Manchester Theatre Awards

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

Julie Hesmondhalgh: leading actress, Credit: Jonathan Keenan

Manchester Theatre Award winners

Manchester’s Royal Exchange theatre had a bumper haul of trophies from the Manchester Theatre Awards, revealed at a star-studded event at the city’s HOME venue.

Actor in a leading role

Three of the panel’s most admired performances this year came from actors breathing new life into classic, but always daunting, roles.

Actress in a leading role

The past few years have seen an increasing number of strong female roles on the Manchester stage and as a panel we’ve seen this reflected in the incredible talent showcased in this category.

What's on

Getting her Act together

Sister Act, directed and choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood, opens at Manchester Palace Theatre.

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Dementia-friendly Mikado

The Lowry in Salford present their first-ever dementia-friendly performance this week.

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Steaming into Salford

The Railway Children at the Lowry in Salford from Tuesday to Sunday is an adaptation of E. Nesbit’s classic children’s novel brought to life in a new stage production.

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15 Minutes of fame

Award-winning Contact Young Company in Manchester, directed by the maverick Action Hero, take on Andy Warhol in 15 Minutes.

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More Fringe attractions

Play With Fire Productions bring a powerful double bill to Greater Manchester’s on-going Fringe Festival.

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Sheena takes on city venues

Ambassador Theatre Group has appointed Sheena Wrigley theatre director at the twin venues Manchester Palace and Opera House.

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And a cast too . . .

Octagon Theatre in Bolton has announced the cast for Max Stafford-Clark’s new production of Rita, Sue and Bob Too, the 1982 play about two teenage friends who embark on an affair with a married man.

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Manchester reclaims Our Town

Manchester and its inhabitants have displayed special strengths in recent times, so it is timely that the city’s people are also at the forefront of Our Town in Sarah Frankcom’s new production of Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer winning play at the Royal Exchange in September. On the in-the-round stage this epic exploration of human existence is redefined by designer Fly Davis's set, where audience members can choose to join the actors on stage, in their homes or at their kitchen tables.

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Lowry's free open day

The Lowry in Salford stages an open day next month that offers free workshops with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, Opera North and the curator of the LS Lowry collection.

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David's new consultancy role

Oldham Coliseum Theatre executive director David Martin is to leave the venue this summer to establish a freelance consultancy specialising in business planning and resilience and project management within the theatre industry.

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Titanic premiere in city

The Palace Theatre in Manchester will stage the English premiere of of TitanicDance this September.

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Redknapp debut in Cabaret

Singer/songwriter Will Young reprises his Olivier Award-nominated performance as the enigmatic Emcee alongside musician and presenter Louise Redknapp, who makes her stage debut as Sally Bowles in Rufus Norris’ multi-award winning production of Cabaret when it comes to the Lowry in Salford in November.

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Wedding invitation at HOME

Physical theatre company Gecko’s new show The Wedding focuses on personal and political marriage date and visits Manchester’s HOME for a limited run (September 12-16).

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Cilla musical for Manchester

Following open auditions up and down the country the producers of Cilla the Musical have found their star.

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Street savvy Jungle Book

Fresh from an international tour Metta Theatre has collaborated on a new version of Jungle Book using street dance, circus and spoken word. It comes to the Lowry in Salford from August 29 to September 2.

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The Wizard of Plaza

The Wizard of Oz is heading to Stockport Plaza this summer.

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Dial up a game show

WiFi Wars is a live comedy game show where the entire audience play along!

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Freddie set to bowl 'em over

Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff is to make his stage debut in Fat Friends – the Musical

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Five pop up in Chorlton

From the ‘Scottish Play’ to Shere Khan, a handbag to ‘to be or not to be’ - via the boy who never grew up, five classic tales will be brought to life in a pop-up 500 seat outdoor theatre in Manchester this summer.

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Funny Girl back in city

Funny Girl, which enjoyed sold-out runs in London, returns to Manchester Palace Theatre in August to complete its national tour.

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Big bear hug for Sale

Following other successful Christmas shows Waterside in Sale announces this year’s Christmas show: The Bear by Raymond Briggs.

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Coliseum mixes it up

Oldham Coliseum’s Autumn-Winter 2017-18 season mixes comedy, thrills, history and song.

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Contact's bold season

Contact’s Autumn 2017 programme in Manchester is big, bold, and includes new productions alongside touring shows.

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Mysteries at Three Minute Theatre

Tom Taylor brings The Charlie Montague Mysteries to The Three Minute Theatre, Manchester on  October 7.

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First Ballet 'class' returns

English National Ballet’s My First Ballet: Cinderella returns this summer with performances at Manchester Opera House (July 26-30).

