to date and runs in the theatre from 8 Fe­bru­ary-2 March.

Artis­tic Di­rec­tor Sarah Frankcom said: “Ev­ery­day ● con­tem­po­rary ideas of na­tion­hood and iden­tity are scru­ti­nised. Theatre, in its live­ness and im­me­di­acy, is uniquely placed to chal­lenge these ideas, look at them from dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives and play them back to us newly de­fined.

“This sea­son we ex­plore the work of some of our most cel­e­brated play­wrights Shake­speare, Miller, Brecht, and make some new work in­spired by the tra­di­tion of shar­ing sto­ries and mak­ing theatre in our com­mu­ni­ties.

“These plays are shifted on their axis by some in­cred­i­ble di­rec­tors, writ­ers and ac­tors, and re­shaped for cur­rent au­di­ences, invit­ing us to ask some big ques­tions of our­selves and of our world to­day.”

Tick­ets avail­able now.

Jade Anouka in Queen Mar­garet

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