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The Manchester Theatre Awards 2012

Astonishing showing for Bolton Octagon but strong winners elsewhere too

Published on March 14th 2012.


The Manchester Theatre Awards 2012

THE WINNERS of the Manchester Theatre Awards 2011 are announced today and prove that the huge success of theatre in Manchester is by no means confined to the bigger theatres. Although both the Royal Exchange and The Lowry do very well, perhaps the most significant triumph is Bolton's Octagon Theatre.

Given the size of the venue and its resources, it's a remarkable success story that can be attributed in part to its departing executive director John Blackmore.

A small producing theatre whose very future was uncertain just a few years ago, the Octagon enjoyed a run of world-class productions last year and has won four of the 17 annual awards, including Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best New Play and the coveted Best Production.

Margot LeicesterMargot LeicesterTheir artistic director David Thacker put his indelible stamp on a succession of productions, ranging from new plays to classics of modern theatre, and – in one of the latter – helped his wife Margot Leicester pick up the Best Actress award.

Another of his productions, Arthur Miller’s The Price, saw all four cast members nominated in four separate categories, while the play itself was winner of Best Production.

Given the size of the venue and its resources, it's a remarkable success story that can be attributed in part to its departing executive director John Blackmore.

At the other end of the scale, The Lowry in Salford unsurprisingly maintained its dominance as the region’s production powerhouse with six top awards, ranging across opera, ballet, major touring productions, a star-studded world premiere and a tiny studio performance.

Meanwhile, at the heart of a city proud of its theatre heritage, the Royal Exchange again proved it can more than hold its own with a Best Supporting Actress award in a startling new play that stemmed from the venue’s unique Bruntwood playwriting challenge, as well as Best Actor and Best Newcomer awards.

The contribution that he has made to this outstanding venue is also recognised in a special award to its outgoing Artistic Director Braham Murray.

Another world premiere, Ghost The Musical, won Manchester Opera House two awards and the creativity of adapting the Dickens’ classic Hard Times to its performance inside a disused cotton mill won Manchester Library Theatre the Design award.

The Life And Death Of Marina Abramovic was a Manchester International Festival commission that confused some audiences but amazed others. It impressed the Manchester Theatre Awards panel so much, though, that it won the Best Special Entertainment category.

 

Marina's mum and little Marina for MIFMarina's mum and little Marina for MIF

 

A hotly-contested category was the Best Of The Fringe, with Ian Winterton's hard-hitting Sherica eventually just nudging ahead of Lucia Cox' one-woman show Blackbird, which reappears at Studio Salford for a brief run (tonight until Match 17) before its imminent tour. 

THE AWARDS 

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

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

Shannon TarbetShannon TarbetBEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Shannon Tarbet, in Mogadishu at the Royal Exchange

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

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

 

The Price - Bolton OctagonThe Price - Bolton Octagon

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Christine KilbyMarch 15th 2012.

No surprises really, I travel all over the country to feed my addition and the North West outshines them all. Fact!

Christine KilbyMarch 15th 2012.

Sorry, that would be addiction ...

Howard BamforthMarch 15th 2012.

The Bolton Octagon production of The Price, by Arthur Miller, must surely have had the best cast and director available anywhere in the world. Truly memorable!

Christine KilbyMarch 15th 2012.

Absolutely agree, I saw this first in London, good, at the New Vic in Newcastle under Lyme, also good, but the best for me was, by a mile, the Bolton Octagon.

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