Manchester Theatre Awards

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

, Credit:

Be at HOME for Manchester Theatre Awards!

Winners of the annual Manchester Theatre Awards will be announced live on stage in a red carpet event at Manchester’s HOME venue on Friday March 17, and members of the public can join in the occasion.

2016: Octagon takes haul of trophies

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 last year's Manchester Theatre Awards.

... and last year's winners were: Actor in a Leading Role

The four outstanding nominations were  divided equally between the Royal Exchange and Octagon Bolton, whittled down from a list several times that size, indicating just how strong the competition turned out to be.

What's on

Two more from PUSH

Two more offerings from the fortnight-long PUSH festival at HOME in Manchester.

Read more

Cameryn dials up in Manchester

After three years of touring her show in the UK playwright and performance artist Cameryn Moore has settled in Manchester and reprises her award-winning show, the Phone Whore, at the Kings Arms in Salford from next Thursday to Saturday.

Read more

Cabaret for newcomers

For three consecutive evenings, February 1-3  at the café bar at Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester Cabaret Voltaire 101 will showcase new talent, mentor them and give audiences an opportunity to be part of it all.

Read more

New verbatim play at Contact

20 Stories High and Contact stage a co-production I told my Mum I was going on an R.E trip... a new verbatim play about young women and abortion written and directed by Julia Samuels.

Read more

Nell Gwynn tour opens at Lowry

English Touring Theatre open their UK Tour of Jessica Swale’s  Nell Gwynn, starring Laura Pitt-Pulford in the title role, at The Lowry from March 1-4. 

Read more

Circus comes to town

The Moscow State Circus is bringing their new production - Miracles to Manchester Event City from February 10-26.

Read more

Kidnapping planned for city centre

A Kidnapping comes to Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre in February.

Read more

New comedy from Sandi Toksvig

English Touring Theatre have confirmed casting for the world première of Sandi Toksvig’s new comedy Silver Lining, a co-production with Rose Theatre Kingston.

Read more

Re-shaping the Octagon

Feilden Clegg Bradley, a Stirling Prize award-winning architectural practice, will be the architects of Bolton Octagon’s major capital redevelopment project.

Read more

Festival shout-out

Word of Warning and Z-arts in Manchester are calling for proposals and expressions of interest from artists for Haphazard, the fourth free ‘all ages’ live art day, taking place on April 1 at Z-arts, Manchester.

Read more

Skint bounce back with new play

Skint productions present Beautiful Monster, a new play by Karlton Parris at Salford Arts Theatre, Manchester February 28 and March 2-4

Read more

Carers create city project

Young carers create their first major project at The Horsfall in Great Ancoats Street, Manchester with interactive theatre makers Tom Bowtell and Annette Mees.

Read more

Simon & Garfunkel's story

The Simon and Garfunkel Story (50th Anniversary Celebration) comes to Manchester Palace Theatre on February 1.

Read more

Wicked on its way back

Wicked, the West End and Broadway musical that tells the story of the Witches of Oz, will return to the Palace Theatre, Manchester next year.

Read more


The SICK! Festival was launched in 2013 as the first of its kind in the UK dedicated to exploring the physical, mental, and social challenges of life and death, and how we survive them (or don’t).

Read more

Cinderella ready to rock

Birmingham Royal Ballet heads to Salford from March 1-4 with its UK tour of Cinderella on a scale comparable to any major rock band's road trip.

Read more

Indian surrogacy in spotlight

Made in India is a new play by Tamasha about motherhood and blood ties between women and nations coming to Contact Manchester February 21-22.

Read more

Audiences pay by results

Starting this week The Lowry in Salford will present four shows where audiences won’t have to purchase a ticket in advance.

Read more

Rita re-educated in Bolton

The Octagon Theatre in Bolton, in a co-production with Derby Theatre have recruited an award-winning duo for one of Willy Russell’s best loved plays, Educating Rita which opens in Bolton this week.

Read more

Dance showcase for Salford

A showcase that brings together acrobatics, ballet and flamenco, Dance: Sampled brings dance fans of all genres into the same world at the Lowry in Salford Feb 24-25.

Read more

Yank musical premieres at Hope Mill

A love story set in World War Two will start the 2017 season in the latest collaboration between a leading London-based theatre production company and one of Manchester’s newest arts venues.

