Manchester Theatre Awards 2013 nominations

Published: 14 January 2014
Reporter: David Chadderton

Kenneth Branagh as Macbeth at Manchester International Festival Credit: Johan Persson
Marianne Benedict as Velma Kelly and Helen Power as Roxie Hart in Chicago at Oldham Coliseum Credit: Andrew Billington
Lee Armstrong as Luke, Ian Bonar as Greg and Robert Lonsdale as Luke in Brilliant Adventures at Royal Exchange Studio Credit: Jonathan Keenan

The nominations have now been announced for the Manchester Theatre Awards for 2013, and, in a year dominated by the Manchester International Festival which itself was dominated by one main production, the local theatres have certainly shown that they can compete with the big names and the big money in every category.

MIF has received 9 nominations, but 5 of them are from its headline production of Macbeth starring Kenneth Branagh and Alex Kingston. The Old Woman is next in line with 2, followed by The Machine and The Masque of Anarchy with 1 each.

MIF wasn't the only festival in town in 2013 to gain nominations as the tenth 24:7 Theatre Festival has 3, all for the same production: Away From Home. Buxton Festival, included for historic reasons even though it is based in Derbyshire, also gained 3 nominations.

As is usually the case, the Royal Exchange has the most nominations of any producing venue at 19, but if the 7 for productions in the Studio are subtracted from that total, their main house nominations have been equalled by Oldham Coliseum's 12. The Coliseum has had a remarkable year, leapfrogging Bolton Octagon with its 7 nominations to take second place. Library Theatre Company has just 2 nominations, but it is still on a reduced programme until it moves into its new Home in 2015.

The production from the local theatres with the most nominations is shared by Oldham Coliseum's Chicago and Bruntwood Prize runner-up Brilliant Adventures at the Royal Exchange Studio, both with 4. On 3, there is a tie between the Coliseum's David Copperfield, the Octagon's The Glass Menagerie and two productions at the Royal Exchange, The Accrington Pals and To Kill A Mockingbird.

Of the receiving houses, The Lowry has the most nominations with 24 (2 for studio productions) not including the Library Theatre productions, whereas the Palace and Opera House, sister theatres owned by ATG, have 7 between them, not including MIF. Top of these is Fiddler on the Roof at The Lowry with 3 nominations; West Side Story at the Palace and Hairspray at The Lowry were not eligble as productions as they have both visited the region before, but both gained 2 nominations for individual performances.

On the fringe, the venue with the most nominations at 4 is the Lass O'Gowrie, which has just closed after a long-running, acrimonious dispute between the tenant landlord and the brewery. The Kings Arms, currently in transition from its old Studio Salford name with a new artistic director, has 2.

The winners will be announced during a ceremony at the Royal Exchange Theatre on Friday 7 March. Limited numbers of tickets are expected to be available for members of the public to purchase.

Best Actor

David Birrell, Sweeney Todd, Royal Exchange

Kenneth Branagh, Macbeth, Manchester International Festival, St Peter’s Church

Nigel Cooke, To Kill A Mockingbird, Royal Exchange

Paul Webster, Sugar Daddies, Oldham Coliseum

Jack Wilkinson, David Copperfield, Oldham Coliseum

Best Actress

Marianne Benedict, Chicago, Oldham Coliseum

Cush Jumbo, A Doll’s House, Royal Exchange

Gillian Kearney, Educating Rita, Library Theatre at The Lowry

Alex Kingston, Macbeth, Manchester International Festival, St Peter’s Church

Maxine Peake, Masque Of Anarchy, Manchester International Festival, Albert Hall

Shannon Tarbet, To Kill A Mockingbird, Royal Exchange

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Ray Fearon, Macbeth, Manchester International Festival, St Peter’s Church

Kieran Hill, The Glass Menagerie, Octagon Theatre Bolton

Robin Simpson, David Copperfield, Oldham Coliseum

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Sally Bankes, That Day We Sang, Royal Exchange

Shirley Darroch, Chicago, Oldham Coliseum

Heather Phoenix, Sugar Daddies, Oldham Coliseum

Kelly Price, That Day We Sang, Royal Exchange

Best Actor in a Visiting Production

Paul Michael Glaser, Fiddler On The Roof, The Lowry

Julian Glover, Maurice’s Jubilee, Opera House

Louis Maskell, West Side Story, Palace

Barrie Rutter, Rutherford and Son, The Lowry

Tim Treloar, Birdsong, Oldham Coliseum

Best Actress in a Visiting Production

Michele Dotrice, The Ladykillers, The Lowry

Katie Hall, West Side Story, Palace

Catherine Kinsella, Rutherford and Son, The Lowry

Karen Mann, Fiddler On The Roof, The Lowry

Sian Phillips, People, The Lowry

Best Production

Of Mice and Men, directed by David Thacker, Octagon Theatre Bolton

Macbeth, directed by Rob Ashford, Manchester International Festival, St Peter’s Church

