22 JUNE 2020 – 26 JUNE 2020


Coronavirus has been affecting us all, but some groups of people are feeling it more than others.

As the world starts to un-pause and we leave our digital selves behind for the real world, we feel a sense of urgency to chew the fat and see how we can all be a part of addressing these imbalances in our daily lives. Why don’t you join us: Watch, Listen, Talk, Share.

Last weekend our production of Winsome Pinnock’s powerful new play ROCKETS AND BLUE LIGHTS aired on BBC Radio 3 as part of the Lockdown Theatre Festival and the BBC’s Culture in Quarantine. In May we created an intergenerational production called CONNECT FEST, and on the 22 June we’re making our archive recordings of Kendall Feaver’s multi-award-winning play THE ALMIGHTY SOMETIMES, a 2015 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting winner, and our co-production with Graeae THE HOUSE OF BERNARDA ALBA available via our YouTube channel.

THE ALMIGHTY SOMETIMES and THE HOUSE OF BERNARDA ALBA will be available to stream for free on our YouTube channel from 8am on Monday 22 July

These productions raise some important questions about the world in which we find ourselves today. They are interesting catalysts for conversations about the disproportionate impact of Coronavirus on key groups within UK society – specifically disabled people, children and young people, older people and Black communities. Together with the release of these productions we are presenting four panel discussions across the week of 22 June. Inviting a mix of artists, young people, industry specialists and some of those who created the original pieces of work, we will livestream these conversation inviting questions from our digital audience using the wider themes of these plays as a gateway into bigger and broader issues of the day.


Monday 22 June, 5pm – 6pm

How is lockdown affecting the mental health and well-being of young people and how can theatre offer healing from this time? Author of advice book Dear Katie, TV and radio presenter Katie Thistleton will chair this panel. She is joined by original cast member Julie Hesmondhalgh who will talk about her role as a mother trying to help her daughter through her battles with her mental health and two members of the Royal Exchange Young Company.


Wednesday 24 June, 11.30am – 12.30pm

How has theatre opened up ways of staying connected for older people in our community during lockdown? Actor Wyllie Longmore will be in discussion with members of the Royal Exchange Theatre’s Elders Company and Graduate Company. They will explore their involvement in the creative arts and what the impact of lockdown has been for them.


Wednesday 24 June, 5pm – 6pm

How has the lockdown disproportionately affected disabled people across the UK and what does theatre need to do to make space for this community in the future? We are joined by two of the creative team from the production, award-winning Director and disability rights campaigner Jenny Sealey and Associate Director Nickie Miles-Wildin. They will open up the discussion as they talk about both their creative vision for the show and their personal experiences as artists and activists during lockdown.


Friday 26 June, 5pm – 6pm

How does the way we tell stories and who tells them define us and our lived experience? Stella Kanu, Executive Director of LIFT Festival and Chair of Eclipse Theatre Company hosts this final panel discussion. Joined by former RET trustee Tony Gordon and actor Wyllie Longmore among others, this discussion will begin to ask how fiction and journalism have affected the lives of Black people in the UK and what is needed to affect change, reshape history and improve quality of life.




It is an incredibly tough time for the theatre industry and we need your help now more than ever. These productions have been created by both our fantastically skilled in-house team and brilliantly talented freelance artists. Whilst the majority of our staff are on furlough, so many freelancers, who make theatre happen, are unable to work, and many are falling through the cracks of the government support schemes. With this in mind, any donations made will be split between the Royal Exchange and the artists that worked with us to make these pieces.

To support please visit royalexchange.co.uk/donate or you can donate by text message for each production:

Text 5ALMIGHTY to 70460 to donate £5 | Text 10ALMIGHTY to 70460 to donate £10 | Text 20ALMIGHTY to 70460 to donate £20
For every donation received, 50% will go to the artists and creatives involved in creating the production, 50% will go directly to support the Royal Exchange Theatre.

Text 5HOBA to 70470 to donate £5 | Text 10HOBA to 70470 to donate £10 | Text 20HOBA to 70470 to donate £20
For every donation received, 33% will go to the artists and creatives involved in the creation of the production, 33% will go to co-producers Graeae, the UK’s leading theatre company for D/deaf and disabled actors, 33% will go directly to support the Royal Exchange Theatre.

Text 5ROCKETSAND to 70450 to donate £5, Text 10ROCKETSAND to 70450 to donate £10, Text 20ROCKETSAND to 70450 to donate £20.

For every donation received, 50% will go to the artists and creatives involved in creating the production, 50% will go directly to support the Royal Exchange Theatre.


Text is only available on UK networks and will cost your donation amount plus one standard rate message.




Published on:
19 Jun 2020


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