Manchester Theatre Awards

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

News: Manchester Theatre Awards 2017 revealed

Sheridan Smith and Danny Mac were among the winners at the Manchester Theatre Awards – which were announced at The Lowry on Friday March 9..

Presented by comedian Justin Moorhouse, the annual awards – the most important theatrical prize-giving outside London – honoured productions seen in Greater Manchester during 2017.

HOME led the way with five awards, with the rest of the honours largely even among the area’s other venues including two for Oldham Coliseum, two for the Royal Exchange Theatre and other awards going to productions and performers at The Lowry, the Palace Theatre and Opera House, Hope Mill Theatre, Contact, Royal Northern College of Music and Greater Manchester Fringe festival.

Janet Suzman was named Best Actress for Rose at HOME while Kenneth Alan Taylor won Best Actor for The Father at Oldham Coliseum – which also won the Best Production prize.

Best New Play was won by Rosie Fleeshman for Narcissist in the Mirror, part of Greater Manchester Fringe.

The big shows on the touring circuit visiting Manchester in 2017 were also honoured, with Michael Harrison, David Ian and Curve’s production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard winning Best Musical, and its star Danny Mac scooping Best Actor in a Visiting Production for his role as Joe Gillis. Sheridan Smith was named Best Actress in a Visiting Production for her star turn as Fanny Brice in the West End-turned touring production of Funny Girl.

The star-studded pantomime Dick Whittington, produced by Qdos and which featured John Barrowman and The Krankies, scooped the Best Special Entertainment prize.

The Robert Robson Award for Dance was taken by English National Ballet for their Double Bill at the Palace Theatre while Opera North’s The Snow Maiden at The Lowry won the opera prize, renamed this year The Philip Radcliffe Award for Best Opera, in memory of the late arts journalist and one of the founders of the Awards

Scott Hunter won Best Newcomer for his performance in Yank! at Hope Mill Theatre, a role he also reprised in the West End when the show transferred there last year.

The MTA judging panel includes a group of enthusiastic young critics who contribute to deliberations and reviews and have their own dedicated award for youth performances. This prize was won by Singin' in the Rain by the Royal Northern College of Music Young Company.

Also presented on the day was the Stage Door Foundation award that was given to JB Shorts, the Reallife Theatre company platform for playlets written and performed by industry professionals, which started life at the Joshua Brooks pub in the city and are now performed at the 53Two fringe venue.

Special Achievement Awards were given to Barrie Rutter, founder and former artistic director of Northern Broadsides, and Anne Hornsby of Mind’s Eye audio describers which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year.

Presenters of the awards included BBC Breakfast hosts Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty, former Coronation Street cast including Tupele Dorgu and Eric Potts, television and stage actress Roxanne Pallet and Dinnerladies star Sue Devaney.

Guests were also treated to performances during the ceremony by comic singer songwriter Daniel Cainer, performance poetry by Alex Slater and Rosie Fleeshman and Opera North’s Marie Claire Breen and Dean Robinson who performed arias from Don Giovanni.

The list of nominees and winners follows.

The Manchester Theatre Awards are in association with Target Live, who managed the PR for the awards. With offices in London and Manchester, Target Live is the UK’s only full service live events marketing agency offering Marketing, Media, Social Media, PR, Design and Digital.



Manchester Theatre Awards – winners in bold

Actress in a Leading Role

Karen Henthorn, Spring and Port Wine, Oldham Coliseum

Lisa Dwyer Hogg, People, Places & Things, HOME

Nina Hoss, Returning to Reims, Manchester International Festival

Janet Suzman, Rose, HOME


Actor in a Leading Role

Cliff Burnett, Hard Times, Oldham Coliseum

Jason Merrells, Uncle Vanya, HOME

Kenneth Alan Taylor, The Father, Oldham Coliseum

Ashley Zhangazha, Guys And Dolls, Royal Exchange


Actress in a Supporting Role

Alison Halstead, The House of Bernarda Alba, Royal Exchange

Kate Kennedy, Twelfth Night, Royal Exchange

Kerry Peers, The Father, Oldham Coliseum

Katie West, Uncle Vanya, HOME


Actor in a Supporting Role

Tom Michael Blyth, Hard Times, Oldham Coliseum

David Fleeshman, Uncle Vanya, HOME

Andrew Sheridan, People, Places & Things, HOME


Actress in a Visiting Production

Ria Jones, Sunset Boulevard, Palace Theatre

Laura Pitt-Pulford, Nell Gwynn, The Lowry

Natalie Radmall-Quirke, The Weir, Oldham Coliseum

Sheridan Smith, Funny Girl, Palace Theatre


Actor in a Visiting Production

Danny Mac, Sunset Boulevard, Palace Theatre

Graham McDuff, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Palace Theatre

