Manchester Theatre Awards to be held in March 2018 at The Lowry

David Chadderton

The Manchester Theatre Awards will be held at The Lowry’s Quays Theatre on Friday 9 March next year, hosted by actor and comedian Justin Moorhouse, to honour productions seen in Greater Manchester during 2017.

From big receiving venues like The Lowry and the Palace Theatre and Opera House, via acclaimed producing houses such as HOME and the Royal Exchange to fringe spaces like Hope Mill Theatre, more than 20 awards categories will recognise the array of theatre on offer to audiences in the region.

Uniquely among theatrical prizegivings, the MTAs publish reviews of all the shows attended, with panel members giving an insight into the deliberations and opinions of the judges on the MTA web site. In recent years, the awards have expanded to include a group of young critics who also choose an annual award from the city’s youth theatre productions.

Since the relaunch of the awards in 2011, famous faces from stage and screen to have won include Sir Kenneth Branagh, Maxine Peake, Rufus Hound, Rory Kinnear, Barry Humphries, Julian Glover and Sian Phillips.

Coronation Street and Broadchurch actress Julie Hesmondhalgh, a multiple MTA winner, said, “I love the Manchester Theatre Awards. It’s always such a lovely coming together of our artistic community in the best city in the world and is a celebration of all things theatrical here: from the emerging raw talent of the burgeoning fringe scene to the bobby dazzler spectaculars in our main houses and from the internationally acclaimed cultural highlights of MIF to a couple of people in a tiny space above a Salford pub.”

Kevin Bourke, chair of the Manchester Theatre Awards, added, “helping to celebrate the tremendous, passionate and creative work in the Manchester theatre world is not only a huge honour and privilege for my colleagues and me, but also great fun and genuinely exciting—just like the shows we try to spotlight."

Host Justin Moorhouse, who returns to present the ceremony for the 5th time, added: “I’m back once again to ingratiate myself with the great of Manchester’s glittering theatre world.

“I’m not too modest to state I’m doing the gig for no charge once again—nil, nish, zero, gratis, diddly squat, buckshee—not a single penny is asked for from me. Why? Because I love the theatre and I love Manchester and am grateful for the chances it has given me.

“(Just a side note to the great of Manchester’s glittering theatre world—this is the fifth year I’ve hosted and this is what I’ve got back in the way of auditions, meetings, offers—nil, nish, zero, gratis, diddly squat, buckshee! Thanks a lot!)”

The 2018 Manchester Theatre Awards are in association with Target Live, who will be managing the PR for the forthcoming awards. Target Live—which in February marked its 10th anniversary by opening a Manchester office to run alongside its London one, working on a mix of national and regional accounts—has specialisms that 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.