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Royal Exchange Theatre's new pub

The Royal Exchange are transforming their studio into a pub

Published on August 19th 2009.


The theatre and the pub have always been closely-linked British institutions. Pre and post-show bevvies are part of the play-going experience, and there's often as much drama to be found in your local alehouse as there is on stage, particularly if you live in Weatherfield.

“It has always been a meeting point, a place where conviviality, surprise, tension, joy, laughter and heartbreak can collide.”

But with large numbers of British pubs closing every week, the Royal Exchange Theatre is getting worried about the life expectancy of this cherished part of our national identity. So they're opening up their own. Between 11 November and 5 December, their Studio performance space will be transformed into a working pub.

Studio producer Richard Morgan eloquently explains why they're keen to celebrate the beauty of the British boozer: “Nationally, pubs are disappearing at a rate of 40 a week,” he says. “The great British pub has been at the heart of our communities for centuries. It has always been a meeting point, a place where conviviality, surprise, tension, joy, laughter and heartbreak can collide – a place which can be as dependable as the ticking clock or where we can be suddenly surprised by the spontaneous or magical encounter.”

The theatre wants local artists to get involved with their pub – they've put out a call for ideas for performances and artworks that will work within this type of setting.

Says Richard: “We are urging local artists to respond to this environment and to this theme of work. We are looking for presentations which are low–tech but live and original. The successful proposals will be supported by our in-house producing team. We are looking for imaginative and exciting ideas that can be presented and performed within the traditional pub context. In return we can offer full support plus a small commission/appearance fee.”

Proposal forms for artists wanting to submit ideas can be downloaded at royalexchange.co.uk. The deadline for proposals is Tuesday 1 September.

So if you're an artist, get your thinking cap on and come up with some boozer-related ideas. In fact, why not head down to the pub for some liquid inspiration? There's nothing like a couple of pints to get the creative cogs turning.

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angriochaddyAugust 19th 2009.

Two things I wish to get off my chest. Firstly , I don't see how a false, contrived 'pub' set up inside the Royal Exchange is going to a] help the ailing licencers of Manchester to improve business, or b] attract more than a few dozen precious 'yuppies' who might get to hear about its existence , then pay the usual astronomical town prices , just for the artificial novelty of the experience . If they want ' authentic', tell 'em to get up Oldham Road and support genuine hostelries that close down at the rate of approx 2 a week !Secondly , I've been painting the ' boozers' of Manchester & salford for more than a decade [ as a disappearing , soon - to - be defunct aspect of British culture] so have quite a back- catalogue , should anyone fancy putting them on show ... [ some are on at the Revolve gallery right now , as it happens ]

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