Created by an incredible collection of professional artists and community participants, this year the countdown to Christmas from the Royal Exchange Theatre will be filled with stories that celebrate the streets and voices of Greater Manchester in ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS.

From tales of contemporary city-centre tower blocks to the terraces of Glebe Street in Leigh, each day behind an advent calendar door, a short section of a story will be revealed – a story filled with hope, joy and a little Christmas magic from some of the most inspiring artists from, and connected to, Greater Manchester. ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS is free to watch from 1 December – just wait for the door to open and the story will begin.

Bringing together film makers, directors, musicians, writers, performers, dancers, sound, costume and lighting designers, producers, dramaturgs, community partners and the staff of the Royal Exchange Theatre – ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS has been created by artists including Hollywood actors and community ambassadors.

Audiences will find the six short films scattered across the 24 days of an advent calendar, with an extra special performance for Christmas Day. Set in the tower blocks of Manchester City Centre, on Cheetham Hill Road (Cheetham), Gigg Lane (Bury), Glebe Street (Leigh), Henrietta Street (Ashton-Under -Lyne) and Grey Mare Lane (Beswick) are stories of the communities and people who breathe life into these unassuming Greater Manchester streets. ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS celebrates the Exchange’s city centre home and the areas of Greater Manchester that are part of the Theatre’s region-wide Local Exchange programme.

Executive Director Steve Freeman & Joint Artistic Directors Roy Alexander Weise and Bryony Shanahan said…

‘ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS brings together freelance artists and theatre workers, members of our Young and Elders Company, our Local Exchange Ambassadors and our extraordinary staff team; a small group of individuals who make up just part of the cultural community to which we belong. The streets of Greater Manchester are inhabited by us all – ordinary people living extraordinary lives. In this most challenging of years, with a challenging Christmas approaching we wanted to remind people of the resilience of human beings, the power of storytelling, and the strength of community. Escapism feels like such a radical, political act right now and this gift is an offer to all to tap into the power of the imagination; found in the cracks of our fear and the world’s uncertainty.

Choosing just six streets was tough but it felt important to shine a light on the areas and communities we have been working closely with as part of our Local Exchange programme. The broad range of artists involved show how rich the region is with talent and imagination; the passion and enthusiasm from all involved proves how Greater Manchester has a special place in the hearts of many.

Our team at the Royal Exchange have come together, battling through a void of deep pain and adversity to make this happen in record speed. We want to thank them for enduring this year of uncertainty with us. To ensure that the hardship of 2020 is not in vain, we must look forward with purpose to 2021, which will be a time of celebration and re-invention. We cannot wait to bring our audiences and communities on the journey into a new chapter for the Royal Exchange Theatre.’

Each year after the Christmas show we ask audiences to give what they can to the Arts Pot. This fund was created to break down barriers to engagement. It supports anyone who wants to take part in the Theatres programmes, from the Children’s Company through to our Elders Company. Applications can be made to cover fees or travel costs or any additional access needs such as BSL interpreter. This year we are opening the fund once again over the Christmas period.

The ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS advent calendar can be found on the website and will be released daily, at 10.30am, on the Theatre’s social media channels.


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