2015 has been a year of changes in North West theatre.

We have a brand new theatre and another on the way in Manchester, plus lots of refurbishments underway or on the drawing board. There are new artistic directors at Manchester International Festival, Bolton Octagon, Unity Theatre Liverpool and Chester Performs.

It has also been a year of festivals, with MIF filling Manchester with various combined arts, Flare Festival suddenly becoming more prominent, 24:7 fundamentally changing the way it operates following the loss of its ACE revenue funding and the continuing success of the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival and Liverpool's Physical Fest. HOME held its final Re:play Festival last January, but will replace it with the new PUSH Festival this year.

The following are my own reflections on 2015 in the North West, restricted largely to what I was able to see, and so there are plenty of omissions in the productions covered here. See our reviews pages for some of the productions seen by the rest of our busy North West reviewing team.