The Royal Exchange Theatre has been a hub of storytelling and creativity in Manchester city centre for almost forty years. Its immersive theatre space continues to capture the hearts and imaginations of theatregoers from all walks of life, and it has welcomed (and discovered) some of the best talent from across the North West. 

Now, for the first time ever, the Royal Exchange has revealed a programme of work spanning 12 months—and it’s looking pretty exciting. 

Staying true to its dedication to nurturing new-generation artists, the 2022 programme features work from emerging talent alongside that of award-winning, established theatre-makers. 

This programme of bold contemporary plays, new writing and much-loved classics journeys through time and across borders, and looks set to make 2022 at the Exchange one of the theatre’s best years yet. 

Read on for our picks of the top three shows we’re booking tickets for ASAP. 


Nora: A Doll’s House | 4 March - 2 April 2022

The programme kicks off with a powerful adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 A Doll’s House. Journey through 100 years of women’s liberation—from voting rights, to contraception and modern-day life, and hear the stories of three distinct Noras across three pivotal decades: 1918, 1968, 2018.  

This gripping domestic thriller marks the Royal Exchange debut of award-winning playwright Stef Smith (Enough, Human Animals) and explores how tightly women continue to be bound by social convention. 

Royal Exchange Joint Artistic Director Bryony Shanahan directs this brand-new production of Smith’s radical take on the classic play. 

Electric Rosary | 23 April - 14 May 2022

Winner of the 2017 Bruntwood Prize Judges’ Award, Tim Foley’s Electric Rosary considers questions of faith and humanity from the perspective of a world increasingly reliant on technology. So reliant, in fact, that robots are commonplace – and not unanimously popular.

Bringing nuns and robots together on the Royal Exchange stage for the very first time, Foley’s funny and poignant play explores how artificial intelligence influences what we choose to believe in. Through the eyes of a nation struggling to come to terms with the changes that innovation brings, Electric Rosary places questions of spirituality and humanity alongside technological advancement and a robotic future. 

2017 Prize judge Russell T Davies said: 

“I love this play, it’s such a radical mix of ancient and modern, old traditions colliding with brand new technology. And for a piece which could sound experimental—it’s got a robot nun!—the writing is actually tender, honest and insightful. It’s a beautiful examination of faith, no matter what you believe in.”

If it’s good enough for Russell T Davies, it’s good enough for us. 

Let the Right One In | 22 October - 19 November 2022

It’s a chilling coming-of-age vampire story that’s gained cult status across the globe—now, Let the Right One In is finding a new home in Manchester. Described as both ‘enchanting and brutal, chilling and beautiful,’ Jack Thorne’s adaptation of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s 2004 novel is set to be an unforgettable theatrical experience. 

When two teenage outsiders turn away from the adult world that is failing them, they discover solace in each other. One is a bullied, lonely teenage boy; the other a feral, isolated and dangerous vampire. Their chilling and unlikely friendship asks audiences to recognise and value the humanity in all of us (whilst scaring you silly). 

Directed by Royal Exchange Joint Artistic Director Bryony Shanahan and written by Jack Thorne (His Dark Materials, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), this is not to be missed. 

Thu 4 Mar, Royal Exchange Theatre,
St Ann's Square, Manchester M2 7DH
Rachel Kevern
Published on:
Thu 16 Dec 2021