Read more

Fairytale trio for Lowry

Opera North celebrates classic fairy tales with three brand new productions on stage at The Lowry in March: Rimsky-Korsakov’s rarely-performed The Snow Maiden, Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel and Rossini’s Cinderella.

Read more

Bolton rakes over Ashes

Bolton Octagon and the University of Bolton are to present the rarely performed play Ashes, written by David Rudkin.

Read more

City's two helpings of Sheridan Smith

Sheridan Smith and Chris Peluso lead the cast of Funny Girl which comes to the Palace Theatre, Manchester in February.

Read more

Strictly bonus for region

The region is set to enjoy the dividend from TV’s Strictly Come Dancing later this year with two shows featuring performers from the last series.

Read more

Caryl Churchill play for Lowry

Original cast members Linda Bassett, Deborah Findlay, Kika Markham, and June Watson are in Caryl Churchill’s Escaped Alone when it heads to The Lowry from March 7-11. 

Read more

Running Wild in Salford

The first UK Tour of Running Wild by Michael Morpurgo in an adaptation by Samuel Adamson, comes to Salford’s Lowry April 18-22. 

Read more

Hungry Caterpillar for Lowry

The Very Hungry Caterpiller plays at The Lowry from February 22-25, prior to a West End run.

Read more

Gaslight for Oldham in February

Oldham Coliseum’s production of Patrick Hamilton’s psychological thriller, Gaslight opens in February.

Read more

Seeking city's young talent

The National Youth Theatre, one of the world’s leading youth arts organisations, comes to Manchester in February to hold auditions for new members.

Read more

40th anniversary treats at Exchange

The early part of the New Year marks the second half of Manchester Royal Exchange's 40th anniversary.

Read more

HOME's New Year attractions

HOME in Manchester announces a new season of theatre and dance, featuring international and national commissions and collaborations, including a major UK revival of Martin Sherman's award-winning Rose featuring Dame Janet Suzman, the world premiere of Paul Auster's City of Glass with 59 Productions, a new production of Chekhov classic Uncle Vanya, directed by HOME artistic director Walter Meierjohann, and the return of ¡Viva! The Spanish & Latin American Festival 2017.

Read more

Lorca collaboration at the Exchange

An exploration of female identity, sexuality and power: Lorca’s The House Of Bernarda Alba is transformed for a Royal Exchange co-production with Graeae Theatre Company in February.

Read more

Lowry's New Year openers

Kicking off new year at the Lowry in Salford is the return of Olivier award winning The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (January 21 – February 4). The venue also sees a rare visit from DJ Dasha Rush and videographer Stanislav Glazov in Dark Hearts of Space (January 28).

Read more

Just Soph stories for libraries

Just Soph, is a new adaptation of Kipling’s Just So stories by Sophia Hatfield.

Read more

Narvik to open at HOME

Following their touring productions of Plastic Figurines and Chip Shop Chips, Manchester-based theatre company Box of Tricks will open their 2017 tour of Narvik, their critically acclaimed new play with songs, by award-winning playwright Lizzie Nunnery, at HOME between Jan 31 and Feb 4.

Read more

Start a duologue with Octagon

The Octagon in Bolton has launched the second year of its National Prize, encouraging new and original writing for the stage.

Read more

A silver Cyrano from Northern Broadsides

Northern Broadsides is to start its 25th anniversary year with a new adaptation of Cyrano De Bergerac by Deborah McAndrew.

Read more

Mikron touring youth hostels

Mikron Theatre are to tour Maeve Larkin’s new play about youth hostelling which will be performed in the UK’s Youth Hostels

Read more

Queer Contact Festival marks historic year

Manchester’s Queer Contact Festival returns in February for its ninth year, with a diverse and inclusive festival proudly celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender arts and culture in Greater Manchester as part of LGBT History Month.

Read more

Snapshot of Manchester Festival 2017

Manchester International Festival’s new artistic director John McGrath has offered a snapshot of his first programme, running from June 29 to July 16 next year.

Read more

Season of variety at Oldham Coliseum

Oldham Coliseum Theatre Spring-Summer 2017 season, features triumphant returns, new takes on old classics and comedies, topped off with a glittering Bollywood musical.

Read more

Jodie's Valentine date

A major revival tour, celebrating the 30th anniversary of Willy Russell's Shirley Valentine, and starring Jodie Prenger as the eponymous heroine, comes to the Lowry in Salford next June.

