NOMINATIONS for this year’s Manchester Theatre Awards are in.
"I’ve added an extra award this year, the 'Triumph Under Difficult Circumstances’ award should go to the Macbeth wardrobe department."
This year sees nearly 100 nominations in twenty categories spread around fifteen venues across Greater Manchester from the Palace to the Oldham Coliseum, the Royal Exchange to the Bolton Octagon, The Lowry to the Lass O’Gowrie.
The Manchester International Festival production of Macbeth (reviewed here) at St Peter’s Church, Ancoats, leads the charge with five nominations including a Best Actor nomination for Kenneth Branagh and Best Actress for Alex Kingston, while Kevin Shaw’s production of Kander and Ebb’s musical Chicago, awarded 5/5 by The Guardian, comes in close second with four nominations.
Amongst the lower budget productions Alistair McDowall’s highly regarded Brilliant Adventures at the Royal Exchange is top with four nominations including Best New Play while Away From Home at the 24:7 Theatre Festival has three nominations including Best Fringe Production.
The nominations have been pulled together by independent panel of theatre experts and the winners will be announced at a ceremony on Friday 7 March at The Royal Exchange Theatre.
City Centre Ward Councillor and regular Manchester Confidential theatre reviewer, Joan Davies, said:
"The range of nominations reflects the depth of theatrical experience in Manchester, with nominations for Bolton Octagon and Oldham Coliseum highlighting the quality of work going on outside the city centre. It's great to see Studio and Fringe theatre gaining recognition too.
"I’d love to add an extra award this year, the 'Triumph Under Difficult Circumstances’ award should go to the Macbeth wardrobe department. Keeping those woollen kilts and white gowns clean with all that mud must have been one of the greatest challenges faced this year."
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
Joan: "Branagh would be the popular choice but mine would be Birrell for a wronged, vengeful but still very human Sweeney Todd."
Marianne Benedict, Chicago, Oldham Coliseum
Cush Jumbo, A Doll’s House, Royal Exchange
Gillian Kearney, Educating Rita, Library 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
Joan: "I'd choose Tarbet. As with the book she drew you into the child’s view, told with an adult’s hindsight."
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
Joan: "Fearon’s Macduff in Macbeth deserves a win in any company, a triumph of intelligent, emotional and physical acting. He's also 'Most Eagerly Awaited Return' from a few of my female friends."
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
Joan: "Bankes shone in That Day We Sang at the Royal Exchange. Playing two contrasting roles with remarkable warmth and micro-second comic timing."
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
Joan: "My choice would be Hall as Maria in West Side Story. Beautiful singing and imbued Maria with essential innocence, but also the drive and independence often missing from the character."
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
Joan: "An almost impossible choice. I'd have to go for To Kill A Mockingbird as it reaffirmed the readers’ love of one of the most popular book of our time."
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
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
Joan: "Sweeney Todd at the Royal Exchange for me. The best production of this I have ever seen. I went three times and enjoyed each visit more."
Festival of Britten (Peter Grimes / 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, 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, Manchester International Festival, Upper Campfield Market
Joan: "A difficult one. It's between three: Macbeth brought the Scottish moorland to Ancoats, The Accrington Pals brought a WW1 battlefield and Lancashire cobbles while The Old Woman looked and sounded phenomenal."
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
Joan: "I'm surprised that New Live Theatre’s production of new play VIP at the Black Lion is not in there. A novel concept, highly entertaining and excellently realised through tight writing, spot-on casting, and superb performances."
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
Joan: "Arkley was highly impressive as a manipulative presence and drug dealer in Brilliant Adventures."
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
Chicago, Oldham Coliseum
David Copperfield, Oldham Coliseum
Duck!, Z-Arts Manchester
Manchester Sound: The Massacre, Library at the Lowry
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
Believe me MONOPRIX more ASDA than Tesco....Read more
What are 'richest diary pastures'?Read more
Saw it a few years ago at the Opera House with Marcus Brigstocke as Arthur. Really good, silly fun.…Read more
Crackerjack................whooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. Strong current reference there.Read more