The Manchester Theatre Awards, 2012 have been announced with the Royal Exchange scooping five prizes, including one for local actress - Maxine Peake in Miss Julie

Among the other winners were Christopher Ravenscroft, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Ray Fearon and Sian Phillips. But there were also many more players from the city's rich theatre tradition and its equally vibrant fringe and studio scene

With 80 nominations in 19 categories, honouring achievements in live theatre at venues including The Lowry, The Manchester Palace and Opera House, The Royal Exchange, Library Theatre, Bolton Octagon, Oldham Coliseum and Buxton Opera House, as well as several fringe theatres and pub venues.

The MTAs are chosen by a panel of nine independent regional theatre critics and the ceremony enjoys the support of several media partners, Manchester City Council, and leading figures in the city’s arts and business communities

The panel attend scores of productions throughout the region each year and this time shortlisted 19 categories, ranging across drama, opera, musical theatre and dance. A special award was also presented to Porl Cooper, formerly of the Lowry's Studio space.

Appointed originally to programme small-scale theatre productions into a studio used for workshops, conferences and stand-up comedy, Porl turned the space into one of the leading fringe theatre venues and development opportunities for new work and new artists in the north west.

The full winners list:

Best Production
Wonderful Town, for Royal Exchange/The Halle/Lowry, at the Lowry

Best Visiting Production
Julius Caesar, Royal Shakespeare Company, The Lowry

Best Studio Production
Black Roses, Royal Exchange Studio

Best Musical
The Lion King, Palace

Best New Play
Snookered, by Ishy Din, Oldham Coliseum

Best Fringe
All the Bens, 24:7 Theatre Festival

Opera
Don Giovanni, Opera North, The Lowry

Dance
Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty, New Adventures Production, The Lowry

Best Special Entertainment
Star Cross’d, for Oldham Coliseum

Best Actor
Christopher Ravenscroft, in The Winslow Boy, at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Best Actress
Maxine Peake, in Miss Julie, at the Royal Exchange

Best Supporting Actor
Christopher Villiers, in The Winslow Boy at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Best Supporting Actress
Natalie Grady, in The Daughter-in-Law, for the Library Theatre at the Lowry

Best Actor in a Visiting Production
Ray Fearon, in Julius Caesar, at The Lowry

Best Actress in a Visiting Production
Sian Phillips, in Cabaret, at The Lowry

Best Performance in a Studio Production
Julie Hesmondhalgh, Black Roses, Royal Exchange Studio

Best Ensemble
Arabian Nights, Library Theatre

Best Newcomer
Tamla Kari, Saturday Night And Sunday Morning, Royal Exchange

Best Design
Wonderful Town, The Lowry

Special Award
Porl Cooper, formerly of the Lowry Studio

For more information see www.manchestertheatreawards.com