Some of the biggest names in British and international theatre feature in the final nominations for the 2011 Manchester Theatre Awards, alongside fringe success from the region. There are 17 categories, ranging across drama, opera, musical theatre and dance.

The unique thing about the MTAs is that whether it is a big budget production first seen at the city’s international festival, or a fringe theatre play performed upstairs at a local pub, all have been given careful consideration across the various categories.
 
The panel – made up of nine top regional critics including Whatsonstage.com writers Alan Hulme and Carmel Thomason - attend scores of productions throughout the region each year.  In the past they also spotted some of the rising stars who have gone on to major success on stage, or in Hollywood.
 
The awards, formerly the Manchester Evening New Theatre Awards have now been re-modelled and re-launched, attracting the backing of the region’s theatres, business leaders and many more.
 
The full nominations list:
 
OPERA
Albert Herring, Royal Northern College of Music
Gianni Schicchi, English Touring Opera, Buxton Opera House
Lucia di Lammermoor, Clonter Opera
The Portrait, Opera North, The Lowry
Utopia Ltd, Gilbert & Sullivan Festival, Buxton Opera House
 
DANCE
Carlos Acosta, The Lowry
Cinderella, Birmingham Royal Ballet, The Lowry
Danish Dance Theatre, Triple Bill, The Lowry
Richard Alston Dance Company, Triple Bill, The Lowry
 
DESIGN
Deathtrap - design Foxton; light Jane Barrek; sound Lorna Munden, Oldham Coliseum
The Demolition Man  - design James Cotterill; light Brent Lees; sound Andy Smith; projection design Joe Stathers-Tracey, Bolton Octagon
Hard Times - design Judith Croft; light Nick Richings; sound Peter Rice, Library Theatre at Murrays’ Mills, Manchester
Secret Thoughts - design/light Ciaran Bagnall; sound Andy Smith; projection design Joe Stathers-Tracey, Bolton Octagon
Stepping Out - design Foxton; light Thomas Weir; sound Lorna Munden, Oldham Coliseum
 
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Judith Barker in All The Way Home, Library Theatre at The Lowry
Tammy Joelle in Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?, Bolton Octagon
Suzan Sylvester in The Price, Bolton Octagon
Shannon Tarbet in Mogadishu, Royal Exchange
 
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
David Crellin in Hard Times, Library Theatre at Murrays’ Mills
Kieran Hill in Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?, Bolton Octagon
Pearce Quigley in Zack, Royal Exchange
Kenneth Alan Taylor in The Price, Bolton Octagon
 
BEST ACTOR
Rob Edwards in Secret Thoughts, Bolton Octagon
George Irving in Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?, Bolton Octagon
Con O’Neill in A View From The Bridge, Royal Exchange
James Simmons in Private Lives, Oldham Coliseum
 
BEST ACTRESS
Kate Coogan in Secret Thoughts, Bolton Octagon
Anna Francolini in A View From The Bridge, Royal Exchange
Cush Jumbo in As You Like It, Royal Exchange
Margot Leicester in Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?, Bolton Octagon
 
BEST PRODUCTION
Hard Times, directed by Chris Honer for the Library Theatre at Murrays’ Mills
The Price, directed by David Thacker for Bolton Octagon
Private Lives, directed by Robin Herford for Oldham Coliseum
Secret Thoughts, directed by David Thacker for Bolton Octagon
A View From The Bridge, directed by Sarah Frankcom, for the Royal Exchange
Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?, directed by David Thacker for Bolton Octagon
 
BEST MUSICAL
Avenue Q, The Lowry
Ghost The Musical, Opera House
Legally Blonde The Musical, Opera House
Spring Awakening, The Lowry
 
BEST ACTOR IN A VISITING PRODUCTION
Declan Conlon, Terminus, Abbey Theatre Dublin, at The Lowry
James Corden, One Man, Two Guvnors, National Theatre at The Lowry
Derek Jacobi, King Lear, The Donmar at The Lowry
Rory Kinnear, Hamlet, National Theatre at The Lowry
Richard Fleeshman, Ghost The Musical, Opera House
 
BEST ACTRESS IN A VISITING PRODUCTION
Faye Brookes, Legally Blonde The Musical, Opera House
Sharon D Clarke, Ghost The Musical, Opera House
Olwen Fouere, Terminus, Abbey Theatre Dublin, at The Lowry
Catherine Walker, Terminus, Abbey Theatre Dublin, at The Lowry
 
BEST VISITING PRODUCTION
Dancing At Lughnasa, The Original Theatre Company, Oldham Coliseum
Hamlet, National Theatre at The Lowry
King Lear, The Donmar, at The Lowry
One Man, Two Guvnors, National Theatre at The Lowry
 
BEST STUDIO PERFORMANCE
Matthew Ganley, God Wept And The Devil Laughed, Lowry Studio
Rad Kaim, Ivan and the Dogs, Lowry Studio
Amy Nostbakken, The Big Smoke, Lowry Studio
Sarah McDonald Hughes, Once In A House On Fire, Lowry Studio
Rosie Wyatt, Bunny, Royal Exchange Studio
 
BEST OF THE FRINGE
Lucia Cox, Blackbird, Salford Studio
JB Shorts season, Joshua Brooks Bar
Alex Moran, Hyde, Buxton Fringe Festival
Sherica, Balloon Head and Shred Productions, 24:7 Festival
True, Laal Marra Theatre Company, 24:7 Festival
 
BEST SPECIAL ENTERTAINMENT
Dr Dee, Manchester International Festival, Palace
The Crash Of The Elysium, Manchester International Festival, Media City
The Life And Death Of Marina Abramovic, Manchester International Festival, The Lowry
Midnight Tango, The Lowry
Dick Whittington, Oldham Coliseum
 
BEST NEW PLAY
Last Orders, by Sarah McDonald Hughes, Royal Exchange Studio and Library Replay season at Contact
Mogadishu, by Vivienne Franzmann, Royal Exchange
Once In A House On Fire, adapted for the stage by Sarah McDonald Hughes, from a memoir by Andrea Ashworth, The Lowry Studio
Secret Thoughts, by David Lodge, Bolton Octagon
 
BEST NEWCOMER
Zora Bishop, As You Like It, Royal Exchange
Harry Livingstone, The Glass Menagerie, Oldham Coliseum
Emma Matthews, Stepping Out, Oldham Coliseum
William Postlethwaite, As You Like it, Royal Exchange
Matthew Tennyson, Beautiful Thing, Royal Exchange

Best of luck to all of the nominees from everyone at Whatsonstage.com.