Manchester Theatre Awards

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

What's on

Anne-Marie Duff at Royal Exchange

Award-winning director Marianne Elliott returns to Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre next week with Husbands & Sons by D H Lawrence, performed by a stellar cast led by Anne-Marie Duff

Giftshop at the Lowry

After sell-out seasons at Edinburgh Festival Fringe and acclaimed appearances at London’s Soho Theatre, the award-winning Gein’s Family Giftshop bring their debut UK tour to a couple of venues around the region

Herring happy at last?

In his 12th solo stand-up show in 12 years, comedian Richard Herring examines whether we can ever hope to be or are meant to be truly content

Romeo and Juliet and local dancers

Birmingham Royal Ballet bring Romeo and Juliet to Salford for Shakespeare 400, featuring dance talent from Liverpool and Lancashire

Universe earns commission

Waterside Arts Centre in Greater Manchester and Creative Industries Trafford have announced the winners of their Independent Theatre Commission

Collaboration will stage Parade

A London-based arts producer and one of Manchester’s newest theatres have announced a major collaboration

Haphazard makes you part of the art

Haphazard returns to Z-arts Manchester on February 20 presenting an opportunity for children and grown-ups to explore the realms of their imaginations, and become ‘part of the art’

Crowning glory for Powell

Robert Powell takes the throne in the critically-acclaimed new play King Charles III, at the Opera House, Manchester, in March

Let It Be back in city

Let It Be, the show that celebrates the music of the Beatles – twists and shouts its way to the Opera House, Manchester in February, as part of a major new tour

Surveillance under scrutiny

A new play examining relationships between governments and individuals in an age of mass surveillance is coming to The Studio at The Lowry this month

Lizi's play with punch

Punching the Sky has been through two Arts Council R&D phases with partner venues the Lowry, Live Theatre, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Slunglow at the Hub and Theatre in the Mill

Top honour for Royal Exchange

Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre was named Regional Theatre of the Year by The Stage newspaper

Local duo star in Shrek

Shrek The Musical returns to the region, this time at The Lowry in Salford and starring Lancashire-born Dean Chisnall and Bronté Barbé as Shrek and Fiona

New play switches from radio

A new play, The Lonely Walk Home, runs at Taurus Bar & Kitchen in Canal Street, Manchester, through to February 12

Gracie Fields premiere for Oldham

Oldham Coliseum Theatre are to stage the world premiere in March of a brand new play about Rochdale’s finest export, Gracie Fields

Opera at the double for city

Opera & Ballet International presents Ellen Kent productions of Carmen and Die Fledermaus at Manchester Opera House in March

A Goodnight for Opera House

The stage version of family classic Goodnight Mister Tom is returning to Manchester Opera House, as part of its new national tour

Two and Two2 makes it a double!

A play that premiered at the Octagon in Bolton in 1989, and has scarcely been off the stage since, has returned to the venue – and will then be followed by the world premiere of its sequel

World premiere for Bolton

Bolton’s Octagon Theatre and Prime Theatre (previously Sixth Sense) are co-producing the world premiere of The Macbeth Curse, the new play by Horrible Histories creator and author of more than 250 books, Terry Deary

Graeae play for Manchester

Graeae Theatre Company and Theatre Royal Plymouth bring their production The Solid Life Of Sugar Water by Jack Thorne to The Studio, Royal Exchange Theatre from February 9-13 as part of a national tour

Wait and watch for 24:7

After 12 annual events, Manchester’s 24:7 Festival won't be producing an event this year

Great expectations for female cast

Manchester-based theatre company Quarantine are inviting pregnant women from the Greater Manchester region to take part in a new theatre performance project, Spring

Mary's Poppin back to city

The multi award-winning musical Mary Poppins returns to Manchester Palace Theatre and runs to March 5

Julie Hesmondhalgh stars in Wit

Rarely performed in the UK Margaret Edson’s powerful Pulitzer Prize winning play Wit opens at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre next week

