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Manchester Royal Exchange founder Braham Murray dies aged 75

Braham Murray. Photo: Jonathan Keenan

Braham Murray, the longest serving artistic director of the Royal Exchange Manchester, has died suddenly aged 75.

Murray devoted most of his working life to the Exchange, which he established in 1976 with fellow directors Michael Elliott (father of Marianne) and Casper Wrede. He did not retire officially until 2012 [1].

In his 2007 autobiography, The Worst It Can Be is a Disaster, Murray admitted that he had spent most of his adult life “substituting theatre for life”.

After leaving Oxford in the 1960s he became artistic director of Century Theatre, which subsequently became the resident company at the University Theatre in Manchester, and toured north-west England.

With his friends Elliott and Wrede he set up the 69 Theatre Company, which continued into the early 1970s.

Murray directed the opening production at the Royal Exchange, Sheridan’s The Rivals, designed by his wife, Joanna Bryant, in 1976.

He went on to direct more than 60 shows at the Royal Exchange, many of them designed by Bryant.

Still working, he had been engaged to direct a new opera for the Boston Lyric Opera Company, due to premiere in November, and his latest book, What You Will, will be published by White Crow Books in September.

A full obituary will appear in The Stage next week.