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Northern pleasure palace

Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre is about to join the big time. Herb Greer looks back on 40 years of achievement and welcomes the company's latest production

By Herb Greer   January 1997

Has anyone noticed? A regional theatre company in Manchester has been steadily building toward national status. Founded in the mid-1950s at Chorlton-cum-Hardy by Frank Dunlop, it played as the Piccolo Theatre Company in the top half of the local Conservative club; growing quietly through other incarnations and venues, it settled at last into a purpose-built theatre-in-the-round at Manchester’s Royal Exchange, taking the venue’s name. A second house at Islington is now in the design stage. This will be shared with the Royal Shakespeare Company, confirming that the Royal Exchange Company is to attain the rank so far reserved for the…

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