PRESS RELEASE_______ ______________
ROLLICKING RESTORATION COMEDY, IMOGEN STUBBS IN TENNESSEE
WILLIAMS CLASSIC AND CAROL ANN DUFFY’S SPELLBINDING NEW
XMAS SHOW AMONG HIGHLIGHTS OF NEW ROYAL EXCHANGE
THEATRE’S AUTUMN – WINTER 2012 / 13 SEASON
A rollicking restoration comedy, Imogen Stubbs in a Tennessee Williams classic and a spellbinding
new Christmas show from Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy are among the many highlights of a
newly-announced Autumn - Winter 2012 / 13 Season at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre.
The Season opens with THE COUNTRY WIFE – which runs from Wednesday 12 September
to Saturday 20 October 2012.
The action of William Wycherley’s raunchy Restoration romp is set in gossip-fuelled 17th Century
London where randy rake Harry Horner feigns impotence to charm his way into the hearts and
boudoirs of the apparently respectable wives of London society.
Newly arrived in town - with his ‘country wife’ Margery - Jack Pinchwife is jealous to the core and
strains to keep his innocent spouse away from Horner’s clutches. She, however, is desperate to
savour all the pleasures the big city has to offer. And when Harry finally meets Margery, a collision
course is set.
Banned for nearly 200 years for its bawdiness when it first appeared in 1675, the play will be brought
to sparkling life by Olivier Award winning director Polly Findlay. Her recent credits include
GOOD at the Royal Exchange and ANTIGONE at the National Theatre.
This is followed by Tennessee Williams’ ORPHEUS DESCENDING which runs from
Wednesday 24 October to Saturday 24 November 2012
Set in the Deep South of America the drama begins when a charismatic young drifter arrives in town
with a guitar, a snakeskin jacket and a dodgy past. He picks up a job in the local dry goods store and
forges a relationship with the owner - a middle aged woman trapped in a loveless marriage.
Rich in imagery and bursting with vivid language and symbolism, the play builds to an apocalyptic
climax as it explores the universal themes of loneliness, desire, sexuality, repression and the longing
Royal Exchange Autumn – Winter 12 / 13 Season / 2
This major revival stars acclaimed actress Imogen Stubbs, who was last seen at the Exchange in
PRIVATE LIVES and whose other credits include major roles at the National Theatre, the Old Vic
and in the West End and feature film versions of TWELFTH NIGHT and SENSE AND SENSIBILITY.
The production is directed by Royal Exchange Artistic Director Sarah Frankcom whose recent
RET successes include A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE, BEAUTIFUL THING and MISS JULIE.
An enchanting new Christmas show sees Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy collaborate with
acclaimed theatre-maker Melly Still to create the world premiere of RATS’ TALES - a dark and
magical cycle of folk tales packed with thrills, laughs, loves and more than a bit of magic – which runs
from Thursday 29 November 2012 to Saturday 12 January 2013.
Melly Still – whose credits as a director, designer and choreographer include work for the RSC and
the National Theatre – is set to create an epic piece of theatre with a strong visual style from seven
tales from around the world. These stories – including a new version of the Pied Piper legend - have
been re-told to provide a starting point for the creative process by Carol Ann Duffy (some taken
from her own book STOLEN CHILDHOODS).
A landmark event for the Exchange, RATS TALES explores the metaphorical power of story-
telling - presenting each tale in a distinctively different style. The evening is designed to appeal to
anyone with an imagination aged from 8 to 108.
The season comes to close with the THE ACCRINGTON PALS - Peter Whelan’s powerful
and poignant drama based on the real-life story of a group of young men from a Lancashire mill town
who left their homes and lovers for the trenches of the Somme – which runs from Thursday 17
January to Saturday 16 February 2013.
At the outbreak of the First World War, in towns across Britain, groups of young men volunteered
to form what became know as 'Pals' Battalions'. Tragically, the scale of casualties meant that millions
of these friends were never to return.
Set in Accrington - the smallest town in England to raise a battalion – the play tells the story of Tom
Hackford who marches off to war with his pals and how a Lancashire community was decimated at a
stroke. The pals’ experiences of life on the Western Front are contrasted with those of the women
left behind as they struggle to adjust to life during wartime.
Guest director James Dacre makes his Royal Exchange debut with this production. His recent
credits include Shakespeare’s AS YOU LIKE IT at The Globe and Katori Hall’s Olivier Award winning
play THE MOUNTAINTOP at The Trafalgar Studios.
Full details of the new Autumn – Winter 12 / 13 Season in The Studio at The Royal Exchange
Theatre are still be announced but one of the highlights will be BLACK ROSES: THE KILLING
OF SOPHIE LANCASTER - a moving response to the death of young gap-year student Sophie
Lancaster – which runs from Wednesday 19 September to Saturday 29 September 2012.
Royal Exchange Autumn – Winter 12 / 13 Season / 3
On August 21, 2007 Sophie Lancaster was beaten unconscious in Stubbeylee Park, Bacup and later
died from her injuries. She died cradling her boyfriend Rob’s head in order to protect him from
injury. Sophie was 20 years old, had just passed her A-Levels and was working out what to do with
her life. She was killed because she dressed differently.
Originally a radio drama broadcast last year on BBC Radio 4, BLACK ROSES: THE KILLING
OF SOPHIE LANCASTER is an elegy for Sophie – in which Sophie tells her own story through a
series of poems by the award-winning poet Simon Armitage, alongside the words of her mother,
Sylvia Lancaster, remembering her daughter’s shortened life.
With Rachel Austin as Sophie and Coronation Street actress Julie Hesmondhalgh as Sylvia, the
play has just won the BBC Audio and Music Best Speech Programme of the Year Award and is
directed by Royal Exchange Artistic Director Sarah Frankcom and award-winning BBC Radio
Drama producer Susan Roberts.
For further information please contact JOHN GOODFELLOW (Press and
Communications Manager) on 0161 615 6783 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
AUTUMN – WINTER 12 / 13 SEASON PRESS PERFORMANCES
THE COUNTRY WIFE – Monday 17 September 2012
ORPHEUS DESCENDING – Monday 29 October 2012
RATS’ TALES – Monday 3 December 2012
THE ACCRINGTON PALS – Monday 21 January 2013
BLACK ROSES – Thursday 20 September 2012