New talent, whether it be for performing, writing or in any other area, is the very lifeblood of a vital theatre scene. So it’s gratifying to report that this particular category was one of the most hotly contested at the panel’s deliberations. The contenders, including Daisy Badger in Look Back In Anger at the Bolton Octagon; Ben Hunter in The Girls at The Lowry; Kirsty Rider in Pride and Prejudice at The Lowry; and Holly Willock in The Wind in the Willows at The Lowry were all remarkably impressive in their own way and I don’t doubt that we’ll be hearing a lot more from all of them, just as we have recently from a certain Andrew Garfield, the winner of this award in 2004. But the performance that had everyone most excited was Norah Lopez Holden in Ghosts at HOME. Born in Madrid but brought up in Oldham, where she was part of the famous Oldham Theatre Workshop, her performance as Regine Engstrand was enigmatic yet strangely charming and utterly thrilling to watch in a superb production.
17 March 2017