The Royal Exchange Theatre has announced that Roy Alexander Weise will join Bryony Shanahan as their new joint Artistic Directors.
Bryony and Roy will join Executive Director Stephen Freeman to complete the leadership team for this award-winning theatre. Together they will assume the role of Chief Executive.
Roy Alexander Weise has made waves in the theatre industry across the UK, from winning the prestigious James Menzies-Kitchin Award to directing smash-hits for the National Theatre, the Young Vic and in the West End. He is currently Associate Artist at the Donmar Warehouse. Bryony moves into the Artistic Directorship from her current role as the Exchange’s Associate Artistic Director which has seen her direct work across all of their stages and become a dynamic artistic leader within the organisation. She also has a vibrant freelance career, including winning the 2016 Genesis Future Directors Award at The Young Vic and directing work nationally and internationally.
Executive Director Steve Freeman said: ‘Both Bryony and Roy are extraordinary talents who together presented an original and exciting vision for the future of our theatre. They are innovative creative thinkers and inspiring theatre-makers with a drive to deliver theatre with the broadest possible reach. As joint Artistic Directors, they bring a fresh and invigorating approach to shaping the future of regional theatre, together with the wider team at the Royal Exchange they will reimagine what it means for a producing building to place artists and audiences firmly at the heart of everything we do. I cannot wait to start working with them. ‘
Roy and Bryony said of their joint appointment… ‘We are excited, in so many ways – to be working with each other and with Steve, to become part of the Exchange’s evolution, and to make work with and for the people of Manchester. The Exchange is an extraordinary theatre, and under Sarah Frankcom’s leadership, it’s been transformed. She has reimagined the relationship that artists and audiences have with this theatre, championed their voices and celebrated the democracy that the Exchange’s unique space allows. We are really looking forward to building on that dynamic, using it to shape the new work we make and to inform our relationships with communities across Greater Manchester going forwards. ‘
Roy added… ‘It’s so important to ask if our work reflects and represents the audiences we want to encourage into the building. Leading this extraordinary theatre with Bryony is hugely significant, changing the way leadership looks and behaves means that our theatres really can be for anyone. What our country needs so badly is a reignited and reinvigorated sense of community; we want our audiences to be the start of that. They are my ultimate boss. As Artistic Directors, we want to give back the opportunities we had so that everyone has access to amazing stories and extraordinary life-defining theatre experiences.’
Roy and Bryony will take over the leadership of the Royal Exchange Theatre from Sarah Frankcom from the 1 November 2019.