Manchester Theatre Award winners

David Upton

Manchester’s Royal Exchange theatre had a bumper haul of trophies from the Manchester Theatre Awards, revealed at a star-studded event at the city’s HOME venue.

Julie Hesmondhalgh was an especially popular winner of the Best Actress award for her role as a cancer patient in the American play Wit last year. She remains best known to many as Hayley Cropper in TV’s Coronation Street.

Daniel Rigby was chosen Best Actor for his part as Manchester computer scientist Alan Turing in Breaking The Code, also at the Exchange, and which was also chosen as Best Production and won supporting actress honours for Natalie Dew.

Unusually, the venue also won Best Musical for its re-staging of Sweet Charity, while its commitment to the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting paid dividends with three trophies for the studio production of Wish List, including awards to its two lead players Joseph Quinn and Erin Doherty.

Rufus Hound was chosen Best Actor in a Visiting Production for his part as Toad in the new musical version of The Wind in The Willows which premièred at The Lowry.

HOME itself won a best newcomer prize for Norah Lopez Holden in Ghosts, as well as Best New Play for The Emperor, starring Kathryn Hunter.

The Newcomer choice was a particularly crowded category this year and the judges, for the first time, also recognised the special contribution made by two teams of young performers in Billy Elliot at Manchester Palace, and To Kill A Mockingbird at Bolton Octagon.

Joyce Branagh, sister of Kenneth, won Best Fringe Performance for her production of Boomtown Gals.

The Robert Robson Award for Best Dance—named in honour of the late artistic director of The Lowry—was won by Akram Khan’s vivid re-styling of Giselle at Manchester Palace Theatre.

Bolton Octagon Theatre’s spirited revival of Singin’ In The Rain won both the Design and Ensemble awards.

One of the city’s newest venues, the Hope Mill Theatre, won Best Fringe production for The Trial, besides nominations in other categories. It was also given a Special Achievement award by the 10-strong panel of regional theatre critics who choose the Manchester Theatre Awards.

Manchester Theatre Awards 2016

(Winners in bold)

Actor in a leading role

  • Rob Edwards, To Kill A Mockingbird, Octagon Theatre Bolton
  • David Nielson, Endgame, HOME, Manchester
  • Daniel Rigby, Breaking The Code, Royal Exchange, Manchester
  • Don Warrington, King Lear, Royal Exchange, Manchester

Actress in a leading role

  • Niamh Cusack, Ghosts, HOME, Manchester
  • Kaisa Hammarlund, Sweet Charity, Royal Exchange, Manchester
  • Julie Hesmondhalgh, Wit, Royal Exchange, Manchester
  • Kathryn Hunter, The Emperor, HOME, Manchester

Production

  • Breaking The Code, Royal Exchange, Manchester
  • Ghosts, HOME, Manchester
  • The Emperor, HOME, Manchester
  • Wit, Royal Exchange, Manchester

Actor in a supporting role

  • Daniel Crossley, Sweet Charity, Royal Exchange, Manchester
  • Raad Rawi, Breaking The Code, Royal Exchange, Manchester
  • Marc Small, To Kill A Mockingbird, Octagon Theatre Bolton
  • Miltos Yerolemou, King Lear, Royal Exchange, Manchester

Actress in a supporting role

  • Natalie Dew, Breaking The Code, Royal Exchange, Manchester
  • Sharon Duncan-Brewster, A Streetcar Named Desire, Royal Exchange, Manchester
  • Natalie Grady, Martha Josie and the Chinese Elvis, Octagon Theatre Bolton
  • Amy Nuttall, The Winter’s Tale, Octagon Theatre Bolton

Visiting Production

  • 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips, HOME, Manchester
  • A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, Lowry, Salford
  • Love’s Labour’s Lost / Much Ado About Nothing, Opera House, Manchester
  • The Encounter, HOME, Manchester
  • The James Plays, Lowry, Salford

Actor in a Visiting Production

  • Edward Bennett, Love’s Labour’s Lost / Much Ado About Nothing, Opera House, Manchester
  • Rufus Hound, The Wind in the Willows, The Lowry, Salford
  • Simon McBurney, The Encounter, HOME, Manchester
  • Michael Pennington, King Lear, Opera House, Manchester

