Who will win Manchester Theatre Awards?

Published: 20 January 2015
Reporter: David Upton

Rob Edwards in Duet for One at the Octagon Credit: Ian Tilton
An August Bank Holiday Lark Credit: Nobby Clark
Caitriona Ennis in Angel Meadow Credit: Graeme Cooper

Friday the 13th will prove lucky for some when winners of the Manchester Theatre Awards are revealed in March at the celebrity event, to be held at the city’s Royal Northern College of Music.

Today sees the announcement of the nominations across 20 categories, chosen by a panel of 11 of the region’s leading theatre critics.

Manchester’s Royal Exchange and Bolton’s Octagon Theatre dominate the leading categories, for Best Actor and Best Actress, as well as Best Supporting Actor and Actress.

Among the famous names shortlisted for awards are Robert Lindsay, who starred in the première performance of the musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at Manchester Opera House before it went on to acclaim in the West End, and Sir Anthony Sher, who appeared in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Henry IV Parts I and II at The Lowry in Salford.

Veteran comedy entertainer Barry Humphries is amongst nominations for Best Special Entertainment for his farewell performance at Manchester Opera House. It was an especially poignant event as his grandfather emigrated to Australia from the city back in 1888.

Other awards cover nominations for best musical, dance and opera performances and there are six nominations in the coveted Best Production category—all of them homegrown in Manchester.

Similarly, the city’s energetic fringe and studio theatre scenes are honoured across four categories.

Several of this year’s theatre award nominations also feature productions that have been tailored for performance away from traditional theatre stages and have been presented in everything from the city’s Edwardian baths... to a pram shop in Oldham town centre.

The winners will be announced on stage at Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music on Friday March 13.

All the nominees are invited as well as celebrity guests who present the coveted glass trophies. A limited number of audience tickets are also available from the RNCM web site.

Manchester Theatre Award nominations

Best Actor

Best Actress

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Claire Benedict, in Hamlet, at the Royal Exchange
  • Gillian Bevan, in Hamlet, at the Royal Exchange
  • Molly Gromadzki, in Orlando, at the Royal Exchange
  • Katie Moore, in Billy Liar, at the Royal Exchange

Best Actor in a Visiting Production

Best Actress in a Visiting Production

Best Production

Best Visiting Production

The Brynteg Award for Best Musical

Robert Robson Award for Dance

  • Beauty Of The Beast, from Company Chameleon, at The Lowry
  • Cinderella, from Northern Ballet Theatre, at the Palace Theatre
  • Le Corsaire, from English National Ballet, at the Palace Theatre
  • Dracula, from Mark Bruce Productions, at Contact Theatre
  • Lord Of The Flies, from New Adventures, at The Lowry


  • Götterdämmerung, from Opera North, at The Lowry
  • Life On The Moon, from English Touring Opera, at Buxton Opera House
  • The Coronation Of Poppea, from Opera North, at The Lowry
  • The Girl Of The Golden West, from Opera North, at The Lowry
  • The Jacobin, from Buxton Festival, at Buxton Opera House


Best Newcomer

Best New Play

Best Studio Production

  • Amsterdam, from Afrique Performs, at Contact Theatre
  • He Had Hairy Hands, from Kill The Beast Company, at the Lowry Studio
  • Solfatara, from Atresbandes at the Lowry Studio
  • The C Project, from Working Progress Theatre Company at the Lowry Studio

Best Fringe Production

  • In My Bed, from Milk And Two Sugars Company, for 24:7 Theatre Festival, at New Century House
  • Life’s A Gatecrash, from PACT Theatre Company at The Kings Arms, Salford
  • The Tongue Twister, from 24:7 Theatre Festival, at New Century Hall
  • Thick As Thieves, from Hard Graft Theatre Company, at ReTale, Oldham Mumps
  • Watching Goldfish Suffocate, from Vertigo Theatre, at the Great Northern Playhouse

Best Studio Performance

  • Ellie Kendrick, in Pests, at the Royal Exchange Studio
  • Sinèad Matthews, in Pests, at the Royal Exchange Studio
  • Amaka Okafor, in Bird, at the Bill Naughton Studio, Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Best Fringe Performance

  • Jarreau Benjamin, in Len Johnson Fighter, at the Kings Arms, Salford
  • David Degiorgio, in Watching Goldfish Suffocate, at The Great Northern Playhouse
  • Kaitlin Howard, in The Alphabet Girl, at the Kings Arms, Salford
  • Olivia Sweeney, in In My Bed, at 24:7 Theatre Festival, New Century House
  • John Weaver, in Afterglow, at 24:7 Theatre Festival, New Century House

Best Ensemble

Best Special Entertainment

  • Barry Humphries, in Eat, Pray, Laugh at the Opera House
  • Best of BE Festival, at Number One First Street
  • Cirque Berserk, at The Lowry
  • In The Night Garden, at the Trafford Centre
  • Robin Cousins’ Ice, at The Lowry

Are you sure?