Braham Murray

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Braham Sydney Murray, OBE (12 February 1943 – 25 July 2018) was an English theatre director. In 1976, he was one of five founding Artistic Directors of the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, and the longest serving (he retired in 2012).[1]

Early years[edit]

Braham Goldstein was born in North London, the son of Samuel Goldstein.[2] His name became Murray when his mother re-married and Philip Murray became his step-father. He attended Clifton College, Bristol, at the age of 13 where he acted in The Bespoke Overcoat by Wolf Mankowitz (adapted from a Gogol short-story) and directed Ibsen’s Brand in school productions. He read English at University College, Oxford from 1961.

He spent most of his time at University directing and eventually left Oxford in 1964 without taking his degree. His student productions included The Connection by Jack Gelber, The Hostage by Brendan Behan, A Man for all Seasons by Robert Bolt and Rhinoceros by Eugène Ionesco. While still at Oxford, he co-wrote and directed Hang Down Your Head and Die, for the ETC (experimental theatre club) at the Oxford Playhouse. It opened on 12 February 1964 before transferring to the Comedy Theatre in London and later to Broadway.[3][4][5]

Foundation of the Royal Exchange Theatre[edit]

After leaving Oxford he directed The Winter's Tale at Birmingham Rep with Prunella Scales. Later, in September 1965, he was appointed artistic director of Century Theatre which became the resident company at the University Theatre in Manchester as well as touring the north-west of England using a mobile theatre. In 1967, Michael Elliott and Caspar Wrede agreed to direct productions at the Century Theatre. In 1968, the three men set up the 69 Theatre Company at the University where they produced plays until 1972 when the group started to look for a permanent theatre in Manchester.

They were joined by Richard Negri, who was to design the new theatre, and James Maxwell and in 1973 a temporary theatre, The Tent, was installed in the disused Royal Exchange in Manchester. The success of The Tent led to the decision being taken to build the new theatre inside the Royal Exchange. Using the Theatre in the round principles, it became the largest such theatre in the UK.[5] The opening production in September 1976, was The Rivals which was directed by Murray. He moved permanently to Manchester at this time, with his wife, designer Joanna Bryant, and their family. She had already designed many of his productions and would continue to do so at the Royal Exchange.[citation needed]

He continued to be an artistic director of the Company and directed 65 productions.[5] Murray received the OBE in the 2010 New Year Honours for services to drama.[6] In June 2011, he announced that he was to step down as artistic director in 2012.[7]


His productions include: -[3][4][8]

Royal Exchange[edit]

Other theatres[edit]


  • Murray, Braham (2007). The Worst It Can Be Is a Disaster. London: Methuen Drama. ISBN 978-0-7136-8490-2. 
  • The Royal Exchange Theatre Company Words & Pictures 1976 – 1998. The Royal Exchange Theatre Company Limited. 1998. ISBN 0-9512017-1-9. 
  • What You Will: An Inner Journey with Shakespeare. White Crow Books. 2018. ISBN 978-1-78677-052-3. 


  1. ^ "Theatre History". The Royal Exchange Theatre. Archived from the original on 3 October 2014. 
  2. ^ Murray, Braham (4 July 2014). "The Worst It Can Be Is A Disaster: The Life Story of Braham Murray and the Royal Exchange Theatre". Bloomsbury Publishing – via Google Books. 
  3. ^ a b The Royal Exchange Theatre Company Words & Pictures 1976 – 1998
  4. ^ a b "Braham Murray". The Royal Exchange Theatre. 
  5. ^ a b c "Braham Murray: Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre founder dies". BBC News. 27 July 2018. Retrieved 27 July 2018. 
  6. ^ "Jews on the New Years Honours List". The Jewish Chronicle. 31 December 2009. Retrieved 27 July 2018. 
  7. ^ "Manchester Royal Exchange founder Braham Murray dies aged 75". 27 July 2018. 
  8. ^ Wormald, Vicky. "Welcome to the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester". 
  9. ^ "SCHOENBERG IN HOLLYWOOD | NOV 14-18". Boston Lyric Opera. Retrieved 2018-09-17.