Actress in a Visiting Production

  • Lisa Dillon, Love’s Labour’s Lost / Much Ado About Nothing, Opera House, Manchester
  • Aoife Duffin, A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing, Lowry, Salford
  • Lisa Maxwell, End Of The Rainbow, Opera House, Manchester
  • Zizi Strallen, Mary Poppins, Palace, Manchester

Newcomer

  • Daisy Badger, Look Back In Anger, Octagon Theatre Bolton
  • Ben Hunter, The Girls, Lowry, Salford
  • Norah Lopez Holden, Ghosts, HOME, Manchester
  • Kirsty Rider, Pride And Prejudice, Lowry, Salford
  • Holly Willock, The Wind In The Willows, Lowry, Salford

Young newcomers

  • Young Michael cast, Billy Elliot, Palace, Manchester - Samuel Torpey, Henry Farmer, Bradley Mayfield and Elliot Stiff
  • Young Scout cast, To Kill A Mockingbird, Octagon Theatre Bolton - Jasmine de Goede and Lucy Doyle Ryder

Opera

  • Andrea Chénier, Opera North, Lowry, Salford
  • Billy Budd, Opera North, Lowry, Salford
  • Don Giovanni, ETO, Buxton Opera House
  • Tamerlano, Buxton Festival, Buxton Opera House

The Robert Robson Award for Dance

  • Akram Khan’s Giselle, Palace, Manchester
  • Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Lowry, Salford
  • Nederlands Dans Theater 2, Lowry, Salford
  • The Red Shoes, Lowry, Salford

Musical

  • Billy Elliot, Palace, Manchester
  • Parade, Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester
  • Singin’ in the Rain, Octagon Theatre Bolton
  • Sweet Charity, Royal Exchange, Manchester
  • The Wind in the Willows, Lowry, Salford

Fringe Production

  • Boomtown Gals, Various venues
  • Die Diana, Bandit, Mugger and Thief, Manchester
  • Multi Story, Monkeywood, Various venues
  • The Trial, Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester

Fringe Performance

  • Joyce Branagh, Boomtown Gals, Various venues
  • Sam Grogan, Waiting Room, King’s Arms, Salford
  • William J Holstead, The Trial, Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester
  • Leanne Martin, The Brink, King’s Arms, Salford

Studio Production

  • Dirty Pakistani Lingerie, Lowry, Salford
  • Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons, HOME, Manchester
  • The Solid Life Of Sugar Water, Royal Exchange, Manchester
  • Wish List, Royal Exchange, Manchester

Actor in a Studio Production

  • Alexander Gatehouse, Ventoux, Lowry
  • Joseph Quinn, Wish List, Royal Exchange
  • Rex Ryan, Pilgrim, Lowry

Actress in a Studio Production

  • Erin Doherty, Wish List, Royal Exchange Studio, Manchester
  • Sarah Emmott, Declaration, Lowry, Salford
  • Georgia Henshaw, Bird, Royal Exchange Studio, Manchester
  • Molly Vevers, Ross and Rachel, Lowry, Salford

New Play

  • A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer, HOME, Manchester
  • Bird, Royal Exchange Studio, Manchester
  • The Emperor, HOME, Manchester
  • Wish List, Royal Exchange Studio, Manchester

Design

  • Endgame, HOME, Manchester. Set: Tom Piper. Lighting: Lizzie Powell
  • La Vie Parisienne, RNCM, Manchester. Set and costume design: Simone Romaniuk
  • Singin’ In The Rain, Octagon Theatre, Bolton. Design: Ciaran Bagnall
  • The Pitmen Painters, Coliseum, Oldham. Design: Foxton

Ensemble

  • 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips, HOME
  • Singin’ In The Rain, Octagon Theatre, Bolton
  • The Pitmen Painters, Coliseum, Oldham
  • The James Plays, Lowry, Salford

Special Entertainment

  • An Anatomie In Four Quarters, Lowry, Salford
  • Cirque du Soleil – Amaluna, Trafford Centre
  • Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring – Old Granada Studios
  • The Peony Pavillion, Lowry, Salford

Youth panel award

  • NOTHING, The Royal Exchange Theatre Young Company 
  • The Secret Garden, Octagon Youth Theatre 
  • The Factory, The Royal Exchange Theatre Young Company 
  • The Siege of Christmas, Contact Young Company with Swung Low

Special Achievement

  • Hope Mill Theatre

Special Achievement

  • Philip Radcliffe, long-time member of the MTA Panel

Stage Door Foundation Award For Excellence

  • Take Back Theatre, Manchester-based theatre co-operative