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

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.

(Reporter: David Upton)

Colin Connor with his trophy

... 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.

(Reporter: Alan Hulme)

Barbara Drennan received her trophy from Aziz Rashid, head of BBC North West

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.

(Reporter: Carmel Thomason)

David Birrell with his trophy, and presenter Joyce Branagh

Actor in a Supporting Role

David Birrell was pronounced the winner for another morally certain, if perhaps less sympathetic, character of Mayor Peter Stockmann as he went into battle with his brother in An Enemy of the People at the Octagon.

(Reporter: David Chadderton)

Natasha Davidson

Actress in a Supporting Role

Natasha Davidson as Catherine in A View From the Bridge gave a performance described by one panellist as, “an intoxicating blend of gauche innocence and temptation”, adding more depth and richness to her relationship with uncle Eddie. It was this impressive portrayal that took the prize.

(Reporter: David Chadderton)

Joe Armstrong received his trophy from Anne-Marie Duff

Actor in a Visiting Production

You could barely imagine a more wide-ranging group of productions than the four from which our nominees were drawn.

(Reporter: Kevin Bourke)

Louise Brealey received her trophy from Northern Broadsides theatre director Barrie Rutter

Actress in a Visiting Production

Hmm, what might it tell us that three out of the four nominations in this category this year were actually for performances in musicals?

(Reporter: Kevin Bourke)

Carla Langley with Arthur Bostrom

Performance in a Studio Production

In Joseph Wilde’s Cuddles Cara Langley portrayed probably the most extreme character depicting the unhinged mindset of Eve, someone so far outside of society’s norms as to be barely civilised.

(Reporter: David Cunningham)

Colin Connor in Mr Smith

Performance in a Fringe Production

The vital importance of an actor in communicating the theme of a play to the audience was made very clear with some superb Fringe performances in 2015.

(Reporter: David Cunningham)

The Ensemble trophy, presented by Walter Meierjohann from HOME (left) and collected by several members of the cast of Noises Off


This category exists to draw attention to performances where the whole cast distinguish themselves, rather than individuals.

(Reporter: Robert Beale)