Manchester Theatre Awards

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

Sir Antony Sher with his MTA trophy, Credit:

Oh what a knight for Manchester Theatre Awards

  • Sir Antony Sher receives trophy
  • 3 awards for venue - before it opens
  • 2 big winning shows set to return
  • Stars turn out for annual ceremony

Best Actor

So, five of them, and, to be frank, any one could have received the final accolade, so closely did they run against each other in the panel’s discussions.

Best Actress

One of the year’s most memorable achievements was the Octagon’s two-hander double of Duet For One and Separation, with Clare Foster outstanding as both the cellist with multiple sclerosis (based by writer Tom Kempinski on the real life story of Jacqueline Du Pre) and a crippled actress.

What's on

Mack & Mabel & Michael

Double Olivier-award winner Michael Ball stars in the tour of Mack & Mabel which comes to Manchester Opera House next week

Doug Stanhope at Lowry

US comedian Doug Stanhope is back in the UK for a month-long tour which includes a date at the Lowry in Salford next Friday

Dare you take to The Chair?

Manchester’s Royal Exchange Studio next week stages a thrilling and chilling story for anyone aged seven and over

Herculean task for two

New Art Club present Hercules, a new family friendly take on one of the classic tales of Greek mythology at Manchester Contact on October 29

Miller's Enemy for the Octagon

To mark the centenary of Arthur Miller's birth in 1915, the Octagon in Bolton is presenting his adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's An Enemy of the People

Proper Job of Dracula at Lowry

With its mixture of illusions and trickery, an original musical score and a libretto from acclaimed poet Ian McMillan, a new production of Nosferatu - Dracula to his friends - promises to live in the memory

ben's residency at the Octagon

Composer, musical director, and sound designer Ben Occhipinti has been awarded paid residency for 18 months at Bolton Octagon Theatre as part of the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme 2016/2017 – a position previously awarded to current artistic director Elizabeth Newman

Lucy adds her voice to Sound of Music

Fresh from her success on BBC’s The Voice, Lucy O'Byrne joins the Sound of Music at The Lowry in Salford

A Sari story for the Lowry

Whose Sari Now? written and performed by Rani Moorthy is at The Lowry in Salford November 19

Theatre symposium for city

Making Theatre In The Midst Of Austerity is a one-day symposium on theatre, poverty and inequality at the Martin Harris Centre of Music and Drama, University of Manchester (UK) on November 4

Chris's role at the Coliseum

Oldham Coliseum Theatre has appointed Chris Lawson associate director, responsible for the Coliseum’s studio programme, new writing programme and support for emerging artists, as well as directing productions including one main-house show a year

Big Friendly Christmas show

Bolton Octagon will stage Roald Dahl’s The BFG, directed by Sarah Esdaile, from November 13 to January 9

Ghost Opera for the Lowry

French string quartet Van Kuijk collaborate on a premiere production of Ghost Opera presented by FellSwoop theatre in The Studio at The Lowry October 15-16

Two-day theatre event at Contact

A Handful of Dust: the praxis and diasporic legacy of Odin Teatret is a Third Theatre Network event at Contact Theatre Manchester, October 30-31

Footloose at Palace in 2016

Footloose: The Musical is back on stage in at Manchester Palace Theatre Mar 14 – 19, 2016, as part of a major new UK tour

Pomona bound for Royal Exchange

Bruntwood Award-winning writer Alistair McDowall’s sinister and surreal thriller Pomona arrives at Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre at the end of the month following an acclaimed premiere at The Orange Tree Theatre in 2014

Oldham Library booking up

Oldham Council is bringing an array of theatre, literature and comedy this autumn for its latest Live@thelibrary programme

Billy finally bound for city

Not soon enough for many people – and still more than a year away - Billy Elliot the Musical will come to Manchester Palace Theatre from November 2016 to January 2017

Guys and Dolls first for city

Manchester Gets it First will see the acclaimed Chichester Festival Theatre production of Guys and Dolls arrive at the Palace Theatre for two weeks from November 10-21

Lyndsey at HOME for Oresteia

Award-winning, Manchester-born Lyndsey Marshal heads the cast as Clytemnestra when Home in Manchester stages Oresteia from October 23 to November 14

Inkheart for the family at HOME

HOME presents its first-ever Christmas production for all the family; an adaptation of Cornelia Funke’s worldwide best-selling novel Inkheart, from December 4 to January 9

Rita gets educated in Oldham

Willy Russell’s comedy about collision between class and culture comes to the Coliseum this October

Added extras for The Girls

The full cast, and five extra performances, have been announced for Gary Barlow and Tim Firth’s new musical, The Girls, based on the true story, film and award-winning play by Tim Firth, Calendar Girls, premiering at The Lowry

Stop-Go exhibition in Sale

A new exhibition bringing stopmotion animation to life comes to Waterside Arts Centre in Sale, Greater Manchester, showcasing the work of world-renowned puppet makers Mackinnon and Saunders

Bunbury version of Earnest

Nigel Havers and Sian Phillips star in The Bunbury Company of Players’ ‘over 50’s’ production of Oscar Wilde’s much-loved masterpiece The Importance of Being Earnest, from October 6-10 at The Lowry in Salford

