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Julie Hesmondhalgh and Into the Woods in new Royal Exchange season

Julie Hesmondhalgh will star in The Almighty Sometimes by Kendall Feaver Photo: Joel C Fildes
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A Pulitzer Prize-winning play starring Julie Hesmondhalgh and a new production of Into The Woods lead the line-up for the Royal Exchange’s new season in Manchester.

Hesmondhalgh is to star in the second UK production of Margaret Edson’s Wit, which will be directed by Raz Shaw and runs from January 21 to February 13, 2016 – with a press night on January 26.

Into The Woods will be directed by the theatre’s associate artistic director Matthew Xia, with design by Jenny Tiramani, sound by John Leonard, choreography by Jason Pennycooke and musical direction by Julian Kelly.

The musical – which features music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by James Lapine – will run across the festive season from December 4 to January 16, with a press night on December 9.

Elsewhere in the season, which will see the theatre staging Sunday performances for the first time, Caroline Steinbeis is to direct The Crucible. It runs from September 18 to October 24, with a press night on September 23.

Luke Norris’s Bruntwood Prize-winning play So Here We Are is to be staged in the theatre’s studio from September 5 to October 10, with a press night on September 25.

The season will also see Maxine Peake star in The Skriker as part of Manchester International Festival, with the theatre also set to host the theatre host Orange Tree Theatre’s production Pomona, following a stint at the National Theatre.

Sarah Frankcom said the season has “access, collaboration and new voices at its heart”.

“Our partnerships with MIF, National Theatre, Orange Tree Theatre and HighTide enable us to present our audiences with the best work from not just across the region, but across the UK,” she continued.

“This season presents a series of firsts for us a company – with Sunday performances, our first relaxed performance, and the opening of our third performance space at Swan Street Studios, where our Associate Director Matthew Xia will oversee a programme that will support emerging talent from across our region.”

This story was amended on May 15 to correct a factual error. It originally stated Wit would be a UK premiere, however the play previously ran in the West End’s Vaudeville Theatre in 2000.

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