Read more

Pop star graces Grease

The West End production of the musical, Grease, embarks on a national tour, opening at the Palace Theatre Manchester in March.

Read more

Babe back on stage at Lowry

Adapted from Dick King-Smith’s much-loved children’s novel which inspired the Oscar-winning 1995 film, Babe, The Sheep-Pig will be brought to life on stage in a new production next year.

Read more

War Horse re-mounted in 2018

War Horse, the National Theatre’s cash cow, will return to The Lowry in 2018.

Read more

Wendi's Wonderland homecoming

TV and West End star Wendi Peters (Cilla Battersby-Brown in Coronation Street) will headline the 2017 UK tour of Wonderland as Queen of Hearts alongside musical theatre favourite Dave Willetts.

Read more

Wedding Singer musical for Manchester

A new production of The Wedding Singer will play the Opera House, Manchester, from May 15-20.

Read more

Latest reviews

Jessica Baglow in the title role of Educating Rita
Richard Davenport Betty

Morale Is High (Since We Gave Up Hope)
The Island, The Sea, The Volunteer and The Refugee
The Man Who Planted Trees
Black Ice

Eric Potts as Widow Twankey
Phil Tragen Ashley Bowden (rudolph) Neal Foster (Dickens) Chris Gunter (Sydney Claus) Laura Dalgleish (Ella) 
Photo Credit Ian Tilton

Educating Rita

Willy Russell
Octagon Theatre, Bolton & Derby Theatre at Octagon Theatre, Bolton
(reviewer: David Upton)

Betty (PUSH Festival)

Louise-Clare Henry
Fly In Your Soup Theatre at HOME, Manchester
(reviewer: David Cunningham)

The Man Who Planted Trees

Jean Giono adapted by The Puppet State Theatre Company
The Puppet State Theatre Company at The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
(reviewer: David Cunningham)

Black Ice

Craig Hepworth and Stuart Reeve
Vertigo Theatre at The Kings Arms, Salford
(reviewer: David Cunningham)


Eric Potts
First Family Entertainment at Opera House, Manchester
(reviewer: Carmel Thomason)

Horrible Christmas

Terry Deary
Birmingham Stage Company at Lowry, Salford Quays
(reviewer: Carmel Thomason)

Youth panel reviews

The Factory

The Royal Exchange Theatre Young Company at Swan Street Studio
(reviewer: Harriet Mallion)

The Secret Garden

Frances Hodgson Burnett adapted by Janys Chambers
Octagon Youth Theatre and Octagon Artistic Team at Octagon Theatre
(reviewer: Harriet Mallion)

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)


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


Snoo Wilson, Gary Kemp and Guy Pratt (adapted from Vladimir Mayakovsky)
Bluecoat at The Lowry
(reviewer: Lizz Clark)

Climate of Fear

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


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)

Latest articles

Curiouser and curiouser

It seems we can't get enough of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, and a new touring production premieres this week at The Lowry. Although it's from the National Theatre, it's an uncommonly Manchester-centric production. 

Kevin Bourke

Love Lost and Won

Just a few weeks ago, 'The Rocky Horror Show' directed by Christopher Luscombe was rocking the Manchester Opera House. Now he's back there with an RSC double of 'Love's Labour's Lost' and 'Much Ado About Nothing', set either side of the Great War.

Kevin Bourke

Parallel Lives

Laura Lindsay was part of the MTA-winning ensemble cast of The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice, and this week at Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre, and then on tour, she’s also demonstrating her writing and production skills with her company Black Toffee's new play, Parallel, addressing the growing problem of homelessness

Kevin Bourke

Q&A with musical royalty, Elaine Paige

Britain’s Queen of musical theatre, Elaine Paige is back on the road with a brand new show, Stripped Back. She chats to Carmel Thomason ahead of her stop at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall.

Carmel Thomason

Voice of The Nation(al)

The MTA eavesdrops while Rufus Norris, director of the National Theatre chats to Julia Fawcett OBE, Chief  Executive of The Lowry about his career and the relationship between the two theatres.

David Cunningham

Follow us

Follow Manchester Theatre Awards on Twitter Follow Manchester Theatre Awards on Twitter

Our media partners

Lancashire Life

Cheshire Life

British Theatre Guide

With grateful thanks to

HOME Manchester

Innside by Melia

Silver Street Brewing Co

Saville Audio Visual

J W Lees

The Stage Door Foundation

Little Fish PR

Lethal Communications