Maxine Peake to play Blanche DuBois in Royal Exchange Theatre’s opening RET40 show

Amazing news has just been announced!

Associate Artist Maxine Peake opens the Royal Exchange’s 40th anniversary season with her portrayal of iconic female protagonist Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams’ 1947 Pulitzer Prize winning masterpiece A STREET CAR NAMED DESIRE.

This production sees Exchange Artistic Director Sarah Frankcom and long-term collaborator Peake join forces once again to tackle one of modern dramas greatest plays. The production opens at the Royal Exchange on the 8 September and runs until 15 October.

Peake said of taking on the role…
Blanche DuBois is a monumental woman, complex, multi-layered and beautifully painted by Williams in this staggering play. Finding out who she is and developing her in a rehearsal room with a brilliant and generous director like Sarah is a thrilling journey to go on. I can’t wait to start.

This production reunites the incredible creative partnership behind acclaimed productions THE SKRIKER, HAMLET (Royal Exchange) and THE MASQUE OF ANARCHY (MIF 2013).

Sarah Frankcom commented…
This is an earthquake of a play that lays bare the extremes and contradictions of being human: desire and love, truth and delusion, hope and despair. I’m thrilled that this production will build on my creative collaboration with Maxine Peake. She’s a rare and fearless actor. I am positive we will create something electrifying for our intimate and unique space.

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BBC Radio 3 airing ‘The Skriker’ starring Maxine Peake – 20 March 2016

BBC Radio 3 airing ‘The Skriker’ starring Maxine Peake – 20 March 2016

EDIT:

“Long before that, long before England was an idea, a country of snow and wolves where trees sang and birds talked and people knew we mattered…”

In a broken world, two sisters Lily and Josie meet an extraordinary creature. The Skriker is a shape-shifter, an ancient fairy. She can be an old woman, a child, a man, a death portent. She has come from the Underworld to pursue, seduce and entrap them, through time and space, through this world and her own.

Whilst speaking English in its human incarnations, the Skriker’s own language consists of broken and fragmented word play. Blending naturalism, horror and magical realism, it is a story of love, loss and revenge.

Cast:
The Skriker….Maxine Peake
Lily…. Danusia Samal
Josie…. Laura Elsworthy
Choir Master…. Stuart Overington
The Hag…. Jessica Walker
Choir….Alaka Prodhun, Charlie Green, Charlotte Beale, Elizabeth Barry, Joanna Griffins, Justina Aina, Olivia Avouris and Rebekah Davies

The Skriker by Caryl Churchill was first produced by The Royal Exchange Theatre as part of the 2015 Manchester International Festival directed by Sarah Frankcom. It was adapted for radio by Caryl Churchill and directed by Sarah Frankcom.

Producer/Susan Roberts for the BBC

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Maxine Peake: ‘Women are better than men at running theatres’

Maxine Peake has claimed women are better at running theatres than men because they are more adept at multitasking and often have smaller egos.


Sarah Frankcom and Maxine Peake at The Stage Awards 2016. Photo: Eliza Power

Peake was speaking at The Stage Awards about the work of Sarah Frankcom at Manchester’s Royal Exchange, a theatre she has worked with on a number of occasions. The actor said women were instinctively better at “keeping all the balls in the air”.

She told The Stage: “I just think actually women are probably better for running buildings, because they can multitask. And I think – without sounding terribly sexist, and I’m not saying across the board – they generally have a smaller ego.”

She continued: “There are female theatre directors out there with huge egos, I know. But I think they can deal with a building [better], because they’ve got that instinct of keeping all the balls in the air, and I think that suits women’s strengths.”

Peake was attending The Stage Awards with Frankcom, where the Royal Exchange was named regional theatre of the year.

The Bolton-born actor is an associate artist at the Manchester venue, and has repeatedly performed there over the course of her career – most recently in a staging of Caryl Churchill’s The Skriker.

Peake also voiced frustration that theatres in Manchester are not recognised at the Olivier Awards, and said the awards should be expanded to include theatres nationwide.

She explained: “I get so annoyed because theatre is so London centric. People say to me: ‘Oooh, you’re not doing another play in Manchester?’. Well, why not? It’s a great place to be doing it, and there’s a regular audience there.

“But I think awards like the Oliviers – why should they just be London? It’s shocking. They’re televised. It should be nationwide. It’s like: let’s all just celebrate theatre that’s in London – well, it’s not always the best to be honest.”

She went on to suggest that critics of regional theatre failed to recognise that theatres outside of London have fewer resources.

“What people don’t take into account is in the regions we have less money, we have less time,” Peake said.

She added: “For a big show like Hamlet, we had five weeks. If you do it at the National, you get nine weeks. And then people review it on the same basis. And you think: we had two previews and then press night, they had two weeks and then press night. So let’s just put things into perspective.”

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Royal Exchange wins theatre of the year

Royal Exchange wins theatre of the year

Manchester’s Royal Exchange has been named regional theatre of the year at The Stage Awards.

The venue beat the Chichester Festival Theatre and Northampton’s Royal and Derngate to the honour.

Actress Maxine Peake, who won rave reviews for her role in The Skriker at the theatre last year, collected the award at the London ceremony along with artistic director Sarah Frankcom.

In The Skriker, Peake was described as “a cross between Vivienne Westwood and the Virgin Queen”

The Almeida Theatre was also named London theatre of the year.

It beat Shakespeare’s Globe and the Barbican for its hit Greeks season, which achieved both critical and box office success as well as a West End transfer of the Oresteia.

The Stage’s editor, Alistair Smith, said the quality of work over the past year had made it “really tricky” for the judges.

‘Meteoric arrival’

The Other Room – Cardiff’s first pub theatre – won fringe theatre of the year – the first venue outside London to win the prize.

Opened in February 2015, the judges described the 44-person capacity venue’s first year as a “meteoric arrival” on the theatre scene.

Sonia Friedman was named producer of the year for the second year. In 2015 she was behind nine UK shows, including the new West End musical Bend It Like Beckham and Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hamlet at the Barbican.

The National Theatre won two awards – the international award for its collaboration with the National Theatre of China on a Chinese production of War Horse; and the theatre building of the year prize for its NT Future regeneration project.

Arts Educational Schools London collected the school of the year award and stage manager Roger Miller was named unsung hero for his work in saving the Felixstowe Spa Pavilion Theatre.

Here are this year’s winners in full:

London theatre of the year – Almeida Theatre

Fringe theatre of the year – The Other Room, Cardiff

Regional theatre of the year – Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

Producer of the year – Sonia Friedman

International award – War Horse China

School of the year – Arts Educational Schools London

Theatre building of the year – NT Future

Unsung Hero – Roger Miller

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Moving Stories- A fundraising performance for the United Nations Refugee Agency

Moving Stories- A fundraising performance for the United Nations Refugee Agency

This Valentine’s Day, top names from the British stage are coming together to help raise funds for the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).

With brand new and much loved work from Richard Bean, David Edgar and more, Moving Stories will see a host of stars perform in aid of the current overwhelming global refugee crisis – the largest since the Second World War.

    The afternoon will include performances from:

Maxine Peake, Zubin Varla, Ray Fearon, Rufus Hound, Hattie Morahan, Andy Nyman, Adjoa Andoh, Noma Dumezweni, Anna-Jane Casey, Natalie Casey, Liza Goddard, James Bolam, Susan Jameson, Di Botcher and Macy Nyman.

    All proceeds will go to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) to provide much needed support and assistance to refugees.

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