Manchester Theatre Awards 2018

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The Manchester Theatre Awards in association with Target Live will be held at The Lowry’s Quays Theatre on Friday 9 March 2018, hosted once again by Manchester favourite, comedian and actor, Justin Moorhouse.

The annual awards seen by many as the most important theatrical awards outside of London has been an important fixture of the North West cultural calendar since it first began back in 1981 and is an opportunity to honour productions seen in Greater Manchester during 2017

From big receiving venues like The Lowry and the Palace Theatre and Opera House, via acclaimed producing houses such as HOME and the Royal Exchange to exciting fringe spaces like Hope Mill Theatre, over 20 awards categories recognise the exciting array of theatre on offer to audiences in the region and beyond.

In recent years the Awards have expanded to include a group of enthusiastic young critics who also choose an annual award from the city’s youth theatre productions.

Coronation Street and Broadchurch actress Julie Hesmondhalgh, herself a previous multiple MTA winner, paid tribute to the awards and the importance of the Greater Manchester theatre scene, saying: “I love the Manchester Theatre Awards. It’s always such a lovely coming together of our artistic community in the best city in the world, and is a celebration of all things theatrical here: From the emerging raw talent of the burgeoning fringe scene to the bobby dazzler spectaculars in our main houses and from the internationally acclaimed cultural highlights of MIF to a couple of people in a tiny space above a Salford pub.”

Kevin Bourke, chair of the Manchester Theatre Awards, said: “Helping to celebrate the tremendous, passionate and creative work in the Manchester theatre world is not only a huge honour and privilege for my colleagues and me, but also great fun and genuinely exciting – just like the shows we try to spotlight”.

Further information on the awards can be found at www.manchestertheatreawards.com and @MTAwards

 

Flare 2017 launch

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Flare International Festival of new theatre which is taking place across the city between 4th -8th July announced an inspiring and innovative full programme line up this afternoon.

Acting as a platform for some of the most talented national and international theatre makers and featuring around 60 of the best new international artists Flare 17 promises to be a unique and exciting celebration of new theatre. The full programme includes performances, workshops, feedback sessions as well as parties for both performers and audiences alike.

Artistic Director Neil Mackenzie explained the importance of programming international work, “It is our aim as an international festival and as advocates of emerging experimental theatre to bring together the international community of radical theatre artists to inform and enrich theatre practice in this country”

Flare 17 will take place at various venues across the city including HOME, Royal Exchange Theatre, The Lowry, Contact, Martin Harris Centre and 70 Oxford St and will present an ambitious programme of work from across Europe. Highlights announced today include:

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Party by Spanish/Brazillian artists Beaches – An immersive dance and audio show for 10 spectators at the time. Alluding to elements of our collective memory and popular culture, the piece creates a utopian simulation of a night out, one that functions as a detonator for hacking the senses of the spectator, blurring the limits between reality and representation.

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Blind Cinema by Britt Hatzius – In the darkness of a cinema space, the audience sits blindfolded. Behind each row of audience members is a row of children who, in hushed voices, describe a film only they can see. Accompanied by the soundtrack (which has no dialogue), the whispered descriptions are a fragile, fragmentary and courageous attempt by the children to make sense of what they see projected on the screen. In focusing on that which lies beyond the sense of sight, the attention switches between the world of the film, guided by the whispering voice, and the shared physical space of the cinema. For these performances the children will come from St Brigid’s RC Primary in Beswick, and Beaver Road Primary in Didsbury.

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Grand Applause by Guillem Mont de Palol & Jorge Dutor – An extraordinary on-stage exhibition of performance and visual art, presented in the form of the opera – Carmen. In the opera, Don José falls in love with Carmen who becomes infatuated with the bullfighter Escamillo. Don José’s love quickly turns to violent jealousy. He tracks Carmen down and kills her.

On a stage that is wired for sound, Grand Applause offers a stirring soundtrack, a live chorus and a choreography of artworks, by three artists: Norberto Llopis in the role of Carmen, Luis Urculo in the role of Don José and Bernhard Willhelm as the toreador Escamillo. After their huge hit #losmicrófonos at FLARE15, irrepressible theatrical mavericks Guillem Mont de Palol and Jorge Dutor are back, but on a much bigger scale…

Flare Molar

Molar by Quim Bigas Bassart – A much acclaimed and highly energetic interactive solo performance about happiness, and the way we move and are moved. A favourite at festivals across Spain, this is a performance that reflects on the commercialisation of human emotion, and is presented for free in the Great Hall of the Royal Exchange in Manchester.

Tickets and full listings are available now via www.flarefestival.com

 

Manchester Theatre Awards 2017

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The Royal Exchange will be celebrating tonight after taking home an impressive 10 awards, including best actress for Julie Hesmondhalgh for her role in Wit and best actor for Daniel Rigby in Breaking the Code which also won best production. There was an impressive three awards for Wish List including best studio production, and best actress and actor in a studio production, won by Erin Doherty and Joseph Quinn. Sweet Charity also saw success with Daniel Crossley winning best actor in a supporting role and the production winning best musical.

