Winners Announced for Manchester's 2005 AwardsDate: 7 December 2005
At a ceremony held yesterday in Manchester, the Manchester Evening News announced the winners for this year's MEN Theatre Awards. The 'Oliviers of the North', now in their 24th year, were presented by comedian Julian Clary at the City's Crowne Plaza Midland Hotel.
Across more than 20 categories, the MEN Awards encompass both locally produced productions and those visiting the Manchester area (See News, 15 Nov 2005, for full MEN nomination shortlists).
The awards haul is fairly evenly spread out between Manchester’s leading theatrical venues, with the Royal Exchange and the Library Theatre each scooping two trophies, and Salford Quays-based The Lowry gaining three for its in-house and visiting productions.
The National Theatre also received three accolades, one for its touring production of My Fair Lady (produced by Cameron Mackintosh) winning Best Musical and two for Simon Stephens’ On the Shore of the Wide World, co-produced with the Royal Exchange, gaining the title of Best New Play. The latter, which transferred to the NT Cottesloe after its premiere in Manchester, earned the Best Actress in a Leading Role award for Siobhan Finneran as well as the prize for Best New Play. The piece has also just been nominated for Best New Play in Whatsonstage.com’s Theatregoers’ Choice Awards (click here to vote now!).
Another London-based subsidised theatre, the Donmar Warehouse, also scooped two awards for its premiere production of Neil LaBute’s three-hander This Is How It Goes: Best Visiting Production and Best Actor in a Visiting Production for Ben Chaplin.
Other productions that scored multiple wins were the Royal Exchange’s revival of Arthur Miller’s The Price (Best Actor in a Leading Role for Rolf Saxon and Best Actor in a Supporting Role for David Fleeshman) and Bolton Octagon’s staging of Martin McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane (Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Eileen O'Brien and Best Production).
Playwright Simon Stephens, whose On the Shore of the Wide World won Best New Play, said: "It means a massive amount to me to be recognised as a writer in my home town. Manchester's playwriting culture is thriving at the moment. The direction taken by the Royal Exchange and Contact Theatres in particular in pushing and supporting new writing is impressive and exciting. It is thrilling to be at the heart of that culture. The award is as big a tribute to the faith the Royal Exchange and the National Theatres have had in me, particularly the faith of Sarah Frankcom, as it is any testament to my work."
The Manchester Evening News 2005 award winners are:
BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE - Siobhan Finneran for On the Shore of the Wide World at the Royal Exchange
BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE - Rolf Saxon for The Price at the Library Theatre
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE - Eileen O'Brien for The Beauty Queen of Leenane at Bolton
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE - David Fleeshman for The Price at the Library Theatre
BEST ACTRESS IN A VISITING PRODUCTION - Seroca Davis for Little Sweet Thing at Contact
BEST ACTOR IN A VISITING PRODUCTION - Ben Chaplin for This Is How It Goes at The Lowry
BEST FRINGE PERFORMER - Jenni Howarth-Williams for Salford Stuffers at Studio Salford
BEST MUSICAL - My Fair Lady at the Palace Theatre
BEST VISITING PRODUCTION - This Is How It Goes from the Donmar Warehouse at The Lowry
BEST FRINGE PRODUCTION - Moving Pictures from MediaMedea at the 24/7 Theatre Festival
BEST SPECIAL ENTERTAINMENT - Macbeth from Out of Joint Theatre Company at Union Mill and Vulcan Works Paperworld
COMEDY AWARD - Little Britain Live at the Manchester Apollo
BEST DESIGN - Beautiful Thing at Bolton Octagon
BEST INTERNATIONAL PRODUCTION - Saltimbanco from Cirque du Soleil at the Trafford Centre
BEST NEW PLAY - On the Shore of the Wide World by Simon Stephens at the Royal Exchange
OPERA AWARD - La Cenerentola at the Royal Northern College of Music
DANCE AWARD - CandoCo at Contact
MOST PROMISING NEWCOMER - Oliver Lee for Beautiful Thing at Bolton Octagon
BEST PRODUCTION - The Beauty Queen Of Leenane at Bolton Octagon
BEST STUDIO PRODUCTION - Iron at Contact
BEST PERFORMANCE IN A STUDIO PRODUCTION - Alexander Campbell for Private Peaceful at The Lowry
- by Caroline Ansdell