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

Two more from PUSH

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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Circus comes to town

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

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Kidnapping planned for city centre

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

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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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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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Simon & Garfunkel's story

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

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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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HOMESICK!

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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Bolton rakes over Ashes

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

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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.

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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.

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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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Hungry Caterpillar for Lowry

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

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Gaslight for Oldham in February

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

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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.

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40th anniversary treats at Exchange

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

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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.

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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.

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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).

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Just Soph stories for libraries

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

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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 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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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


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

Ben Adams as Aladdin 
Phil Tragen Ashley Bowden (rudolph) Neal Foster (Dickens) Chris Gunter (Sydney Claus) Laura Dalgleish (Ella) 
Photo Credit Ian Tilton Monopoleyes
Cast picture from Sweet Charity
Richard Davenport

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)

Aladdin

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)

Monopoleyes

Will Travis
Elise Williamson for Stole Thread at Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester
(reviewer: David Cunningham)

Sweet Charity

Book: Neil Simon. Lyrics: Dorothy Fields. Music: Cy Coleman
Royal Exchange Theatre at Royal Exchange, Manchester
(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)

Gargantua

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

Bedbug

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)

NOTHING

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

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

Little Sister, don't you cheat on me

For the World Premiere of Little Sister at the Royal Exchange, artist Mark Storor has been visiting the Exchange over eighteen months to work with community participants from Tameside Women and their Families Centre, The Royal Exchange’s Progression Group and City of Sanctuary’s Conversation Club (for refugees and asylum seekers), as well as a professional clown, an aerialist, and a classical cellist who plays the saw.

Kevin Bourke

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