Royal Exchange Theatre

Levitt Bernstein, Manchester, 1976


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The great hall of the Exchange acts as a foyer to the 'theatre module' which site under the central dome 

Tim Street-Porter     Download Original

  • The great hall of the Exchange acts as a foyer to the     
  • Corner of theatre    
  • An awning marks the entrance from St Ann    
  • Entrance to theatre    
  • Interior of working theatre    
  • One of the primary trusses showing how in derives its support from an existing pier    
  • Sliding and rotating joints to accommodate vertical displacement in the structure    
  • Ground floor plan and first gallery level    
  • First floor plan and second gallery level    
  • Section    
  • 3D drawings    
  • Axonometric of theatre module    
  • Model showing strcuture and placement of module    
  • Model showing the translucent panels    
  • Interior of the Corn Exchange before work starts    
  • The galleries are hung from the steel trusses    
  • The steelwork of the theatre module    

Seven sided theatre-in-the-round, suspended within Manchester's three-domed Edwardian Cotton Exchange

The design of the auditorium aimed to give a lightness and character precisely opposite to that of the building that houses it. All other public areas including the restaurant, rehearsal rooms, offices, dressing rooms and service areas were incorporated within the original cotton exchange building.

The structure is carried on the four brick piers that also hold the vast dome of the original building. A rectangle of 30m by 21m sits between the piers dictating the size of the theatre. Four trusses form the principal walls of the module with additional trusses forming the roof. Steel mesh panels, toughened glass and steel decking enclose the structure.

The theatre provides a separate acoustic entity with seating for 700 people spread between cantilevered galleries and the existing floor plate.


  • Begun: 1975
  • Completed: 1976
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £775,000
  • Tender date: 1974
  • Address: St Anns Square, Manchester, M2 7DH, United Kingdom

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