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

Three more treats from city fringe

The current Greater Manchester Fringe festival offers a trio of contrasting productions amongst its other delights.

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Box of Tricks celebrate 10th anniversary

Manchester-based theatre company Box of Tricks celebrates ten years of new play making by bringing back three acclaimed productions and commissioning three brand new plays.

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Homeless theme to new play

A new play which highlights the personal stories behind homelessness is to tour the North this autumn. 

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Dinosaurs stalk city again

Hit West End family show Dinosaur Zoo, returns to Manchester Opera House in September.

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Full Monty makes a quick return

The stage version of The Full Monty is coming back to Manchester in October with an all-star cast.

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Funny Girl headed for Manchester

The new West End production of Funny Girl embarks on a major national tour in 2017 and opens at the Palace Theatre, Manchester from February 20, before touring to venues around the UK.

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Trio of ballets to mark Bard anniversary

The Shakespeare Dream Bill, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s commemoration of 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare comes to the Lowry in Salford from September 15-17.

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Sister Act returns to city

An all-new production of the Broadway and West End musical comedy Sister Act – starring Alexandra Burke and directed by Craig Revel Horwood comes to Manchester Palace Theatre at the end of August.

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Sunny Afternoon cast confirmed

The full cast of Sunny Afternoon which launches its first UK tour at the Opera House, Manchester, next month has been confirmed.

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Ride a Mighty Walzer in Manchester

The comic writing of Howard Jacobson is brought to the stage in a world premiere adaptation of his best-selling novel The Mighty Walzer at the Royal Exchange in Manchester.

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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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Physical comedy on the Fringe

Winners of Best Comedy Show at The Greater Manchester Fringe 2015, Buckle Up Theatre introduce: Journeys, fast-paced, physical comedy at this year's Manchester Fringe.

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Rufus Hound for musical premiere

Comedian, actor and presenter Rufus Hound will star as lovable menace Mr Toad for the world premiere of the new musical adaptation of The Wind in the Willows by Julian Fellowes.

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Kevin's commitment to musical

Coronation Street legend, Kevin Kennedy is to star as Jimmy’s Da in the UK tour of the musical The Commitments written by Roddy Doyle, which comes to the Palace Theatre, Manchester, from March 27 to April 8.

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Sherrie Hewson rings in for Aladdin

Benidorm, Loose Women and Coronation Street favourite, and star of the all-new Are You Being Served, Sherrie Hewson will be appearing as the Genie of the Ring in Aladdin at Manchester Opera House this Christmas.

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Oldham mixes it up for autumn

Oldham Coliseum Theatre’s autumn-winter 2016-17 sees a mix of classic stories from Patrick Hamilton and Terence Rattigan, popular modern comedies from Paul Allen and Tom Wells and a comedy take on classic Jane Austen.

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Extended Bed goes on tour

A Bed of Shards is a new one-act play by Jane McNulty, (Eastenders, Doctors, Our Lady of the Goldfinches) and directed by award-winning Ian Townsend (All the Bens).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Billy bound for city

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

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Latest reviews

Poster for Tipping Point
Yeoman of the Guard
Franz Kafka’s The Trial
Shay Rowan Poster for Di and Viv and Rose
Poster for The Brink
King Lear
Poster for Maids of Suburbia
Poster for War Stories
Don’t Wake the Damp

The Yeomen of the Guard

Gilbert and Sullivan
The National G&S Opera Company at Buxton Opera House
(reviewer: Philip Radcliffe)

Don’t Wake the Damp (Preview)

David Cumming, Clem Garritty, Natasha Hodgson, Oliver Jones and Zoe Roberts
Kill the Beast at The Lowry, Salford
(reviewer: David Cunningham)

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)


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)

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

King Lear at The Opera House

Michael Pennington, one of the great Shakespearian actors of his generation, has brought his version of King Lear to Manchester. What is the enduring appeal of the play, does he think?

Kevin Bourke

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.

Kevin Bourke

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