Theatres across the Greater Manchester area go head to head in the annual Manchester Theatre Awards shortlist which is announced today.  Winners will be revealed on March 4 at a celebrity event, to be held this year at the city’s new HOME venue. Tickets for the occasion go on sale next week.

Today sees the announcement of the nominations across 20 categories, chosen by a panel of 10 of the region’s leading theatre critics. For the second year there is also a Youth Panel award, chosen by a team of young city theatre enthusiasts.

Yet again 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. But it is Salford’s Lowry that is already out in front with 16 nominations across a range of categories.

Among several famous names shortlisted for awards are stage and TV actress Maxine Peake - a previous winner - who this time is nominated as Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in The Skriker, performed at the Royal Exchange as part of last summer’s Manchester International Festival. Her own play Beryl, about the life of unsung champion cyclist Beryl Burton, is also nominated as Best New Play and Best Visiting Production, at the Lowry.

The city’s Opera House and Palace Theatre venues share the nominations for Best Musical with several of the shortlisted shows again making their premiere here, as part of Ambassador Theatre Group’s Manchester Gets It First policy.  Michael Ball, who starred in Mack & Mabel at the Opera House, is also nominated as Best Actor in a Visiting Production, while Lucy O’Byrne – the former theatre usher who last year was runner-up on TV’s The Voice – is on the shortlist for her role as Maria in The Sound of Music at The Lowry.

Other awards cover nominations for dance and opera performances and there are four nominations in the coveted Best Production category – nearly all of them homegrown in Greater Manchester.  Similarly the city’s highly-inventive fringe and studio theatre scenes are honored across four categories.

All the nominees are invited to the awards ceremony on March 4 as well as celebrity guests who present the coveted glass trophies. A limited number of audience tickets are also available.

Manchester Theatre Award Nominations

Actor In A Leading Role

Colin Connor in A View From The Bridge at Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Rob Edwards in An Enemy Of The People at Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Jonjo O’Neill in The Crucible at the Royal Exchange

Sam Swann in Pomona at the Royal Exchange

Actress In A Leading Role

Scarlett Brookes in Educating Rita at Oldham Coliseum

Barbara Drennan in A View From The Bridge and The Family Way at Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Kathryn Hunter in Kafka’s Monkey at HOME

Maxine Peake in The Skriker at the Royal Exchange

Actor In A Supporting Role

David Birrell in An Enemy Of The People at Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Ben Porter in Boeing Boeing at Oldham Coliseum

David Nabil Stuart in A View From The Bridge at Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Tim Steed in The Crucible at the Royal Exchange

Actress In A Supporting Role

Natasha Davidson in A View From The Bridge at Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Lauren Drummond in The Ancient Secret of Youth and the Five Tibetans at Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Anna Wheatley in The Family Way at Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Ria Zmitrowicz in The Crucible at the Royal Exchange

Actor in a Visiting Production

Joe Armstrong in Constellations at The Lowry

Michael Ball in Mack and Mabel at the Opera House

Finetime Fontayne in King Lear at The Lowry

Dominic Marsh in Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other Love Songs) at HOME

Actress in a Visiting Production

Louise Brealey in Constellations at The Lowry

Debbie Kurup in Anything Goes at the Opera House

Lucy O’Byrne in The Sound of Music at The Lowry

Sophie Thompson in Guys And Dolls at the Palace Theatre

Performance in a Studio Production

Alex Austin in Yen at the Royal Exchange Studio

Carla Langley in Cuddles at the Royal Exchange Studio

Sian Reese-Williams in Lungs at The Roundabout at The Lowry

Abdul Salis in Lungs at The Roundabout at The Lowry

Performance in a Fringe Production

Ben Bland in Grass at Mumps shop, Oldham

Heather Carroll in Raw at Joshua Brooks

Colin Connor in Mr. Smith at the Kings Arms, Salford

Jeni Howarth-Williams in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at the Kings Arms, Salford

Ensemble

Dreamers at Oldham Coliseum

Noises Off at Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Lord of the Flies at The Lowry

Street Scene at the Royal Northern College Of Music

Production

Educating Rita, directed by Iqbal Khan at Oldham Coliseum

An Enemy of the People, directed by David Thacker at Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Rites, directed by Cora Bissett and Yusra Warsama at Contact

A View From The Bridge, directed by David Thacker at Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Visiting Production

Beryl from West Yorkshire Playhouse at The Lowry

Constellations from the Royal Court Theatre at The Lowry

John from DV8 Physical Theatre at The Lowry

Twelve Angry Men from Bill Kenwright at The Lowry

Studio Production

Cuddles at the Royal Exchange Studio

Light at the Lowry Studio

Lungs at The Roundabout at The Lowry

So Here We Are at the Royal Exchange Studio

Fringe Production

Mr. Smith at the Kings Arms, Salford

Parents Without Children at the Three Minute Theatre

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at the Kings Arms, Salford

We Are The Multitude at 24:7 Theatre Festival

Musical

Anything Goes at the Opera House

The Bodyguard - The Musical at the Palace Theatre

Guys And Dolls at the Palace Theatre

Mack & Mabel at the Opera House

Dance

1984 from Northern Ballet at the Palace Theatre

Flex’N Manchester for Manchester International Festival at Old Granada Studios

Lest We Forget from English National Ballet at the Palace Theatre 

Tree Of Codes for Manchester International Festival at the Opera House

Opera

Cosi Fan Tutte at Clonter Opera Theatre

Giovanna dArco for Buxton Festival at Buxton Opera House

The Marriage of Figaro from Opera North at The Lowry

A Midsummer Night's Dream at Royal Northern College Of Music

Design

Inkheart at HOME

Moominland Midwinter at Waterside Arts Centre, Sale

The Oresteia at HOME

Tree Of Codes at the Opera House

New Play

Beryl by Maxine Peake at The Lowry

Nirbhaya by Yael Farber at Oldham Coliseum and Contact

The Rolling Stone by Chris Urch at the Royal Exchange

So Here We Are by Luke Norris at the Royal Exchange Studio

Special Entertainment

Inala - A Zulu Ballet, at the Palace Theatre

Ultima Vez, at The Lowry

Bridging the Gap, The Gap Theatre Project at Halle St. Peters

Moominland Midwinter, at Waterside Arts Centre, Sale

Youth Panel Award

On The Town, from RNCM Youth Perform at the Royal Northern College of Music

The Shrine of Everyday Things, from Contact Young Company at Contact

TaY Talks, from Truth about Youth at the Royal Exchange

The Wardrobe, from Octagon Youth Theatre at Octagon Theatre, Bolton

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