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Stars reprise Stuart roles

Juliet Stevenson and Lia Williams reprise their roles in Mary Stuart when the play visits Salford’s Lowry arts centre next year.

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Hound let loose in new venue

The Hound of the Baskervilles at Great Northern Warehouse in Manchester promises fast-paced, farcical fun through to September 16..

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Elf casting at Lowry

Elf: The Musical  will run for a limited season at the Lowry in Salford this Christmas.

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Danny Mac stars in Sunset Boulevard

Danny Mac is to star as Joe Gillis in the forthcoming UK and Ireland tour of Curve’s production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s award-winning musical Sunset Boulevard. Ria Jones is to play Norma Desmond and the show is to be directed by Nikolai Foster.

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Musical revival premieres in city

The revival of an award-winning musical has its Manchester premiere at the city’s newest theatre.

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Dusty musical set for Palace

New show Son of a Preacher Man has announced that X-factor finalist Diana Vickers will create the role of Kat for the 2017 tour.

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Ayckbourn revival for Lowry

Fresh from an extended season in London’s West End, casting has been announced for Bill Kenwright’s production of Alan Ayckbourn’s farcical tale of matrimonial mishaps, How the Other Half Loves  at The Lowry in Salford from September 11-16. 

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Nativity Musical for Palace

A world premiere of Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s production of Nativity! The Musical, opening at Birmingham Rep in October, will come to Manchester Palace Theatre from November 29.

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YANK! transfers to London

YANK!, the musical production which received its UK première at Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester, is to transfer to London this summer.

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Matilda for Manchester

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Matilda The Musical will embark on a UK and Ireland tour next year which includes a 10-week run at Manchester Palace Theatre from September 18 to November 24.

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Miss Saigon storms back

Boublil and Schönberg’s legendary musical Miss Saigon will land at Manchester Palace Theatre from March 21 to May 12 next year.

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Take That musical launches in city

Take That have announced the UK Tour of Tim Firth’s new musical, The Band, will begin at Manchester Opera House on September 8.

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Summer Wizard for Stockport

Regal Entertainments host The Wizard of Oz at Stockport Plaza this summer from August 7-12.

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Shrek set for a giant return

Shrek The Musical will be returning to Manchester next January.

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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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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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Latest reviews

The Railway Children
Mark Dawson Thorn
Bad Advice (The Greater Manchester Fringe Festival)
Shay Rowan The 43
Josep-Ramon Olivé as Count Almaviva
Pauline Neild Our Kid
starke.florida: the final hours of Ted Bundy

The Loves of Others

The Railway Children

Dave Simpson adapted from the novel by Edith Nesbit
Exeter Northcott Theatre and Nick Brooke Ltd at The Lowry
(reviewer: Carmel Thomason)


Tim Keogh
Keogh Productions at The Kings Arms, Salford
(reviewer: David Cunningham)


Liz Richardson
Tara Robinson at HOME
(reviewer: Diana Stenson)

Youth panel reviews


Matthew Bulgo
The Blue Coat School at HOME
(reviewer: Lizz Clark)


Matthew Bulgo
CYGNETS at The Lowry
(reviewer: Georgina Wells)

The Snow Dragons

Lizzie Nunnery
InterACT Youth Theatre at The Lowry
(reviewer: Georgina Wells)

There is a Light

Contact Young Company/BRIGHTLIGHT
Contact Young Company at Contact Theatre
(reviewer: Lizz Clark)

The Factory

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

Latest articles

Feelgood Return To Heaton Park

Feelgood Theatre Company have earned a special place in the hearts of theatre-goers over their more than twenty years of passionate theatrical excellence. Their award-winning promenade productions in Heaton Park have been especially beloved, and not simply because Caroline Clegg, the players and crew have often had to battle against trying conditions and inclement weather! This week they return after eight years to Heaton Park and Hall with their own version of A Midsummer Night's Dream and have big plans beyond that.

Kevin Bourke

Running Up That Hill

Bolton Octagon's Artistic Director, Elizabeth Newman, and actors Cathy Tyson and Louise Jameson are thrilled to be working on the world premiere of Timberlake Wertenbaker's Winter Hill.

Kevin Bourke

Mirror, Mirror

Rosie Fleeshman, the youngest daughter of much-loved veterans Sue Jenkins and David Fleeshman, has written a brilliantly brave and funny one-woman show, Narcissist In The Mirror

Kevin Bourke

Ellen Kent - back in town

Ellen Kent brings popular opera to Manchester again - this time with added four-footed friends

Robert Beale

Making Contact

The newly launched Summer season at The Contact shows the theatre playing to its strengths while springing a few surprises.

David Cunningham

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