Manchester Theatre Awards

> Independent informed reviews by the region’s most experienced critics

Manchester Theatre Award winners

Winners of the 2013 Manchester Theatre Awards were presented with their trophies at a red carpet event at the city's Royal Exchange Theatre.

What's on

Closer to HOME as site-specific season is announced

The arrival of HOME, the eagerly-awaited new centre for visual arts, theatre and film, came a step closer this week as Walter Meierjohann announced their first season of site-specific theatre, paving the way for the kind of theatre which will be seen when HOME opens in spring 2015

Stars come out for murder

A starry cast, featuring Les Dennis, Claire Goose and Gray O'Brien, brings the darkly comic thriller The Perfect Murder to Manchester Opera House next week

Circus time for Rime at the Lowry

A mix of circus, dance and theatre based on Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and co-commissioned by the National Theatre, comes to Salford’s Lowry arts centre on Saturday and Sunday

Home goes out and about first . . .

The first season of theatre commissioned by Home, Manchester’s new centre for visual arts, theatre and film, is being overseen by Walter Meierjohann, the venue’s new artistic director for theatre

Youngsters join in Rapunzel fun

North West teens and tots join Poet Laureate Carol-Ann Duffy, actress Lesley Sharp, a Doctor Who composer and Game of Thrones designer in balletLORENT’s Rapunzel at The Lowry on April 26-27

Dialling up a classic thriller

Darkly gripping thriller Dial M For Murder will play the Opera House, Manchester, from May 6-10 starring Christopher Timothy

Private Peaceful tours to city

To mark the centenary of the First World War, a new tour of the stage production of Michael Morpurgo’s popular children’s story, Private Peaceful, comes to the Opera House, Manchester, May 7-10

Palace audiences sitting pretty

Ambassador Theatre Group has invested around £40,000 installing 480 new seats in the Palace Theatre, Manchester, which use the latest technology to increase comfort of the audience

Kempinski double bill for Octagon

The Octagon Theatre in Bolton stages a pair of outstanding plays by Tom Kempinski from next week

Big Top comes to town

Circus showman Gerry Cottle brings his brand new Turbo Circus to the UK, performing on Manchester’s Eithad Stadium car park from next Tuesday through to April 21

Regional dates for Extraordinary Light

Breathe Out Theatre are touring An Extraordinary Light by writer and director Rob Johnston, winner of The 2011 Kings Cross Award for New Writing

Bollywood flavour for 3MT

Manchester’s 3MT Theatre, the only purpose-built boutique theatre in Central Manchester is building on its established reputation for originality and creativity and opportunity with a Bollywood-inspired production

Three samples for Works Ahead

Word of Warning and Contact in Manchester host Works Ahead 2014 in May

. . . and the 24:7 winners are:

The results are in for Manchester’s annual 24:7 festival and writers of the following 10 scripts have been invited to participate in this year's 10th Birthday event! Afterglow by Julie Burrow Anonymity by Gareth George Box of Tricks by Richard Brady & Stephen M Hornby In (Y)our Bed by Rebekah Harrison The Lives and Loves of Vera Dymond by Jayne Marshall Pass by Naomi Sumner Stuff by Mick Cooper Three Women by Marianne Lloyd To The Dam by John Clarke The Tongue Twister by Luke Walker Meantime the organisers send thanks to the 120 writers who submitted their works for scrutiny and to the adjudicators involved in the selection process

An infant Coppelia for the Palace

English National Ballet and English National Ballet School present the third in their My First Ballet series with Coppélia, the comic tale of an eccentric toymaker and his mechanical doll, which comes to the Palace Theatre, Manchester, later this month

Manchester's new Home topped off

The official Topping Out ceremony for Home, Manchester’s new purpose-built multi-artform complex, took place in a rooftop ‘living room’ that had been lifted to the highest point to mark the occasion

Mother's Meltdown for Contact

Mother’s Ruin return to Contact in Manchester next month with Mother’s Meltdown

Sitting prettier at the Plaza

Stockport Plaza is to replace all 1250 seats in the auditorium with exact replicas this August after sourcing and raising funding for the £413,000 project

Scissorhands cutting back to Lowry

New Adventures’ adaptation of Tim Burton’s classic Edward Scissorhands returns to The Lowry in Salford in November Devised, directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne, the show has carved a place in the hearts of thousands since its premiere in 2005

Classic farce for a short theatre company

See How They Run comes to Manchester Opera House next month courtesy of Warwick Davies and the Reduced Height Theatre Company, the first theatre company made up of entirely short actors – all in the cast are under four feet tall

Maria's Much Ado for Manchester

Director Maria Aberg makes her Royal Exchange debut in Manchester next week with one of Shakespeare’s best-loved comedies

