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2016 Manchester Theatre Awards - the nominations

PUBLISHED: 13:16 27 February 2017 | UPDATED: 13:16 27 February 2017

Don Warrington as King Lear and Miltos Yerolemou (The Fool) in King Lear at the Royal Exchange Theatre. Photo by Jonathan Keenan

Don Warrington as King Lear and Miltos Yerolemou (The Fool) in King Lear at the Royal Exchange Theatre. Photo by Jonathan Keenan

©Jonathan Keenan

It’s the time of the year for opening gold envelopes while nervous thespians look on, writes David Upton.

The Wind in the Willows, The Lowry, SalfordThe Wind in the Willows, The Lowry, Salford

One of Manchester’s landmark theatres now has even more reason to celebrate.

In the midst of its 40th anniversary year the Royal Exchange has picked up nearly 20 nominations in the annual Manchester Theatre Awards.

It’s an achievement that crowns a year of success with many of its productions receiving national acclaim or breaking box office records.

Now attention focuses on the awards event itself, when the winners in 21 categories will be announced live on stage in a glittering event at Manchester’s HOME venue on Friday March 17. Nearly 90 performers or productions have been nominated by a panel of 10 judges, all leading regional theatre critics.

Kaisa Hammarlund in Sweet Charity at Manchester Royal Exchange, Photo by Richard DavenportKaisa Hammarlund in Sweet Charity at Manchester Royal Exchange, Photo by Richard Davenport

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, several of them featuring in the city’s burgeoning studio and fringe venues.

In the past Manchester theatre awards have often gone to actors and actresses who go on to become household or even Hollywood names - Kate Winslet, Andy Serkis and Andrew Garfield amongst them. Many performers feature the awards in their theatrical CV.

This year’s categories for Best Actress and the coveted Best Production proved particularly difficult to narrow down and in the event it is the Royal Exchange and the city’s shiny new HOME venue that go head to head for the trophies.

Likewise Best Musical has been a crowded category with, eventually, five nominations ranging from the brand-new Wind in the Willows at the Lowry, and the city’s first glimpse of West End hit Billy Elliot at the Palace, to spirited revivals of Singin’ in the Rain at Bolton’s Octagon and Sweet Charity at the Exchange. Manchester’s emergent Hope Mill Theatre muscles in with its regional premiere production of Parade. This brand new fringe venue, in an old mill in Ancoats, has staged several ambitious productions this year.

For the Best Newcomer award five new faces will be up against two teams of juvenile actors and actresses who performed, respectively, the part of ‘Michael’ in Billy Elliot, or ‘Scout’ in To Kill a Mockingbird, at the Octagon in Bolton.

All nominees are invited to the awards event. Visit the awards website to see the full list of nominees and public tickets are also available at www.homemcr.org

Cheshire Life and Lancashire Life magazines are the media sponsor for the awards and will feature coverage of the event in a subsequent issue.

For the full list of nominees visit: www.manchestertheatreawards.com

THE 2016 SHORTLISTS

Best Actor

Rob Edwards, To Kill A Mockingbird, Octagon Theatre Bolton

David Nielson, 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 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 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 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 New Play

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

Bird, Royal Exchange Studio

The Emperor, HOME

Wish List, Royal Exchange Studio

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