Sean Murray, The Weir, Oldham Coliseum



Oh What A Lovely War, Oldham Coliseum

Operation Black Antler, HOME

The Suppliant Women, Royal Exchange


Performance in a Fringe Production

Rosie Fleeshman, Narcissist in the Mirror, Greater Manchester Fringe

Amie Giselle-Ward, Little Women – The Musical, Hope Mill Theatre

Alexandra Maxwell, The Loves of Others / Freak, Greater Manchester Fringe

Danny Solomon, Days Of Wine And Roses, 53TWO


Performance in a Studio Production

Rhodri Meilir How My Light Is Spent, Royal Exchange

Lucy Jane Parkinson, Joan, Contact

Keisha Thompson, Man On The Moon, Contact

Alex Walton, From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads, The Lowry


Robert Robson Award for Dance

Debut, Acosta Danza, The Lowry

English National Ballet double bill, Palace Theatre

Ghost Dances, Rambert Dance, The Lowry

Leviathan, James Wilton Dance, Contact



Jenny Melville (set) and Lysander Ashton (video), Paul Auster’s City of Glass, HOME

Bunny Christie, People, Places & Things, HOME

Alex Lowde, Persuasion, Royal Exchange

Yael Bartana, What If Women Ruled the World?, Manchester International Festival


Fringe Production

Bad Advice, Greater Manchester Fringe

Gypsy Queen, Hope Mill Theatre

The Marriage of Kim K, Greater Manchester Fringe

Moth, Hope Mill Theatre



Funny Girl, Palace Theatre

Jim Steinman’s Bat out of Hell the Musical, Opera House

Sunset Boulevard, Palace Theatre

Yank!, Hope Mill Theatre


New Play

Gypsy Queen, writer Rob Ward, Hope Mill Theatre

How My Light Is Spent, writer Alan Harris, Royal Exchange

Narcissist in the Mirror, writer Rosie Fleeshman, Greater Manchester Fringe

Narvik, writer Lizzie Nunnery, HOME



Gemma Dobson, Rita, Sue and Bob Too, Octagon Theatre Bolton

Scott Hunter, Yank!, Hope Mill Theatre

Vinay Lad, The Railway Children, The Lowry


The Philip Radcliffe Award for Opera

Cendrillon, Royal Northern College of Music, RNCM

La Cenerentola, Opera North, The Lowry

Opera North Little Greats, Opera North, The Lowry

The Snow Maiden, Opera North, The Lowry



The Father, Oldham Coliseum

People, Places & Things, HOME

Rose, HOME

The Suppliant Women, Royal Exchange


Special Entertainment

Dick Whittington, Opera House

Running Wild, The Lowry

The Toad Knew, The Lowry

Under Glass, Clod Ensemble,The Lowry


Studio Production

From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads, The Lowry

Joan, Contact

Man On The Moon, Contact

Swansong, The Lowry


Target Live Award for Best Visiting Production

La Strada, The Lowry

My Country; a Work in Progress, HOME

Nell Gwynn, The Lowry

The Weir, Oldham Coliseum


Youth Panel Award

There is a Light/BRIGHTLIGHT, Contact Young Company

Singin' in the Rain, RNCM Young Company

Tis Written in the Stars, Oldham Theatre Workshop, Oldham Coliseum

About Target Live

Target Live – which in February 2017 marked its 10th Anniversary by opening a Manchester office to run alongside its London one, working on a mix of national and regional accounts -  is the UK’s only full-service live events marketing agency covering Marketing, Media, Social Media, PR, Design and Digital. Target Live’s specialisms span musical theatre, theatre, dance, classical music and opera, literature, art exhibitions, museums and attractions as well as comedy, games, films, travel, food and drink, music festivals and large-scale outdoor events.

David Chadderton
18 January 2018