The history of the Royal Exchange: The Royal Exchange used to be the place where the city’s traders would meet to buy and sell goods. Spun yarn was one of the main goods traded there and in the eighteenth century this formed part of the slave trade. During the slave trade, enslaved Africans were transported to the Americas where cotton was grown. This cotton was then exported to Liverpool, where the raw cotton was sold to mill owners and industrialists to turn into finished products. Finished products such as spun yarn (cotton that has been spun into a thread that can be used for sewing or weaving) were then traded at the Manchester Royal Exchange and exported around the world.
The Royal Exchange building was first used to house a theatre company in 1973; the Royal Exchange Theatre was founded in 1976.
Revelations of Black: SuAndi writes (The ASHA Centre), “In 1985 I coordinated ‘Revelations of Black’ for the Black Arts Alliance at the Royal Exchange Theatre for the Manchester Festival. Once again the Libran trait was evident, balancing my own writing and performing with leading a growing, and in so many ways revolutionary, organisation founded by a group of committed community artists who, unlike myself knew that paper work drains creativity and were happy to hand over the steering.”
For more about SuAndi’s work with the Black Arts Alliance, read her 2004 interview, “I’m a Very Northern, Mixed-Race Woman”: An Interview with SuAndi. Other online profiles of SuAndi can be found on the Moving Manchester Writers Gallery, Commonword, and Apples and Snakes.