Maxine Peake to star as Hamlet and take up new role as Associate Artist

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.”


Happy Birthday Maxine Peake & Gallery Update!

Happy Birthday Maxine Peake & Gallery Update!

Good morning everyone! As you all know it’s Maxine’s birthday today and we’d love to wish her a very happy one and that all her wishes may come true 🙂 To celebrate this day I have a little treat for y’all as I’ve updated the photo gallery with HQ photos of her ‘The Masque of Anarchy’ rehearsal. Thanks very much Helen for making this possible!
It’s also Maxine’s last performance at the MIF tonight so good luck Maxine!!! 😀

Maxine Peake performs PB Shelley’s ‘The Masque of Anarchy’ at MIF July 12-14, 2013

Tickets are on sale at 10am tomorrow. More information on ‘The Masque of Anarchy’:

On 16 August 1819, riven by poverty and disaffected at the lack of assistance offered by the state, 60,000 Mancunians gathered at St Peter’s Field to campaign for parliamentary reform. People came in peaceful protest: men, women and children, carrying picnics and wearing their Sunday best — but that didn’t deter local magistrates from sending an armed cavalry to disperse the crowds and arrest the speakers, killing 15 protestors and injuring hundreds more.

A touchstone event in British history, the Peterloo Massacre and the outrage it spurred ultimately helped to bring about the formation of the trade union movement and the reform of parliamentary democracy. On hearing of the massacre, poet Percy Bysshe Shelley penned The Masque of Anarchy, an indelibly powerful 91-verse epic widely regarded as the greatest political poem in British history.

For MIF, actress Maxine Peake (Shameless, Silk) and director Sarah Frankcom (Artistic Director, Royal Exchange Theatre) will deliver a haunting, provocative new interpretation of this landmark work, as relevant to post-riot, mid-recession Britain as it was when it was first written. The Masque of Anarchy will be staged in the atmospheric Albert Hall, mere steps from the site of the massacre itself.

Use hashtag #MIFMasque

Event Information

Fri 12 July 9.45pm
Sat 13 July 9.45pm & 11pm
Sun 14 July 9.45pm

Albert Hall
Peter Street
Manchester M2 5QJ

Concessions £5 off

Limited availability for registered disabled, senior citizens, students, under 16s and jobseekers

£12 Greater Manchester residents

Limited availability for the lower waged, available on a first-come, first-served, honesty basis

Transaction fee applies

40 mins approx.

Source: quaytickets.ccom

Maxine Peake and Willem Dafoe join Manchester International Festival 2013 line-up

Maxine Peake will star in a stage adaptation of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem The Masque of Anarchy, which will directed by Manchester Royal Exchange’s artistic director Sarah Frankcom, as part of this year’s Manchester International Festival.

Photo: Jonty Wilde

The production will be directed by Robert Wilson, whose work The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic featured at MIF in 2011 and also starred Dafoe.

MIF 2013 runs from July 4 to 21 and is financed by public subsidy from organisations including Arts Council England, Manchester City Council and Salford City Council as well as private sponsors. This year, ten new corporate sponsors are supporting the festival.

Alex Poots, MIF’s director, who announced the programme today, said: “From the outset of MIF our backdrop has been the city council here [Manchester City Council]. It’s thanks to them that we have been able to garner the support and confidence of private sector partners within the city and together with all of our partners we have created something that is much greater than the sum of all its parts.

He added: “I wasn’t going to say this, but I am. We are in such difficult times and for me the arts are more important than ever before. I know everyone is suffering cuts and it’s only fair, but to cut the heart out of this society is not the way to do it and I think the arts is part of the heart of that society.

“So I’m so grateful to everyone that has been generous to us and allowed us to commission great artists who can convey what they want to their audience. So it’s a heartfelt thanks to them.”


Tickets are on sale 10am, Friday 1st March via and on 0844 375 2013!