on January 20, 2009
The Royal ExchangeTh used to be just that, a stock exchange and financial institution in the centre of Manchester. It's in a magnificent building with gorgeous stonework and high plastered ceilings inside. It's now a theatre but one with a difference. When you enter the building, inside in the middle of the building there is a structure that looks a bit like a space pod. This is the theatre. It is in fact a theatre in the round. Inside, the stage is on the floor, surrounded by "banquettes", and the seats can be on the ground level or rise around it up into the seven sides of the steel and glass "pod". It can seat up to 700! They sometimes sell the banquette seats on the day of a performance for a reduced rate, if there are any available. There is also a smaller studio type theatre for more intimate productions which seats 120. I've seen several performances in the theatre, all top notch. They do a wide variety of theatre from classic (Ibsen, Chekov) th Shakespeare to modern drama. You will likely see top names on the marquee and excellent performances. As it's right in the centre of the city, there are plenty of restaurants for pre or post dinner nosh. You can buy tickets online or at the box office and prices are fairly reasonable. You won't likely be paying London theatre prices here. The most you will *usually* pay is £25 but there are discounts available for various groups including people with disabilities, pensioners, preview showings etc. There's a bar and cafe in the theatre as well. There is an elevator for access off St. Anne's Square and wheelchair spaces are available. For this type of seating, you must contact the box office direction rather than use the website. People with disabilities get their tickets half price as well as the same for a companion. They are on the corner of St. Anne's Square across from the Arndale shopping center and one street over from Deansgate.
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