Acclaimed theatre and television actress Maxine Peake is to join us as an Associate Artist and will star in a radical re-imagining of HAMLET directed by Artistic Director Sarah Frankcom in autumn 2014. It will be the first of a number of exciting creative collaborations with the theatre.
Her role as Associate Artist will draw on her considerable talents as one of the nation’s best-loved actors and also as an increasingly exciting writer. It will include opportunities for her to get involved in the theatre’s pioneering work with community groups and young people – and work with young actors from across the city.
The appointment is the development of a longstanding relationship with the Royal Exchange which has already seen collaborations on a number of acclaimed productions including RUTHERFORD AND SON, THE CHILDREN’S HOUR and, most recently, MISS JULIE.
The role of Hamlet will reunite her with Artistic Director Sarah Frankcom, following the huge success of THE MASQUE OF ANARCHY, Shelley’s epic poem written in the wake of the Peterloo Massacre, which was performed to over 6,000 people as part of this year’s Manchester International Festival.
Maxine Peake said: “Sarah and I have looked for a project that would stretch and excite us and HAMLET just seemed the next natural step to challenge us both in so many ways. I am so excited how gender swapping can affect and throw up new ways of looking at this theatrical masterpiece; then to be asked to join the Exchange as an Artistic Associate was just the cherry on the cake.
“I am so honoured to be part of this building’s future for a little while, especially in this climate of savage cuts when more than ever we need to support our wonderful regional theatres. I feel no need to compete with London – more than ever local people need a voice and a creative outlet in these extreme times and I feel the Exchange has a huge role to play in that.”
Sarah Frankcom said: “Maxine started her acting career in our youth theatre. Her performances have thrilled our audiences and the Royal Exchange is her local theatre. We are thrilled she is going to be working more closely with us. HAMLET is a massively exciting challenge for any actor and director. I am certain Maxine will be a compelling and extraordinary Hamlet for our time.”