Manchester Theatre Awards

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

News: 2013 MTA winners

More than 20 Manchester Theatre Awards for 2013 were presented to the winners among 100 nominees, chosen by a panel of regional theatre critics, for a gala occasion which this year was open to the public for the first time.

Among the winners was Sir Kenneth Branagh, for his role as Macbeth in the Manchester International Festival performance staged inside an old city church. The same production earned Ray Fearon his second trophy in two years, for his supporting role as Macduff.

But many other homegrown productions found themselves sharing the acclaim of an MTA trophy.

Oldham’s Coliseum Theatre production of Chicago also attracted two awards, for best supporting actress Shirley Darroch, and for the whole cast as an ensemble performance.

Best Actress award went to TV and stage star Cush Jumbo for her performance in the title role of Miss Julie at Manchester Royal Exchange, while the venue’s Studio performance of Brilliant Adventures won it two awards.

War Horse, the National Theatre’s acclaimed adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s story, charged through a crowded field for Best Visiting Production to win the award on its first national tour to the Lowry in Salford.

The venue was also poignantly successful when the Robert Robson Award for Dance went to the Michael Clark Triple Bill. It was a production that had been programmed by the Lowry’s artistic director Robert Robson – a leading advocate of dance theatre – who died suddenly in the summer, before its actual performance.

In his honour the judges decided this year to give his name to the trophy.

Several other awards are designed to encourage the region’s small-scale fringe and studio performances and this year one of those, Away From Home, performed at the city’s 24:7 Festival, also won the prestigious New Play trophy.

The Special Achievement Award went to Manchester Library Theatre’s artistic director Chris Honer who this year stands down from the role after more than 20 years.

A new award, presented by the Stage Door Foundation, also went to another long-standing Manchester institution – the comedy theatre duo of LipService, Maggie Fox and Sue Ryding.

See MTA News for pictures and the judges opinions.

David Upton
07 March 2014