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MCR Theatre Awards: Pared Down But Perfect

Rachael Hestlehurst enjoys watching an array of loyal theatre lovers and stars gathering together

Published on May 23rd 2012.


MCR Theatre Awards: Pared Down But Perfect

THE winners of last year's Manchester Theatre Awards came together on Friday to celebrate the theatrical talent of the North West.

Plans for 2012’s Manchester Theatre Awards are already advanced, and it is hoped the award’s profile and the scale of the event will be boosted by new sponsors.

Earlier this year the judging panel made up of nine devoted theatre lovers revealed the winners who were chosen across 17 categories, including best actor, best play, best design and best actress in a supporting role.

The Broderick Suite at the Cooperative’s New Century Hall was home to the awards this year, where a collection of more than 100 invited theatre practitioners and event sponsors gathered.

This was a more modest awards ceremony than previously following the Manchester Evening News' decision to pull sponsorship. The glitz and glamour might have been of a lower order but the intimate nature of the event and the plentiful Barefoot Wine vintages made for a very happy, personal and friendly ceremony.

Confidential contributor and former MEN film and theatre writer Kevin Bourke hosted the event. He said: "We’re a bit more rough and ready now. But we're still motivated by our love for live theatre in a region which really shines.”

Kevin BourkeKevin Bourke

The integrity point was underlined by Margaret Leicester, who picked up Best Actress award: “We don’t see these awards as a bonus culture. We don’t need free food and drink in order to celebrate. Let these awards be a source of encouragement and unity for everyone.”

Smiles and laughter were a constant from the appreciative crowd, who not only enjoyed the occasional jokes from speakers on stage, but from stand-up comedian Phill Buckett in the break, who shared his not-so enchanting experience with the audience.

“I’ll tell you my worst experience. Going to Disneyland, being stuck in a rubber ring and being told to have a magical day.”

Veteran Manchester performer David Fleeshman, who has acted and directed in every theatre in Greater Manchester over the last 40 years, spoke about the importance of the awards.

“These awards are an essential part of this region’s amazing theatre life. I’m delighted and hope the awards will grow as big as their predecessor. They may be starting small again this year, but from small acorns, great things will grow.”

On the significance of upcoming new talent, he spotlighted one of Manchester's home-grown celebrations of talent: “24/7 Theatre Festival is a hot bed for new, creating writing. These people are the lifeblood of the next generation of theatre. Events such as 24/7 are the envy of the country.”

Plans for 2012’s Manchester Theatre Awards are already advanced, and it is hoped the award’s profile and the scale of the event will be boosted by new sponsors.

Manchester Theatre Awards were decided upon by an independent, nine-strong judging panel.

The judgesThe judges

 

Here is the full list of Award winners:

BEST PRODUCTION

The Price, directed by David Thacker for the Octagon Theatre, Bolton

BEST ACTOR

Con O’Neill, in A View From The Bridge at the Royal Exchange

Conn O'NeillConn O'Neill

BEST ACTRESS

Margot Leicester, in Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Kenneth Alan Taylor, in The Price at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Shannon Tarbet, in Mogadishu at the Royal Exchange

Shannon TarbetShannon Tarbet

BEST NEW PLAY

Secret Thoughts, by David Lodge at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton

BEST NEWCOMER

Matthew Tennyson, in Beautiful Thing at the Royal Exchange

BEST STUDIO PERFORMANCE

Matthew Ganley, in God Wept And The Devil Laughed at The Lowry Studio

BEST OF THE FRINGE

Sherica, from Balloon Head and Shred Productions at the 24:7 Festival

BEST DESIGN

Hard Times, design Judith Croft; light Nick Richings; sound Peter Rice, Library Theatre at Murrays’ Mills, Manchester

BEST MUSICAL

Ghost The Musical, at the Opera House

BEST VISITING PRODUCTION

One Man, Two Guv’nors, from the National Theatre at The Lowry

BEST ACTOR IN A VISITING PRODUCTION

Rory Kinnear, in Hamlet, from the National Theatre at The Lowry

BEST ACTRESS IN A VISITING PRODUCTION

Sharon D Clarke, in Ghost The Musical at the Opera House

Shannon D ClarkeShannon D Clarke

BEST SPECIAL ENTERTAINMENT 

The Life And Death Of Marina Abramovic, for Manchester International Festival at The Lowry

OPERA

The Portrait, from Opera North at The Lowry

DANCE

Cinderella, from Birmingham Royal Ballet at The Lowry

SPECIAL AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO THEATRE IN THE NORTH WEST 

Braham Murray 

For more details go to www.manchestertheatreawards.com

You can follow Rachael on Twitter at @rheslehurst

Theatre AwardsTheatre Awards

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