Manchester Theatre Awards

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

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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

Cinders gets the ball rolling

Cinderella goes to the ball in Salford this week, towed by the equivalent of 4000 horses!

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Twin theatre festivals for Bolton

After receiving more than 800 submissions, the Octagon in Bolton has chosen the plays for 2017’s Top 5 Season.

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Monster production for Salford Arts

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

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Disabilities drama for Lowry

Multi-sensory theatre for audiences with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities heads to The Lowry in Salford as part of 59 date tour

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Dreamboats back in city

Dreamboats and Petticoats The Musical returns to the Palace Theatre, Manchester this week, celebrating a decade of the multi-million selling albums that inspired the Olivier Award-nominated hit show.

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Nell Gwynn in Salford

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

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Daniel transfers to Exchange

Footprint Theatre's debut production, Daniel, is transferring to Manchester Royal Exchange March 22 after runs at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Camden People's Theatre and the National Student Drama Festival.

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Tom on home turf

Growing Pains is the debut one-man show by Salford-born actor, writer and musician Tom Gill, a UK National Poetry Slam Champion.

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Commitments for Corrie's Kevin

Coronation Street legend Kevin Kennedy stars as Jimmy’s Da in the UK tour of The Commitments which comes to the Palace Theatre, Manchester, from March 27 to April 8.

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New Tenant for Bolton Octagon

Octagon Theatre Bolton and York Theatre Royal present a brand new adaptation of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

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Nadia at home with Jane Eyre

Manchester actress Nadia Clifford takes the central role of Jane Eyre and Tim Delap is Rochester when Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece, Jane Eyre coms to the Lowry from April 8-15.

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Bolton rakes over Ashes

The Octagon Theatre in Bolton and the town’s university present the rarely-performed play Ashes.

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Spooky bonus in Salford

Following the performance of Susan Hill’s The Woman In Black at The Lowry in Salford on  March 24 theatregoers will be invited to continue their evening with a spine-chilling late-night experience contacting the spirits that haunt nearby Ordsall Hall.

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Luke in at The Edge

UK poet Luke Wright brings his latest show performing work from his new book The Toll to Manchester's The Edge Theatre and Arts Centre on March 10.

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Evita returns to Lowry

Bill Kenwright’s production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita, returns to The Lowry in Salford from March 14-18.

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Suppliant Women for Exchange

Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre sees one of the world’s oldest dramas play out on its unique stage in March.

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Women make their point

Red Ladder Theatre Company and feminist dance company Gracefool Collective present a double bill at The Met in Bury on March 22 showcasing women and their dangerous ideas.

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Bat Out Of Hell for Manchester

The world premiere of Jim Steinman’s Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical, previews at Manchester Opera House from Friday.

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Transgender theatre company for city

Trans Creative, a brand new theatre company led by award-winning transgender artist and activist Kate O’Donnell, has launched in Manchester.

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Six by Sick for Salford

Premiering six productions on disability, religion, sexism, drugs, mental health and loneliness - Sick! Festival returns to The Lowry in Salford in March.

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Lowry's happy Christmas

The Lowry raised £39,500 from its 2016 Christmas Appeal – the largest amount since the annual appeal began in 2011.

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Oldham soccer glory recalled

Oldham Coliseum Theatre is presenting a brand new musical this March set against the backdrop of Oldham Athletic Football Club’s famous 1990/1991 season, when the team were promoted to the top flight for the first time in more than 60 years.

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Ghost re-appears at Lowry

Bill Kenwright’s production of Ghost - The Musical, will extend its current UK tour with a visit to The Lowry, Salford from April 24-29.

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Musical premiere for Bolton

Watford Palace Theatre are to stage the world premiere musical I Capture the Castle, based on the iconic novel by Dodie Smith, and co-produced with the Octagon Theatre Bolton and Kevin Wallace Limited, in association with Deborah Ward.

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Contact company's take on cancer

After tackling sex, climate change and homelessness the award-winning Contact Young Company in Manchester take on cancer.

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Dancers offered a Turn

North West dancers and dance-makers (aged 18+) are invited to submit proposals of short pieces of work, works-in-progress or extracts of longer works for inclusion in an annual event.

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Sleepless musical cancelled

A world premiere of Sleepless The Musical due to be staged at the Lowry in Salford in April has been cancelled.

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Bruntwood panel hunt more winners

The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting has launched its sixth search for original plays and announced a judging panel from stage, screen and journalism.

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Co-production launches at HOME

Vivienne Acheampong, Mark Edel-Hunt, Chris New and Jack Tarlton will star in the first stage adaptation of a Paul Auster novel in the UK, City of Glass, a brand new production by Tony Award-winning 59 Productions in a co-production with HOME, Manchester (March 4-18) and Lyric Hammersmith (April 20 –May 13).

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Wheeling the Grease into city

An all-new tour of Grease opens at the Palace Theatre, Manchester in March.

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More scares ahead for Salford

Stephen Mallatratt’s adaptation of Susan Hill’s novel The Woman in Black has terrified more than 64,400 theatregoers in seven visits to The Lowry. With an eighth visit planned from March 20-25 the terror total is set to rise. 

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New play crucible for city

Manchester ADP is a community of professional creatives in the North West who host script-in-hand performances of new plays followed by audience feedback to help writers develop new scripts.

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Theodora first for RNCM

Royal Northern College of Music Opera will present Handel’s Theodora between March 24 and April 1 at the college.

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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.

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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.

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Audiences pay by results

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

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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War Horse re-mounted in 2018

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

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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.

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Wedding Singer musical for Manchester

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

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Latest reviews

Dance Sampled
Burnley’s Lesbian Liberator
good dog
Wasi Daniju Sheridan Smith as Fanny Brice
Johan Persson Made In India
Robert Day The Listening Room
Danza Contemporanea de Cuba The Art of Loving Lexi
Shay Rowan Joan
An Italian in Madrid
Richard Alston Dance Company Bin Laden: The One Man Show
Nick Rutter

Dance Sampled

The Movement - The Lowry, Sadlers Wells & Birmingham Hippodrome at The Lowry, Salford
(reviewer: David Upton)

good dog

Arinze Kene
Tiata Fahodzi and Watford Palace Theatre at The Lowry, Salford
(reviewer: David Cunningham)

Funny Girl

Jule Styne (music); Bob Merrill (lyrics); Isobel Lennart (book), revised by Harvey Fierstein
Sonia Friedman/Chocolate Factory Productions at Palace Theatre
(reviewer: Alan Hulme)

Made In India

Satinder Chohan
Tasasha, The Belgrade Theatre and Pilot Theatre at The Contact Theatre, Manchester
(reviewer: David Cunningham)

Danza Contemporánea di Cuba

Annabelle López Ochoa, Theo Clinkard, George Céspedes
Danza Contemporánea di Cuba at The Lowry
(reviewer: Robert Beale)

The Art of Loving Lexi

Matt Fox
Ten Ninety Productions at Ten Ninety Productions Hope Mill Theatre
(reviewer: David Cunningham)

Richard Alston Dance

Richard Alston, Martin Lawrance
Richard Alston Dance Company at The Lowry
(reviewer: Robert Beale)

Bin Laden: The One Man Show

Sam Redway and Tyrrell Jones
Knaïve Theatre at The Royal Exchange, Manchester
(reviewer: David Cunningham)

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

Home Thoughts From The Sea

Narvik, a new play with songs that premieres at HOME, has its origins in the untold wartime stories of writer Lizzie Nunnery's grandfather.

Kevin Bourke

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

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