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Manchester Royal Exchange to launch third performance space

Performer Josh Coates in the Swan Street Studios space, Manchester Performer Josh Coates in the Swan Street Studios space, Manchester
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Manchester’s Royal Exchange is to open a new 100-seat studio theatre.

Swan Street Studios, which the theatre already used as a costume and prop store, has been refurbished to include a large studio, as well as a green room and office space. It will also be used for rehearsals and has been refurbished at a cost of £200,000.

Lyric Hammersmith’s Secret Theatre company staged a show in the unfinished space last year.

In addition, the venue will host a scheme to develop emerging artists called the Open Exchange, which will include workshops, masterclasses, scratch performances and sharings.

Royal Exchange associate artistic director Matthew Xia hopes to set up a system whereby fringe artists in Manchester can book the space for free.

He explained: “What me and [artistic director] Sarah Frankcom have been talking about quite a lot is that we now have six spaces –that’s more spaces than we need quite a lot of the time. And so I think the best use of that space is to hand it over to the artists of Manchester.”

The refurbishment of the space was funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, as well as the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Granada Foundation and individual donors.

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