Manchester Theatre Awards

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

MTA chairman Kevin Bourke (left) hands the Production and Special Achievement trophies to David Thacker (centre) watched by awards show host Justin Moorhouse, Credit: Ant Robling

Octagon Theatre shapes up to a haul of awards

One of the country’s most distinguished theatre directors, and the first-ever Professor of Theatre at Bolton University, David Thacker was honoured with a Special Achievement trophy at the Manchester Theatre Awards.

... and the winners are: Actor in a Leading Role

The four outstanding nominations here are divided equally between the Royal Exchange and Octagon Bolton, whittled down from a list several times that size, indicating just how strong the competition is this time around.

Actress in a Leading Role

Over the past few years the panel has genuinely struggled to pare down the size of this category, which reflects the strength of performances and breadth of female roles offered.

What's on

Ring Cycle for Lowry

Opera North present Wagner’s four part masterpiece The Ring Cycle at the Lowry in Salford from June 13-18

Bird flies into Exchange

Bird, at Manchester Royal Exchange from June 8-25 is the world premiere of a poetic new play by Welsh playwright Katherine Chandler

Mousetrap sprung in Manchester

Agatha Christie’s classic murder mystery The Mousetrap returns to the Opera House, Manchester

Baba celebrates father's legacy

Ex artistic director, Baba Israel, returns to Contact in Manchester with Spinning Wheel, a collaboration with Unfinished Business, which interprets his father’s rich legacy of 1960s New York counter culture

Giselle premiere in Manchester

English National Ballet will stage the first look of its new production of Giselle by award-winning choreographer Akram Khan at The Palace Theatre, Manchester on September 27, followed by a national tour

Contact win £3.85m from ACE

Arts Council England has confirmed funding of £3

Night Watch premiere for city

Set against the backdrop of a post-war London Sarah Waters’ novel The Night Watch has been adapted for the stage and commissioned by Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre as one of five world premieres this season

Million visitors for HOME

HOME in Manchester has welcomed a million visits, almost double its target for its first year since opening

ADHD theme for Lowry play

Manchester theatre company Art with Heart will be premiering Declaration at the Lowry, in the Salford venue’s Studio theatre June 23-24

Portrait premiere for Exchange

All I Want Is One Night by Jessica Walker at Manchester Royal Exchange from June 15-18 is a new portrait of the world’s most painted woman

Fifth year of city fringe fest

Greater Manchester Fringe Festival, from June 24 to July 31, is back for its fifth year with a variety of events for all ages - including drama, comedy, book launches, debates, poetry, puppets, live music a live art battle and children's shows

Children's show with a mission

Theatre show LazyTown Live On Stage launches its nationwide tour on May 29 and is on a mission to tackle Britain’s much-publicised obesity problem

Parade takes to Manchester stage

A revival of the classic musical Parade will run for three and a half weeks at Manchester’s newest arts venue

Mamma Mia here we go again

The feel-good musical Mamma Mia! returns to the Palace in Manchester

Di play planned for city fringe

Princess Diana faked her own death – according to a new play in this year’s Greater Manchester Fringe Festival

Lady's day at Coliseum

An eccentric little old lady is pitted against a gang of ruthless criminals in dark comedy The Ladykillers at Oldham Coliseum Theatre

New Steps To Dancing

The Lowry has announced important dates for the diaries of the dancers of the future, with a series of Open Days, starting this weekend on Sunday May 8th and running throughout May and June at The Lowry and other North West venues, including Ludus Dance in Lancaster, Newbiggin Village Hall in Penrith, MDI in Liverpool, and Axis Arts Centre in Cheshire

Coliseum windfall from Lloyd Webber

The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation has awarded £17,128 to Oldham Coliseum Theatre’s pioneering Education Partnership Scheme

It will provide industry led workshops, master-classes and performances for students from 12 schools across Oldham, Rochdale and Tameside

Mighty Walzer premiere for Exchange

Stage and screen actor Elliot Levey, and Tracy-Ann Oberman, recognised for her role as Chrissy Watts in Eastenders and Yvonne Hartman in Dr

Union play, past and present

Manchester trade union pioneer Mary Quaile will be remembered in  Dare to Be Free,  a play set in the past and present

Oddity on a regional odyssey

Rose van Leyenhorst and co-director Chris Hill have teamed up to create The Oddity, a contemporary exploration of The Odyssey introducing ​Tilly​,​ a girl lost between ancient fiction and modern reality

Blooming May at Lowry

The Lowry in Salford has plays, musicals and family productions in May, including new festival Week 53 from the start of the month

Psycho-comedy for Salford

Psychopathy & The Single Girl is a new stage play for Manchester

From RNCM 'pupil' to President

Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music has announced that Sir John Tomlinson CBE has been appointed the next president, starting in January

Quays fest promises Broken

Quays Festival returns to Salford Quays this summer with a one-off performance of multi-media stage show Broken – a journey to the centre of the earth

