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Maxine Peake to star in Happy Days at Royal Exchange

Maxine Peake will play Winnie in Happy Days
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Maxine Peake and Sarah Frankcom are to collaborate on a new production of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days next year.

It is the latest partnership between the actor and director, and will see Peake take on the role of Winnie for a production of Beckett’s one-woman play at the Royal Exchange in Manchester, where Frankcom is artistic director.

Peake and Frankcom’s theatre collaborations go back more than a decade and have recently included A Streetcar Named Desire in 2016 and The Skriker in 2015.

Peake has also written a new play that will be staged at the theatre later in the season, which follows four women who occupied the Parkside Colliery in Lancashire in the early 1990s when it was facing closure.

Titled Queens of the Coal Age, it is directed by Bryony Shanahan and co-produced with the New Vic Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent.

The two productions make up part of the Royal Exchange’s spring/summer season, which opens in March with a new adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein by April De Angelis.

The production will be directed by Royal Exchange associate director Matthew Xia, and will star Shane Zaza.

The season also includes Rory Mullarkey’s translation of Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, which has already been announced as part of co-producer Bristol Old Vic’s 2018 season.

RashDash will also present a new show, a response to Chekhov’s Three Sisters, in the studio theatre ahead of a tour, while the Royal Exchange will also stage a new adaptation of Helen Tse’s memoir Sweet Mandarin, renamed Mountains: The Dreams of Lily Kwok for the stage.

It is written by In-Sook Chappell and directed by Jennifer Tang. The show is co-produced with Yellow Earth and Black Theatre Live.

Season at a glance:

Frankenstein by April De Angelis
Directed by Matthew Xia
March 9 to April 7, with press night on March 13

Mountains: The Dreams of Lily Kwok by In-Sook Chappell
Directed by Jennifer Tang
March 22 to April 7, with press night on March 26

The Cherry Orchard by Rory Mullarkey
Directed by Michael Boyd
April 19 to May 19, with press night on April 24

Three Sisters by RashDash
May 3 to 19

Happy Days by Samuel Beckett
Directed by Sarah Frankcom
May 25 to June 23, with press night on May 30

Queens of the Coal Age by Maxine Peake
Directed by Bryony Shanahan
June 28 to July 21, with press night on July 3

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