The Den pops up in Stalybridge Civic Hall this summer

AWARD-Winning Manchester city centre theatre the Royal Exchange will unveil its brand-new pop-up theatre THE DEN this August in Stalybridge Civic Hall with a two-week festival of theatre, community productions, workshops and family events from 13 – 24 August.

The Den at Stalybridge Civic Hall

Under the umbrella of Local Exchange the festival celebrates work developed as part of the Theatre’s three-year residency in Tameside. Working with Royal Exchange artists the residents of Tameside have created some fantastic pieces of work for the Den.

A Tameside Story made by the community, will open the Den for the very first time on Tuesday 13 August and will be followed by programming chosen by the Tameside Ambassadors, 13 passionate and dedicated residents who have helped to shape the work happening across the borough.

There will also be the opportunity to see some of the work created by the Royal Exchange including a unique performance of their latest production THERE IS A LIGHT THAT NEVER GOES OUT: SCENES FROM THE LUDDITE REBELLION and UTOPIA, the brand-new show from the theatres award-winning Young Company.

The festival programme includes:

A TAMESIDE STORY – created by the community

Royal Exchange artists and the residents of Tameside have been collaborating to make original pieces of theatre that tell stories that reflect their communities. Hosted by the Royal Exchange Tameside Ambassadors this celebratory evening includes work from an intergenerational physical theatre group, youth groups, Age UK Tameside and live music from Global Grooves.

THERE IS A LIGHT THAT NEVER GOES OUT: Scenes from the Luddite Rebellion

Fresh from the Royal Exchange Theatre and Kandinsky theatre company- the story of the Luddites is brought bang up to date using 21st-century technology. It’s the early 1800s, Manchester is one of the most advanced cities in the world – but workers are being side-lined for profit. It’s time to come together, it is time for rebellion – but with spies in the midst who can be trusted?


A FAST ONE – Written and Performed by Ali Wilson

An old wise man sits crossed legged on a rock by the sea. As the sun goes down, he whispers to the world: when I shanghai you, you’ll wake up at sea, working for me. An 18-year-old finds herself in love with someone who wants to ruin her. A group of people gather in one place to be entertained. A dog barks.

GRIEVE. BREATHE. SMILE. REPEAT. – Created by SHAR X Conan The Librarian When did you last miss me? My birthday? Christmas?  This is about grieving for people who are still alive. Someone who is here in body but not in spirit. It’s called ambiguous grief, but where is its place, what is the experience? Stand and be enveloped in an audio-visual experience through the seven stages of grief, with you stood at the heart of it. This is something more than “I miss you”.

[M]OTHERS – Created and Performed by Christopher Brown, Yandass Ndlovu, Helen Andrew and Jordan Skelly. A disruptive pop-up performance that mixes poetry with movement and dance. A combination of verbatim material and autobiographical stories exploring our relationships with the word Mother and its meanings.

UTOPIA – Created by the Young Company with text by Chris Thorpe, directed by Atri Banerjee.

The award-winning Royal Exchange Theatre Young Company present their latest show UTOPIA. Half a millennium after Thomas More wrote Utopia they re-imagine this classic for today – and ask what does Utopia mean for us now? And what does it mean in our future? Atri Banerjee returns to after his hugely successful production of HOBSON’S CHOICE this summer.

Family work includes:
THE GOOSE WHO FLEW, a Lots of Odds Theatre production for ages 3-7. Using charming storytelling, simple puppetry and an assortment of quirky characters, this is a heartfelt story about the importance of compassion, community and understanding. 

THE STORY DEN: Saturday morning story telling sessions from some very special guests including Coronation Street stars Sally Dynevor, Julie Hesmondhalgh and Tupele Dorgu plus Alex Williams and Haiesha Mistry from Hollyoaks and Manchester comedian Justin Moorhouse.

You can also get involved, workshops will run throughout the festival and include; a TAMESIDE ARTISTS MIXER where local artists from all disciplines can meet to share ideas and exchange opportunities with other makers from across Tameside.  DEN BUILDING, a hands-on, drop-in workshop for all the family where you can get creative and make the perfect hideaway. Other workshops are yet to be announced but will be running during the two-week festival.

The festival has been developed with dedicated partners from across Tameside including Tameside Council, Jigsaw Homes, Ashton Library, Global Grooves, Age UK Tameside Women’s Centre and Dukinfield Pantry.

The Royal Exchange will be operating a mobile ‘Pay What You Decide’ box office from Stalybridge Civic Hall during the festival and in Tameside One on the dates below.

19 Jul 3-6pm              Stalybridge Civic Hall

20 Jul 12-3pm            Tameside One

25 Jul 3-6pm              Stalybridge Civic Hall

26 Jul 12-4pm            Tameside One

12 Aug 1-4pm            Stalybridge Civic Hall


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