Difficult B!RTH for Exchange

B!RTH, at Manchester Royal Exchange in October, is an international theatre festival developed by the Exchange and The Oglesby Charitable Trust to provoke debate on the vast inequality in healthcare across the world

Stewart's numbers come up

Stewart McDonald is writer/director of a new comedy play, Millionaires Anonymous, which after a successful run at the Unity Theatre in Liverpool last year, is now heading further afield across the North West

Pygmalion at Coliseum

Oldham Coliseum Theatre is staging George Bernard Shaw’s classic provocative comedy, Pygmalion

Singin' in the Rain in Bolton

Salisbury Playhouse are staging iconic musical Singin’ in the Rain as a brand new actor-musician production in a co-production with Octagon Theatre Bolton and New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme

Hooked up for panto

John Altman returns to Stockport Plaza to star as Captain Hook this festive season in the Peter Pan’ from December 2 to January 8

Royal date for Pennington

Renowned Shakespearean actor Michael Pennington – a four time Olivier Award nominee – takes the title role in King Lear at the Opera House, Manchester, May 31 to June 4, in a new production that marks the first time the RSC regular has played the iconic role in the UK

Wonderland set for city date

Following sold out seasons in Tampa, Texas and Tokyo, Frank Wildhorn’s Wonderland receives its UK and European première in a brand new British production, which debuts at the Edinburgh Playhouse next January ahead of a UK tour which brings it to Manchester Palace Theatre

Just Like That for fringe fest

The Tommy Cooper Show is coming to Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester, as part of Greater Manchester Fringe July 1-31

Billy bound for city

Not soon enough for many people Billy Elliot the Musical will come to Manchester Palace Theatre from November to January

Dance fest for Salford

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Latest reviews

Chilcot
Whispers of Heaton
Kit Orton 'Tom'
Simon Gough The Night Watch Top Ben Addis (Robert Fraser) & Bottom Joe Jameson (Duncan Pearce) 
Richard Davenport 
Ventoux
 Julian Hughes Fagin's Twist
Eggs Collective
Gutted
Cell

Chilcot

Richard Norton Taylor and Matt Woodhead
LUNG, The Lowry and Battersea Arts Centre at The Lowry, Salford
(reviewer: David Cunningham)

Whispers of Heaton

Cathy Crabb, Lindsay Williams and Peter Kerry
Feelgood Theatre at Heaton Hall, Heaton Park
(reviewer: Carmel Thomason)

The Night Watch

By Sarah Waters adapted for stage by Hattie Naylor
Royal Exchange Theatre at Royal Exchange, Manchester
(reviewer: Carmel Thomason)

32 Rue Vandenbranden

Concept and direction Gabriela Carrizo and Franck Chartier
Peeping Tom at HOME
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Ventoux

Tom Barnes and Matt Wilks with Andy Rouledge
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(reviewer: David Cunningham)

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Maxwell Golden
Avant Garde Dance co-produced by The Place at Lowry, Salford Quays
(reviewer: Carmel Thomason)

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Sara Cocker, Lowri Evans and Léonie Higgins
HOME, They Eat Culture and Eggs Collective at HOME, Manchester
(reviewer: David Cunningham)

Gutted

Liz Richardson and Tara Robinson
The Conker Group and HOME at HOME, Manchester
(reviewer: David Cunningham)

Cell

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Smoking Apples and Dogfish at The Lowry, Salford
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Youth panel reviews

It Snows

Bryony Lavery
Octagon Connections at Bolton Octagon
(reviewer: Georgina Wells)

What Are They Like?

Lucinda Coxon
Woodhey High School at Bolton Octagon
(reviewer: Georgina Wells)

Gargantua

Carl Grose
Lowry Young Actors at The Lowry
(reviewer: Lizz Clark)

Bedbug

Snoo Wilson, Gary Kemp and Guy Pratt (adapted from Vladimir Mayakovsky)
Bluecoat at The Lowry
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Climate of Fear


Contact Young Company at Contact Theatre
(reviewer: Harriet Mallion)

NOTHING

Janne Teller. Adapted by Amanda Dalton
Royal Exchange Young Company at Royal Exchange
(reviewer: Georgina Wells)

What's Done Is Done

Martin Stannage and CAN Young Artists
CAN Young Artists at HOME
(reviewer: Georgina Wells)

How To Be Better


Contact Young Actors Company/ Common Wealth at Contact Theatre
(reviewer: Georgina Wells)

TaY Talks

Truth about Youth
Kate Reynolds at Royal Exchange Theatre
(reviewer: Lizz Clark)

Latest articles

Feelgood Return To Heaton Park

An exciting cross-arts collaboration based on stories about Heaton Park and the Hall there mark the return of Feelgood Theatre Company to the home of their promenade triumphs.

Kevin Bourke

First Break

Oldham Coliseum's First Break festival aims to puts its Studio firmly on the map for new writing, says Associate Director Chris Lawson.

Kevin Bourke

Commemorating The Somme

The national commemoration of the Battle of The Somme, the First World War clash that cost a million lives, will be in Manchester on July 1 and you can help.

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