Brief Encounter at the Royal Exchange Theatre

Kristy Stott, Theatre Editor
Brief Encounter at the Royal Exchange
Image courtesy of Felicity McCabe.

Brief Encounter at Royal Exchange Theatre, City Centre 2 December 2023 — 13 January 2024 Tickets from £12.00 — Book now

The Royal Exchange Christmas production is always a theatrical festive highlight and this year is no different – Emma Rice’s smash-hit adaptation of Noël Coward’s Brief Encounter comes to town.

Layered with wit, warmth and toe-tapping music, Brief Encounter is a heart-stopping story of forbidden love.

Happening as part of the Royal Exchange Autumn/ Winter Season, Emma Rice’s inventive and heart-wrenching translation of the Noël Coward classic is a romantic masterpiece layered with drama and passion. Based on the iconic 1945 film, directed by David Lean and written by Coward, Brief Encounter was inspired by Coward’s earlier one-act play, Still Life, first staged in 1936. Praised for its playfulness and innovation, Emma Rice’s stage adaptation of Brief Encounter was first performed by Kneehigh in 2008 – we’re thrilled that a revival of this modern classic will be performed in Manchester this Christmas.

Layered with wit, warmth and toe-tapping music, Brief Encounter is a heart-stopping story of forbidden love. Housewife Laura and local doctor Alec first find each other in a bustling railway station, a place where the rest of the world is just passing through. Bittersweet and hopelessly hooked on one another, they fall wildly in love and embark on an elegantly awkward and forbidden love affair.

Directed by former Royal Exchange Artistic Director Sarah Frankcom, Brief Encounter stars musical theatre performer Baker Mukasa, straight from his role in the Olivier Award-winning musical Standing at the Sky’s Edge, and Hannah Azuonye, who appeared in the West-End transfer of Girl from the North Country. The cast is completed by a super versatile multi-rolling cast of five, Matthew Allen, Georgia Frost, Richard Glaves, Christina Modestou and Ida Regan.

Marking the 50th anniversary of Coward’s death, Rice’s timely and unique version of the iconic work showcases the playwright’s extraordinary skill, both in writing and composing.

Marking the 50th anniversary of Coward’s death, Rice’s timely and unique version of the iconic work showcases the playwright’s extraordinary skill, both in writing and composing. Bursting with a celebratory programme of show tunes taken from Coward’s exceptional songbook, Brief Encounter will feature live jazz musicians on stage and a beautiful arrangement by Musical Director Matthew Malone.

Of the show, Sarah Frankcom told us, “Remembering Noël Coward in this 50th anniversary year allows us to really foreground his mastery as a remarkable songwriter responsible for delivering and performing some of the most iconic songs of the last 100 years. I’m really looking forward to creating a production that allows these enduring characters to inhabit the world of the song and lets us understand the inside of their hearts.”

Bursting with a celebratory programme of show tunes taken from Coward’s exceptional songbook.

Sweeping into the Royal Exchange’s stunning in-the-round theatre for six sweet weeks, Brief Encounter brings a lot of heart and has been billed as the perfect winter warmer for “all incurable romantics this Christmas”.

Brief Encounter at Royal Exchange Theatre, City Centre 2 December 2023 — 13 January 2024 Tickets from £12.00 Book now

What's on at Royal Exchange Theatre

Where to go near Brief Encounter at the Royal Exchange Theatre

St Ann’s Square
City Centre
Park
St Ann’s Square

St Ann’s Square is a quiet little enclave of shops, with Barton’s Arcade set back from it on one side, and St Ann’s Church, which dates back to 1712 and…

Rapha Clubhouse Manchester
City Centre
Shop
Rapha Clubhouse Manchester

AKA cyclist heaven, Rapha is more than just a cycle-wear shop. It’s a place for anyone who loves cycling to congregate and celebrate the sport together.

City Centre
Bar or Pub
The Botanist

The Botanist on Deansgate, Manchester, does botanical cocktails and toothsome food with aplomb.

City Centre
King Street Manchester

King Street is one of the most picturesque parts of Manchester with buildings designed by Alfred Waterhouse and C.R. Cockerell. Once Manchester’s financial epicenter, it’s now home to high-end retail and fine dining.

Manchester
Restaurant
KAI Deansgate

Kai is a Turkish restaurant on Deansgate, set up by the brains behind the well-regarded Zouk restaurant. Expect excellent mezze plates and an open grill that releases wonderful aromas throughout the venue.

City Centre
Restaurant
Lunya Manchester

Lunya is a Spanish and Catalan deli and restaurant in Manchester’s stunning Barton Arcade. The food is reliably fresh and the staff both charming and incredibly knowledgable.

What's on: Theatre

Culture Guides