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Royal Exchange Theatre launches competition to discover creatives across Cheetham and Crumpsall

  • Royal Exchange pop-up theatre, The Den, to visit Cheetham and Crumpsall this summer
  • Opportunity for residents to have piece of original artwork exhibited at a festival
  • Auditions to open from May for residents to perform in curated community show

The Royal Exchange Theatre has launched a competition to find new talent in north Manchester.

The competition, MCRCR8 acts as part of the theatre’s local exchange programme which seeks to make the arts more accessible to those outside of the city centre.

Philippa Crossman, community producer for the Royal Exchange, explained: “It’s all about taking our theatre to different communities and bringing work to people’s doorsteps.

“We want to move away from the idea that people need to come to the city centre to see our work.”

The programme is split over three years, working closely alongside a group of ambassadors within the area.

Philippa said: “The first year is about us getting to know a place. We then recruit a group of ambassadors, a range of voices that really represent their local community.

“They act as our gatekeepers, so we’re not just visiting an area and bringing in what we think people would like to see.

“In our second year that group of ambassadors then help us to decide what the project should be, which is when we bring our Den festival to the area, too.”

The Den was originally scheduled to visit Cheetham and Crumpsall in 2020 but was postponed due to the pandemic.

The pop-up theatre which has previously visited Leigh and Tameside, showcases the work of locals across the community including plays, workshops, and stand-up performances.

Successful entrants of MCRCR8 will have the opportunity to exhibit their work at the Den this summer, which is set to be held at the Ukraninan centre.

Royal Exchange local arts competition
Cheetham and Crumpsall residents could have their work exhbited as part of the Royal Exchange Den festival. Image: Royal Exchange

Philippa added: “The overall goal of this festival is to really change the narrative of the bad headlines, the criminals, the side of it that is in the press.

“Our ambassadors really want to, celebrate the multicultural, diversity of the area and shout about the people you don’t often hear about.

“The art competition will be a great way of shining a different light on the area.”

MCRCR8 is open to all ages with prizes awarded across each age category. Entrants must either live in or have a connection to the Cheetham and Crumpsall area.

“You don’t have to be an artist. It’s an open opportunity for anyone to enter,” Philippa said.

“It might be a building that you walk past every day that really stands out to you, it’s just about people tapping into a bit of creativity and showing off the place where they live.”

In addition to the competition, Philippa said ambassadors were keen to present a community show as part of the festival

“The show will essentially be a story about the area which we’re hoping for local people to come and perform in that alongside a couple of professional actors,” she said.

A plotline for the play is yet to be confirmed but a callout for auditions can be expected around May.

Previously the theatre helped to produce a similar project in Tameside, No Such Thing as Ordinary, retelling the stories of those who live in the area.

After a successful performance at the Guide Bridge Theatre last year, the play is now set to showcase at the Royal Exchange later this month.

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