Gareth Gates heads anniversary tour

Gareth Gates and Michael Courtney star in a 10th anniversary tour of Mad About The Musicals, coming to Stockport Plaza, October 3, Oldham Coliseum, November 2

With a host of numbers from the pen of Rodgers & Hammerstein, Kander & Ebb, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Boublil & Schonberg, the cast evoke the spirit of stage musicals

Exchange takes a winner on tour

Supported by Arts Council England Strategic Touring Fund the Royal Exchange in Manchester will tour a brand-new production of Gareth Farr’s Bruntwood Prize winning play Britannia Waves The Rules

24:7 organisers contemplate future

Now that Manchester’s 12th consecutive annual 24:7 event has been completed, organisers are reflecting on where the future lies and how to serve participants and audiences

Endgame co-production for HOME

Dominic Hill is to direct Beckett’s iconic play Endgame in a new co-production with Manchester’s HOME as part of the Spring 2016 Season

The Citizens Theatre’s new co-production featuring David Neilson and Chris Gascoyne in the roles of Hamm and Clov runs from February 4-20

Z Arts keep it in the family

Z-arts will be delighting audiences across Manchester by bringing stories to life on stage, as part of the Get Creative Family Arts Festival October 9 –November 1

So Here We Are again

A co-production between Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre and the HighTide Festival opens a collection of home produced and visiting shows as part of the autumn/winter season in the venue’s Studio space

Godot comes to Oldham

London Classic Theatre Company come to Oldham Coliseum Theatre from October 6-10 with their production of Samuel Beckett’s classic Waiting For Godot as part of a 37-venue national tour

Dance fest for Salford


Discount Dickens on tour

From Adam Long, founding member of The Reduced Shakespeare Company and co-creator of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) comes Dickens Abridged – a fast-paced musical comedy

Moore the merrier in Manchester

Legendary film actor Sir Roger Moore is to play a series of exclusive dates one of them coming to Manchester Opera House November 9

Pixie's Tiffany date at Lowry

Pop star Pixie Lott will star as Holly Golightly, in her theatre acting debut, in Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s at The Lowry in Salford next year

Curious set for Salford return

The National Theatre’s production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time will return to The Lowry in November

Mamma's happy returns

Mamma Mia! returns to the Palace Theatre, Manchester in 2016

Ring Cycle for Lowry next year

Opera North’s highly-anticipated full performances of The Ring Cycle: Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen will come to Salford’s Lowry arts centre from June 13-18 next year

Christmas musical for Manchester

Alexandra Burke will reprise her West End starring role when the hit musical The Bodyguard comes to the Palace Theatre Manchester next December


Latest reviews

Poster for Nosferatu

Rochard Heap (l) and Peter Cadden
Company Sian Phillips as Lady Bracknell
Tristram Kenton Hetain Patel

Martin Argyroglo Grass
Terra Incognita
Stephen Wright/Rambert Dancers with Jordon Kemp (Florizel), Hannah Barrie and Vanessa Schofield (Perdita)
Northern Broadsides Scene from Happily Ever After


Ian McMillan
Proper Job Theatre at The Met, Bury
(reviewer: David Chadderton)


Suzanne Andrade (writer/director), Paul Barritt (film, animation, design)
1927 at HOME
(reviewer: Alan Hulme)

Waiting for Godot

Samuel Beckett
London Classic Theatre at Oldham Coliseum
(reviewer: Paul Genty)

American Boy

Hetain Patel
Sadler’s Wells, London and BDE London 2012 Consortium at The Contact Theatre, Manchester
(reviewer: David Cunningham)


Mark Whiteley
Hard Graft Theatre Company at Mumps shop, Oldham opposite Metrolink stop
(reviewer: Paul Genty)

The Winter's Tale

William Shakespeare
Northern Broadsides at Oldham Coliseum
(reviewer: Robert Beale)

Happily Ever After

Inspired by King and King by Linda De Haan and Stern Nijland
Action Transport Theatre and LGBT North West at Z Arts, Manchester
(reviewer: David Cunningham)

Youth panel reviews


Philip Ridley
Oldham Coliseum Young Rep at Oldham Coliseum
(reviewer: Georgina Wells)

The Wardrobe

Sam Holcroft
Octagon Youth Theatre at The Octagon Studio
(reviewer: Harriet Mallion)

The Accordion Shop

Cush Jumbo
Buxton Opera House Young Company at The Lowry Studio
(reviewer: Harriet Mallion)

The Accordion Shop

Cush Jumbo
InterACT Youth Theatre at The Lowry Studio
(reviewer: Lizz Clark)

On the Town

Music by Leonard Bernstein, book & lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green
RNCM Youth Perform at Royal Northern College of Music
(reviewer: Elizabeth Allen)


Jackie Kay and Royal Exchange Theatre Young Company
Royal Exchange Theatre Young Company at Royal Exchange Studio
(reviewer: Lizz Clark)


Devised by Contact Young Actors Company and Aqueous Humour
Contact Young Actors Company at Contact Theatre
(reviewer: Lizz Clark)

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