It was double celebrations for Julie Hesmondhalgh as collectivly with Rebakah Harrison & Grant Archer they won The Stage Door Foundation Award for Excellence for their political theatre collective, Take Back Theatre.

There was success for the Lowry with five productions taking awards including Rufus Hound winning best actor in a visiting production for The Wind In The Willows, best special entertainment going to The Peony Pavillion, Aoife Duffin took best actress in a visiting producion for A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing, best opera went to Opera North’s Andrea Cheinier and best visiting production was won by The James Plays.

Home, where the awards were held won two awards including best new play and best newcomer for Norah Lopez Holden in Ghosts.

There were two awards for Hope Mill Theatre, The Trail which won best fringe production plus a hugely popular special recognition award for Joseph Houston and William Whelton, founders of Hope Mill Theatre.

Another popular winner was the Octagon theatre Bolton whose production of Singin’ in the Rain took home the awards for best design and best ensemble plus the young “Scout” cast were joint young newcomers along with the young “Michael” cast from Billy Elliot at the Palace Theatre, the latter providing one of the greatest speeches of the afternoon.

The 2017 winners in full

Best fringe performance
Joyce Branagh, Boomtown Gals

Best fringe production
The Trial, Hope Mill Theatre

Best musical
Sweet Charity, Royal Exchange

Best special entertainment
The Peony Pavilion, the Lowry

Best Dance
Akram Khan’s Giselle, Palace Theatre

Best actor in a studio production
Joseph Quinn for Wish List, Royal Exchange Studio

Best actress in a studio production
Erin Doherty for Wish List, Royal Exchange Studio

The Stage Door Foundation award for excellence
Take Back Theatre Collective

Best visiting production
The James Plays, the Lowry

Youth panel award
Nothing, Royal Exchange Theatre Young Company

Best opera
Andrea Chenier, Opera North at the Lowry

Best newcomer
Norah Lopez Holden for Ghosts, Home

Best young newcomers
Samuel Torpey, Henry Harmer and Elliot Stiff for Billy Elliot
Jasmine de Goede and Lucy Doyle Ryder for To Kill a Mockingbird

Best new play
The Emperor, Home

Best supporting actress
Natalie Dew for Breaking the Code, Royal Exchange

Best supporting actor
Daniel Crossley for Sweet Charity, Royal Exchange

Best actor in a visiting production
Rufus Hound for Wind in the Willows, the Lowry

Best actress in a visiting production
Aoife Duffin for A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing, the Lowry

Best design
Singin’ in the Rain, Octagon Theatre

Best studio production
Wish List, Royal Exchange

Best ensemble
Singin’ in the Rain, Octagon Theatre

Best actress
Julie Hesmondhalgh for Wit, Royal Exchange

Best actor
Daniel Rigby for Breaking the Code, Royal Exchange

Best production
Breaking the Code, Royal Exchange

Special achievement award
Joseph Houston and William Whelton, founders of Hope Mill Theatre
Philip Radcliffe, critic and founder member of the Manchester Theatre Awards

Manchester Theatre Award Nominations Announced!

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Nearly 90 performers or productions have been chosen in more than 20 categories for the Manchester Theatre Awards, picked by a panel of 10 regional theatre critics.

The winners will be announced live on stage at a red carpet event at Manchester’s HOME venue on Friday March 17, hosted by comedian, actor – and playwright – Justin Moorhouse.

After watching more than 200 theatre performances throughout 2016 the MTA Panel has narrowed down a shortlist that honours everyone from established star names in main house productions, to complete newcomers.

In the past Manchester Theatre Awards have often gone to actors and actresses who go on to become household or even Hollywood names such as Andrew Garfield, so who knows what the future will hold for those who have been given the nod this year.

Leading the way this year is the Royal Exchange picking up a massive 20 nominations – a double celebration in what is their 40th anniversary year of bringing acclaimed productions to Manchester. This year’s categories for Best Actress and Best Production also see the Royal Exchange and the city’s shiny new HOME venue go head to head for the coveted trophies.

Great news for Manchester’s emergent Hope Mill Theatre making its mark on the award this year with a nomination in the Best Musical category for its regional premiere production of Parade. This brand new fringe venue, in an old mill in Ancoats, has staged several ambitious productions in 2016 and there is a wealth of exciting projects ahead for them in 2017.

One nominee Opening Night would love to see pick up a gong on the 17th March would be Lisa Maxwell who is nominated for Best Actress in a Visiting Production for her portrayal of Judy Garland in End of the Rainbow at the Opera House. Maxwell was mesmerizing at the Hollywood musical star in her later tragic years and it would be great to see her get the acclaim she deserves for the role.

All nominees are invited to the awards event and if you are a fan of the theatre and want to go along on the day you can get a ticket via the HOME website www.homemcr.org or by calling 0161 200 1500. Tickets are priced at £15.

See you there!

