Royal Exchange picks joint artistic directors

Roy Alexander Weise and Bryony Shanahan are to be the joint artistic directors and CEOs of the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.

In November they will replace Sarah Frankom, who has been in charge since she succeeded Braham Murray in 2008.

Shanahan Bryony is the Exchange’s associate artistic director who won the 2016 Genesis Future Directors Award. Her work at the Exchange includes Queens of the Coal Age, a new version of Wuthering Heightsand Nothing, which won a Manchester Theatre Award. She has also directed at the National Theatre.

Weise is associated director at the Donmar Warehouse who has directed at the National the Young Vic and in the West End. His recent National production of Nine Nighttransferred to the West End and coming up in September at the National is his version of Athol Fugard’s apartheid piece Master Harold and the Boys.

“Bryony and Roy are extraordinary talents who together presented an original and exciting vision for the future of our theatre” said Stephen Freeman, the Royal Exchange‘s executive director.  . “They are innovative creative thinkers and inspiring theatre makers with a drive to deliver theatre with the broadest possible reach. As joint artistic directors they bring a fresh and invigorating approach to shaping the future of regional theatre, together with the wider team at the Royal Exchange, they will reimagine what it means for a producing building to place artists and audiences firmly at the heart of everything we do.”

“Every project we programme and every artist we commission has to be about having a wider aim, creating a bigger story and building an inspiring legacy” said Shanahan. “Sharing our stories is so important, especially today, it’s a way for us to challenge, provoke and discuss and an important opportunity to bring communities together. These ideas feel fundamental to me and Roy and will help to shape our work in the future.” 

And Weise added: “Leading this extraordinary theatre with Bryony is hugely significant, changing the way leadership looks and behaves means that our theatres really can be for anyone. What our country needs so badly is a reignited and reinvigorated sense of community; we want our audiences to be the start of that”.

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