Art of the North for Lowry Studio

The Lowry Studio in Salford is setting off in a new northerly direction

Marc Bolan musical for Opera House

The life and music of glam rock legend Marc Bolan is the inspiration for new musical 20th Century Boy, which comes to the Opera House, Manchester next week


Launching the 36th Buxton Festival, artistic director Stephen Barlow looked forward to a summer programme offering more events than ever before – 146 to be precise

Rock of Ages kicks off in city

Following a three-year run in London’s West End, Rock of Ages The Musical is to hit the road, with a UK tour launching at the Palace Theatre Manchester in May

Dance exhibition at the Lowry

A new exhibition at The Lowry in Salford takes dance off the stage and celebrates work created specifically for the camera

Priscilla - Queen of the Panto

Priscilla Presley will be starring in this year’s family pantomime – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, at the Opera House in Manchsster

Coliseum in film co-production

The Dukes in Lancaster and Oldham Coliseum are joining forces this spring to present a new play with songs – The Life And Times of Mitchell & Kenyon – about the Lancashire film-makers and including clips from many of the films they shot throughout the North West

Glasshouse at Z-Arts centre

Cardboard Citizens presents Glasshouse at Manchester’s Z-Arts venue April 22-23

School killings commemorated

After a successful year including the award-winning thriller M, Mysterious Skin (that was offered a West End theatre) and the sell out audience favourite Christmas Sorority Massacre, Vertigo Theatre Productions are kicking of their season with a newly revised version of the original play Rage by award-winning writers/directors Craig Hepworth and Adele Stanhope

Flare micro-festival for city

Flare, the Manchester-based organisation committed to the support and profiling of the next generation of radical theatre makers, is currently programming its next 'micro-festival', the Flare Weekender, for June 13-14

War drama heads to Sale venue

In May Duckegg Theatre Company are touring their brand new family musical, Leave Hitler to Me, Lad, by award-winning playwright Haley Cox and LA composer Ben Pringle (previous credits include Buffy the Vampire Slayer), designed by the critically acclaimed Barney George

Shrek for the city

Shrek the Musical will ‘take ogre’ Manchester’s Palace Theatre for a month-long Christmas run


Latest reviews

Clare Foster as Sarah Wise
Ian Tilton Claire Goose and Les Dennis
Company Robin Cousins' Ice
Swansea City Opera - The Marriage Of Figaro
Guy Harrop Rime Square Peg
Clare Foster as violinist Stephanie Abrahams
Lord of the Flies
New Adventures Jacqueline Pilton in Leaky Bacon at JB Shorts 11
Ellie Piercy as Beatrice and Paul Ready as Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing
Jonathan Keenan Pauline Whittaker and Paul Sandys 
London Classic Theatre Company


Tom Kempinski
Octagon Theatre Bolton at Octagon Theatre, Bolton
(reviewer: David Chadderton)

The Perfect Murder

Peter James adapted by Shaun McKenna
Joshua Andrews and Peter James at The Opera House Manchester
(reviewer: Diana Stenson)

Robin Cousins' Ice

Paul Elliott and Duncan C, Weldon at The Lowry
(reviewer: Carmel Thomason)

The Marriage of Figaro

Mozart/Da Ponte/Dent
Swansea City Opera at Buxton Opera House
(reviewer: Philip Radcliffe)


Based on a poem by Samuel Coleridge
Square Peg at The Lowry
(reviewer: Carmel Thomason)

Duet For One

Tom Kempinsky
Octagon Theatre Bolton at
(reviewer: Alan Hulme)

Lord of the Flies

Scott Ambler, Matthew Bourne
New Adventures and Re:Bourne at The Lowry
(reviewer: Robert Beale)

JB Shorts 11

Dave Simpson, Mark Illis, Sarah Bagshaw, Justin Moorhouse, Lindsay Williams, Peter Kerry and James Quinn
Reallife Theatre Company at Joshua Brooks
(reviewer: Carmel Thomason)

Latest articles

HOMEward bound

Theatre Director Walter Meirjohann reveals some of his exciting and ambitious plans for HOME.

Kevin Bourke

Danny Boyle comes HOME

Danny Boyle has been announced as the first Patron of HOME, the new cultural hub and social space for Manchester.

Kevin Bourke

Nicholas Hytner In Conversation

In Conversation was a three-hander hosted by Gordon Burns with his two guests - Nicholas Hytner, artistic director of the National Theatre, and Julia Fawcett OBE, chief executive of The Lowry.

Diana Stenson

Our media partners

Lancashire Life

Cheshire Life

British Theatre Guide

Manchester Confidential

With grateful thanks to

The Touch Event Management

Royal Exchange Theatre

Buxton Opera House

MCL Creatre

Baxter Storey

J W Lees

The Stage Door Foundation

For more information, contact us at