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Matthew Xia to leave Royal Exchange

Director Matthew Xia who is leaving the Royal Exchange to work freelance. Photo: Jonathan Keenan Director Matthew Xia who is leaving the Royal Exchange to work freelance. Photo: Jonathan Keenan
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Matthew Xia is to leave his post as associate artistic director at the Royal Exchange Theatre.

Xia’s tenure at the theatre, where he has worked full time for the past three years, has come to an end and he will return to freelance directing in 2018.

He is scheduled to direct a new adaptation of Frankenstein at the Royal Exchange next year, when his work commitments include shows at the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff, Nottingham Playhouse and Theatre Royal Stratford East.

During his three years at the Royal Exchange, Xia directed last year’s production of Into the Woods as well as Wish List, Katherine Soper’s Bruntwood-winning play.

He has also developed a support network for emerging artists in Greater Manchester called Open Exchange.

Of his departure, he said: “I have had the most amazing three years as the Exchange’s associate artistic director. I have been supported to develop my own work, pushed to make work that stretches and tests me as a director, and encouraged to grow as an artistic leader of a building.

“I am incredibly proud of creating the talent development scheme Open Exchange and our work with emerging artists. As a consequence, we have seen a substantial shift in our relationships with theatremakers across the region and have been celebrated as a more open and approachable building.”

Royal Exchange artistic director Sarah Frankcom described Xia as a “passionate and talented director” as well as a “true advocate for theatre as a tool for change”.

The theatre will begin recruiting for its next associate artistic director in January.

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