The Accrington Pals, directed by James Dacre, Royal Exchange

The Glass Menagerie, directed by David Thacker, Octagon Theatre Bolton

The Old Woman, directed by Robert Wilson, Manchester International Festival, Palace

To Kill A Mockingbird, directed by Max Webster, Royal Exchange

Best Visiting Production

Birdsong, The Original Theatre Company and Birdsong Productions Ltd, Oldham Coliseum

The Full Monty, Sheffield Theatres, The Lowry

The Ladykillers, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse / Fiery Angel, The Lowry

The Pirates Of Penzance, Scottish Opera and D'Oyly Carte, Opera House

Twelfth Night, Propeller, The Lowry

War Horse, National Theatre, The Lowry

Best Musical

Chicago, Oldham Coliseum

Fiddler On The Roof, The Lowry

Paradise Moscow, Royal Northern College Of Music

Singin’ In The Rain, Opera House

Sweeney Todd, Royal Exchange

Wicked, Palace


Festival of Britten (Peter Grimes / A Midsummer Night’s Dream / Death In Venice), Opera North, The Lowry

La Finta Giardiniera, Buxton Festival

L’Elisir d’Amore, Royal Northern College Of Music

La Voix Humaine, Buxton Festival

Otello, Opera North, The Lowry


Aladdin, Birmingham Royal Ballet, The Lowry

Michael Clark Triple Bill, The Lowry

Rambert, The Lowry

Richard Alston Dance Company, The Lowry

The Chelsea Hotel, Earthfall, The Lowry


La Colombe/La Princesse Jaune, design Lez Brotherston; light John Bishop, Buxton Festival

Macbeth, design Christopher Oram; light Neil Austin; sound Christopher Shutt, Manchester International Festival, St Peter’s Church

Of Mice and Men, design and light Ciaran Bagnall; sound Andy Smith, Octagon Theatre Bolton

The Accrington Pals, design Jonathan Fensom; light Charles Balfour; sound Emma Laxton, Royal Exchange

The Old Woman, designer/director Robert Wilson; sound Marco Oilvieri; light A J Weissbard, Manchester International Festival, Palace

The Machine, design Lucy Osborne; light Mark Henderson; sound Ian Dickinson / Autograph; video Andrzej Goulding, Manchester International Festival, Upper Campfield Market

Best Newcomer

Marcus Collins, Hairspray, The Lowry

Laura Elsworthy, The Accrington Pals, Royal Exchange

Nathan Ives-Moiba, Tull, Octagon Theatre Bolton

Freya Sutton, Hairspray, The Lowry

Nathan Wiley, The Glass Menagerie, Octagon Theatre Bolton

Best New Play

Away From Home, by Rob Ward and Martin Jameson, 24:7 Festival

Brilliant Adventures, by Alistair McDowall, Royal Exchange Studio

Cannibals, by Rory Mullarkey, Royal Exchange

Flesh, by Sarah McDonald Hughes, Royal Exchange Studio

Best Studio Production

A Wondrous Place, Royal Exchange Studio

Brilliant Adventures, Royal Exchange Studio

That Is All You Need To Know, The Lowry Studio

Best Fringe Production

Away From Home, Working Progress Theatre, 24:7 Festival

Little Shop of Horrors, Kings Arms

Mary Bell by Mary Bell, Studio Salford

The Best, Lass O’Gowrie

Word:Play, Box Of Tricks, various venues

Withnail and I, Lass O’Gowrie

Best Studio Performance

Joseph Arkley, Brilliant Adventures, Royal Exchange Studio

David Judge, Pages From My Songbook, Royal Exchange Studio

Robert Lonsdale, Brilliant Adventures, Royal Exchange Studio

Gerry McLaughlin, Mugabeland!, The Lowry Studio

Best Fringe Performance

Rebecca Fenwick, Spoonface Steinberg, The Swan, Dobcross and tour

Stella Grundy, The Rise and Fall Of A Northern Star, Studio Salford

Dickie Patterson, The Best, Lass O’Gowrie

David Slack, Withnail and I, Lass O’Gowrie

Rob Ward, Away From Home, 24:7 Theatre Festival

Best Ensemble

Chicago, Oldham Coliseum

David Copperfield, Oldham Coliseum

Duck!, Z-Arts Manchester

Manchester Sound: The Massacre, Library Theatre

Of Mice and Men, Octagon Theatre Bolton

Best Special Entertainment

Dick Whittington, Opera House

Jack and the Beanstalk, Oldham Coliseum

Strictly Confidential, The Lowry

Sutra, The Lowry

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