Matt Hassall

Matt Hassall

Royal Exchange Theatre Young Company Director

  • Location: Manchester
  • Career stage: Early
  • Freelancer: Available

Making theatre to tell great stories and broaden horizons. I'm a firm believe that a little imagination goes a long way. Can talk until I'm blue in the face about the unprecedented way theatre can transport us to different places, into different lives and offer us unique viewpoints of the world.

Also a big fan of board games, bike rides, breakout escape rooms & biscuits (dunking essential).

2017, so far...

I've just finished directing WE WERE TOLD THERE WAS DANCING at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.

Described as a "beautifully realised subterranean LGBT odyssey" and "a kaleidoscope of memories, people and experiences", this devised piece of immersive theatre took over a series of secret underground locations and marked the 50th Anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act that began the decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales.

You can check out a mini-mentary about the process from MCR Live that is featured on my Portfolio page. 

And a video tour of some of our amazing performance spaces:

5 stars from Canal St Online and 4.5 stars from Manchester Theatre Awards, Northern Soul and Frankly, My Dear.

Other highlights...

On the same topic - I directed a new play depicting a historic moment in the gay rights movement in 1971. Charting a local battle for a gay club that became national news and, surprisingly, began in Burnley.

I was Associate Director on a sellout remount of Nothing by Amanda Dalton in the Royal Exchange Studio that also went on to pick up a Manchester Theatre Award.

Resident maker with Take Back Theatre - a political theatre collective led by Julie Hesmondhalgh. Recent collaboration SHOOTING THE MESSENGER was a high concept experience designed to start a conversation around borders, art, reportage, reliability, bias and prejudice. 

Up Next...

Further developing a new piece of immersive theatre with Take Back Theatre that responds to media manipulation, post-truth politics and the migrant crisis. A short film about our recent scratch version can be seen here:

Plus developing a new musical about Manchester with the Young Company at the Royal Exchange. 

Work History

Young Company Director - Royal Exchange Theatre

Dec 2013 - Present

Freelance Theatre Director - Various

Mar 2011 - Present

Creative Facilitator in SEN settings - Stone Soup

Jan 2012 - Jun 2016

Director - The Lowry

Jan 2016 - May 2016

Project Leader (Youth Theatre, Community Projects) - Octagon Theatre

Mar 2012 - Jun 2015

Director/Writer - Dramatically Healthy Theatre Company

Jun 2012 - Jul 2014


English Literature and Drama - BA Hons - University of East Anglia

Sep 2005 - Jul 2008


  • Facilitation
  • Assistant Directing
  • Directing
  • Drama
  • Physical Theatre
  • Project Management
  • Teaching
  • Theatre