Pitmen Painters for Coliseum

The Pitmen Painters, opening at Oldham Coliseum on February 5, is the moving tale of a group of ordinary men who achieved extraordinary things

Northern sole and chips

A new play for the New Year comes with a serving of Northern sole and chips

After success earlier this year with new plays Plastic Figurines by Ella Carmen Greenhill and Narvik by Lizzie Nunnery, Manchester theatre company Box of Tricks will be starting off its 10th anniversary year in February with the premiere of Becky Prestwich’s nostalgic tale Chip Shop Chips

Look Back 60 years later

Derby Theatre and Octagon Theatre Bolton are to celebrate the 60th anniversary of John Osborne’s seminal play, the ground-breaking classic Look Back in Anger with a new revival directed by Derby Theatre’s artistic director, Sarah Brigham

Actor training centre for city

Manchester Shakespeare Company’s Actor Training Centre is to open at The Three Minute Theatre in Afflecks on Oldham Street

Youth Theatre audition dates

The National Youth Theatre is holding auditions and interviews across the country for its 2016 intake acting and technical courses

Footloose at Palace

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

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



Latest reviews

Arthur Hughes and Genevieve Barr
CJ de Mooi as Lawrence and Jake Benson as Joe
Still life with Jim Barclay and Micky Cochrane
Aofie Duffin in A Girl is a Half Formed Thing
Not stated 
John Heffernan (Macbeth) and Anna Maxwell Martin (Lady Macbeth)
Richard_Hubert_Smith Marcquelle Ward and cast in Cats
Alessando Pinna Lee Bainbridge and Ella Daley
The cast of Locus Amoenus
Image from The Crows Plucked Your Sinews

The Solid Life of Sugar Water

Jack Thorne
Graeae Theatre Company and Theatre Royal Plymouth at Royal Exchange. Manchester
(reviewer: David Cunningham)

Shrek The Musical

Book and lyrics David Lindsay-Abaire, music Jeanine Tesori
Dreamworks Theatricals at The Lowry
(reviewer: Alan Hulme)


William Shakespeare
HOME, Young Vic and Birmingham Repertory Theatre at HOME Manchester
(reviewer: David Chadderton)


Andrew Lloyd Webber, Trevor Nunn, Richard Stilgoe after T S Eliot
David Ian Productions at Opera House
(reviewer: Robert Beale)

Night + Daze

Philip Stokes
412 and Richard Jordan Productions at The Lowry, Salford
(reviewer: David Cunningham)

Locus Amoenus

Mònica Almirall Batet, Miquel Segovia Garrell and Albert Pérez Hidalgo
Núria Segovia and Sarah-Jane Watkinson at The Lowry, Salford
(reviewer: David Cunningham)

Youth panel reviews

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)


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)

Latest articles

Making 'Contact' : The Contact Theatre's new season is launched

The 2014/15 season was a great success for Manchester’s Contact Theatre with increased attendance, shows undertaking national tours and international and television versions promised for the future. Can the New Year build on the success?

David Cunningham

Mind The Gap

These might seem to be golden years for Manchester theatre, with a thriving Fringe, big touring shows, an international festival and flagship venues where there might once have only been tired rep companies plying their Ayckbourn or Coward. But are we too smug? Is there a whole level missing? Do we need to bridge that gap?

Kevin Bourke

The Other Half - A Picture from Life's Other Side

Is it theatre? Is it a music gig from My Darling Clementine. the land's premier nuevo-retro country duo? Is it top-selling crime author Mark Billingham reading a brand-new story? The Other Half is all of the above and more...

Kevin Bourke

By Far the Greatest

Football has united and divided communities for decades. But the experience of supporting a team and the thrill of a match has rarely been captured on stage. That's something the MTA-winning Monkeywood Theatre Company are determined to address.

Kevin Bourke

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