Go backstage on a tour of Royal Exchange Theatre

It’s easy to walk by the Royal Exchange Theatre without knowing the history and beauty that hides inside. Thanks to a new series of tours of the building, you can get exclusive access to the Great Hall, the theatre’s production departments, backstage areas, dressing rooms and The Studio.

All tours share the fascinating history of the Royal Exchange building and the Theatre Company while offering real insight into the production process.

Much more than a Theatre, its Great Hall was once even Greater - in fact, it was twice the size. Tipped as the ‘largest room in the world’, this colossal space was one of the world’s centres for cotton trade until the Second World War, when the building took a direct hit during the Manchester blitz.

Threatened with demolition it started to host theatre productions in 1973. It’s otherwordly in-the-round theatre space is a sight to behold. Weighing in at 150 tonnes, the module is far too heavy to be supported by the floor of the Great Hall, but a stroll around the theatre soon reveals the solution: the module is “suspended” from four of the Hall’s enormous columns, leaving only the ground-floor seating and stage area to rest on the floor.