Manchester Theatre Award nominations in full…

Best Actor

Rob Edwards, To Kill A Mockingbird, Octagon Theatre, Bolton

David Neilson, Endgame, HOME, Manchester

Daniel Rigby, Breaking The Code, Royal Exchange, Manchester

Don Warrington, King Lear, Royal Exchange

 

Best Actress

Niamh Cusack, Ghosts, HOME

Kaisa Hammarlund, Sweet Charity, Royal Exchange

Julie Hesmondhalgh, Wit, Royal Exchange

Kathryn Hunter, The Emperor, HOME

 

Best Production

Breaking The Code, Royal Exchange

Ghosts, HOME

The Emperor, HOME

Wit, Royal Exchange

 

Best Supporting Actor

Daniel Crossley, Sweet Charity, Royal Exchange

Raad Rawi, Breaking The Code, Royal Exchange

Marc Small, To Kill A Mockingbird, Octagon Theatre

Miltos Yerolemou, King Lear, Royal Exchange

 

Best Supporting Actress

Natalie Dew, Breaking The Code, Royal Exchange

Sharon Duncan-Brewster, A Streetcar Named Desire, Royal Exchange

Natalie Grady, Martha Josie and the Chinese Elvis, Octagon Theatre

Amy Nuttall, The Winter’s Tale, Octagon Theatre

 

Best Visiting Production

946 – The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tipps, HOME

A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, Lowry, Salford

Love’s Labour’s Lost / Much Ado About Nothing, Opera House

The Encounter, HOME

The James Plays, Lowry

 

Best Actor in a Visiting Production

Edward Bennett, Love’s Labour’s Lost / Much Ado About Nothing, Opera House

Rufus Hound, The Wind in the Willows, The Lowry

Simon McBurney, The Encounter, HOME

Michael Pennington, King Lear, Opera House

 

Best Actress in a Visiting Production

Lisa Dillon, Love’s Labour’s Lost / Much Ado About Nothing, Opera House

Aoife Duffin, A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing, Lowry

Lisa Maxwell, End Of The Rainbow, Opera House

Zizi Strallen, Mary Poppins, Palace

 

Best Newcomer

Daisy Badger, Look Back In Anger, Octagon Theatre

Ben Hunter, The Girls, Lowry

Norah Lopez Holden, Ghosts, HOME

Kirsty Rider, Pride And Prejudice, Lowry

Holly Willock, The Wind In The Willows, Lowry

Young “Michael” cast, Billy Elliot, Palace

Young “Scout” cast, To Kill A Mockingbird, Octagon Theatre

 

Best Opera

Andrea Chénier, Opera North, Lowry

Billy Budd, Opera North, Lowry

Don Giovanni, ETO, Buxton Opera House

Tamerlano, Buxton Festival, Buxton Opera House

 

The Robert Robson Award for Best Dance

Akram Khan’s Giselle, Palace

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Lowry

Nederlands Dans Theater 2, Lowry

The Red Shoes, Lowry

 

Best Musical

Billy Elliot, Palace

Parade, Hope Mill Theatre

Singin’ in the Rain, Octagon Theatre

Sweet Charity, Royal Exchange

The Wind in the Willows, Lowry

 

Best Fringe Production

 Boomtown Gals, Various venues

Die Diana, Bandit, Mugger and Thief, Manchester

Multi Story, Monkeywood, Various venues

The Trial, Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester

 

Best Fringe Performance

Joyce Branagh, Boomtown Gals, Various venues

Sam Grogan, Waiting Room, King’s Arms, Salford

William J Holstead, The Trial, Hope Mill Theatre

Leanne Martin, The Brink, King’s Arms

 

Best Studio Production

 Dirty Pakistani Lingerie, Lowry

Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons, HOME

The Solid Life Of Sugar Water, Royal Exchange

Wish List, Royal Exchange

 

Best Actor in a Studio Production

 Alexander Gatehouse, Ventoux, Lowry

Joseph Quinn, Wish List, Royal Exchange Studio

Rex Ryan, Pilgrim, Lowry

 

Best Actress in a Studio Production

 Erin Doherty, Wish List, Royal Exchange Studio

Sarah Emmott, Declaration, Lowry

Georgia Henshaw, Bird, Royal Exchange Studio

Molly Vevers, Ross and Rachel, Lowry

 

Best New Play

A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer, HOME

Bird, Royal Exchange Studio

The Emperor, HOME

Wish List, Royal Exchange Studio

 

Best Design

Endgame, HOME

La Vie Parisienne, Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester

Singin’ In The Rain, Octagon Theatre

The Pitmen Painters, Coliseum, Oldham

 

Best Ensemble

946 – The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tipps, HOME

Singin’ In The Rain, Octagon Theatre

The Pitmen Painters, Coliseum

The James Plays, Lowry

 

Best Special Entertainment

An Anatomie In Four Quarters, Lowry

Cirque du Soleil – Amaluna, Trafford Centre

Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring, Old Granada Studios

The Peony Pavillion, Lowry

 

Youth Panel Award

NOTHING – The Royal Exchange Theatre Young Company

The Secret Garden – Octagon Youth Theatre

The Factory – The Royal Exchange Theatre Young Company

The Siege of Christmas – Contact Youth Company with Swung Low