Who are we?

Elysium Theatre Company started with a conversation between director Jake Murray and actor Danny Solomon in the cafe in Waterstones in Manchester in 2016. Jake was in Durham, Danny was in Manchester. They had worked together before. Why not create a company to bring theatre to the North?

The goal was to start with northern premieres, plays that had been seen all across the world – London, New York, Belfast, South Africa etc – which had never been done in the north east or north west. Since then we have been able to break new ground with hugely popular productions of classics and new plays of our own.

All our shows would focus on great writing, poetic but gritty, emotional but real, with real focus on fantastic acting and big themes. We would develop creative relationships across the north, with a special focus on the north east, build an ensemble of actors who be at the core of our productions,

We started in 2017 with the Durham and Manchester premiere of Owen MacCafferty’s adaptation of J P Miller’s ‘Days Of Wine And Roses’. Starting at the Assembly Rooms, Durham, it transferred to 53two in Manchester. It got rave reviews in both cities, put us on the map and saw Danny Solomon nominated for Best Fringe Performance at the Manchester Theatre Awards.

We followed that with the northern premiere of American playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis’s powerful metaphysical prison drama ‘Jesus Hopped The A Train’. The first time this hard-hitting play had been seen outside London, this played at the Assembly Rooms, Durham before transferring to HOME, Manchester. Once again it got rave reviews in both cities.

Since then we have done a double bill of Samuel Beckett plays, ‘Footfalls’ and ‘Krapp’s Last Tape’ as part of the Durham Festival of Arts at the Assembly Rooms, and the north east premiere of Jez Butterworth’s ‘The River’, this time at the City Theatre, Durham and the studio space at Queen’s Hall, Hexham, where we sold out.

The following year we produced a Northumberland-set adaptation of August Strindberg’s ‘Miss Julie’, which reunited Alice Frankham and Danny Solomon in the leads. This started at Queen’s Hall, Hexham, who were our co-producers, and went on to play at the Gala, Durham, the Exchange, North Shields and the Majestic in Darlington, before a week’s run at Hope Mill in Manchester. We swept the board with fine reviews and won Best New Revival In The North East in the British Theatre Guide.

We finished 2019 with a north eastern premiere of Playland, Athol Fugard’s brilliant, intense drama of the end of Apartheid. This played all across the North East and in Manchester and got the best reviews and audience reaction we have had for any of our shows.

2020 saw Covid-19 hit. We moved online with a series of playreadings and workshops and, most excitingly of all, the Covid-19 Monologues, fifteen new one-person plays by new writers… Our first five we won an Olwen Wymark Award from the Writers Guild of Great Britain, and since then they have been seen all over the world. One, The Moth, has been selected for nearly 30 international film festivals, and in 2023 won Best Monologue at the Kwanzaa Film Festival in Harlem, New York. In addition to all this, we also live streamed a full scale production of Fugard’s powerful drama of poor white South Africans Hello And Goodbye.

In 2022 we relaunched ourselves onto stages with two sell-out tours: A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen and Reiver – Tales From The Borders by Steve Byron. Reiver was the first of three adaptations of the Covid-19 Monologues we plan to bring to the stage over the next few years. 

Right now we are touring our third Fugard, The Island, written in collaboration with legendary South African actors John Kani and Winston Ntshona. This 50th Anniversary production will play at 15 northern venues…

Its been quite a time since our humble beginnings in 2017. Onwards to the future and our post-Covid world!

Come join the adventure….

Our Reviews



Jake Murray


Jake is an award-winning theatre director of 30 years experience. He has worked all across the country  from the London and Edinburgh fringes to the Chichester Festival Theatre, the Nottingham Playhouse, the Salisbury Playhouse, the Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich and London’s West End. From 2001 to 2008 he was at the Royal Exchange, Manchester, before leaving to go freelance. Notable productions include premieres of ‘Wolfboy’ by Brad Fraser, ‘Sitting Pretty’ by Amy Rosenthal, ‘The Sanctuary Lamp’ by Tom Murphy, ‘A Conversation’ by David Williamson and ‘Shoot The Crow’ and ‘Days Of Wine And Roses’ by Owen McCafferty and ‘Haddock And Chips’ by Janet Plater. . His record-making production of ‘Romeo And Juliet’ at the Royal Exchange starred Andrew Garfield and Gugu-Mbatha Raw and his production of ‘A Whistle In The Dark’ by Tom Murphy transferred to the Tricycle in London

A founder member of Elysium he has directed all of its productions, including ‘Days Of Wine And Roses’, ‘Jesus Hopped The A Train’, ‘Two By Beckett’, ‘The River’, ‘Miss Julie’, ‘Playland’, ‘Hello And Goodbye’, ‘A Doll’s House’, ‘Reiver – Tales From The Borders’ and ‘The Island’, as well as 14 of the 15 Covid-19 Monologues.

Danny Solomon


Danny trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts before leaving in 2011. Founder member of Elysium TC. Danny worked extensively in London in productions such as Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’, ‘The Spanish Tragedy’ by William Kyd, The Man Who by Peter Brook, ‘The Rivals’ by Sheridan and Consolation an original production by Mick Wood for which Danny was nominated for an ‘Offie’.

He moved to Manchester in 2015. After co-founding Elysium with Jake and Hannah he has played lead roles in eight of its ten productions:  Donal Mackin in Elysium’s ‘Days of Wine & Roses’ (for which Danny was nominated for a Manchester Theatre Award) Angel Cruz in ‘Jesus Hopped the A Train’, the Man in ‘The River’, John in ‘Miss Julie’, Gideon Le Roux in ‘Playland’, Johnnie Smit in ‘Hello And Goodbye’ and Torvald Helmer in ‘A Doll’s House’.

Hannah Ellis Ryan


Hannah Ellis Ryan is a Manchester-based actor and producer, originally from Australia. She co-founded Play With Fire Productions, who have staged two productions a year, focusing on giving voices to the invisible, telling great stories and daring greatly. She is the proud Theatre Manager at Hope Mill Theatre in Ancoats and co-founder of community group Manchester ADP.

Hannah is so proud to work with Elysium Theatre Company as both a producer, writer & actor. Acting credits include: ‘Sans Merci’ (Hope Mill Theatre), ‘Women of the World’ (Rochdale Literature Festival), Mercutio in Girl Gang Manchester’s all-female production of ‘Romeo & Juliet’, Roberta in ‘Danny And The Deep Blue Sea’ (Play With Fire) and portraying villain Hannah Gilmore in ITV’s ‘Coronation Street’.

For Elysium she has played the Woman in ‘The River’, Hester Smit in ‘Hello And Goodbye’ and Nora in ‘A Doll’s House’. She also wrote Covid-19 Monologue ‘Oh By The Way, I Hate Myself’.

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