Timely 2018 season at Royal Exchange

David Upton

Manchester Royal Exchange’s forthcoming season celebrates plays and stories that have stood the test of time but when reimagined for the 21st century reflect the world in which we now live.

Artists such as Maxine Peake, Matthew Xia, In-Sook Chappell, Bryony Shanahan and RashDash are making new work that wrestles with questions of identity, family, gender, hope and resilience and what it takes to be heard.

The venue opens the season with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, 200 years after the novel was originally published. This evocative 2018 version, with Shane Zaza, runs from March 9 to April 7.

Michael Boyd, former artistic director of the RSC, makes his Exchange debut with the The Cherry Orchard. The co-production with Bristol Old Vic is the first time he has directed a play by the literary love of his life Anton Chekhov, and runs April 19 to May 19.

Happy Days, Samuel Beckett’s theatrical poem, reunites Exchange artistic director Sarah Frankcom and Maxine Peake who takes on the role of everywoman Winnie, in this surreal and celebratory masterpiece from May 25 to June 23.

A brand-new stage play by Maxine Peake, her first for the Exchange, Queens Of The Coal Age follows four ordinary women down the Parkside Colliery pit as they make a stand for each other and their way of life. It runs from June 28 to July 21.