Royal Exchange Theatre

A grade II listed building complex which includes the Theatre and a Shopping Arcade. The current building is the last of several buildings on the site used for commodities exchange, primarily but not exclusively of cotton and textiles.  The original building dates from 1874 but was extended and modified between 1914 and 1931 to form the largest trading hall in England.  It was seriously damaged during World War II when it took a direct hit from a bomb during the Manchester Blitz at Christmas 1940, and its interior was rebuilt with a smaller trading area.  Trading ceased in 1968, and the building was threatened with demolition.  The Royal Exchange Theatre was founded in 1976 and was opened by Laurence Olivier.  The building was again damaged in 1996 when an IRA bomb exploded less than 50 yards away.  The blast caused the dome to move, although the main structure was undamaged.  Repairs took over two years, cost 32 million, and the theatre re-opened on 30 November 1998.  The opening production, Stanley Houghton's 'Hindle Wakes', was the play that should have opened the day the bomb exploded.

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Royal Exchange Theatre