The Octagon Theatre, Bolton, has won four of the 17 annual awards – Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best New Play and the highly-coveted Best Production. Their artistic director David Thacker put his indelible stamp on a succession of productions, ranging from new plays to classics of modern theatre, and – in one of the latter – helped his wife Margot Leicester pick up the Best Actress award.
Another of his productions, Arthur Miller’s The Price saw all four cast members nominated in four separate categories, while the play itself was winner of Best Production.
At the other end of the scale, The Lowry in Salford, unsurprisingly maintained its dominance as the region’s production powerhouse with six top awards, ranging across opera, ballet, major touring productions, a star-studded world premiere and a tiny studio performance.
At the heart of a city proud of its theatre heritage, the Royal Exchange again proved it can more than hold its own with a Best Supporting Actress award in a startling new play that stemmed from the venue’s unique Bruntwood playwriting challenge, as well as Best Actor and Best Newcomer awards.
The contribution that he has made to this outstanding venue is recognised in a special award to outgoing artistic director Braham Murray.
Ghost The Musical - another world premiere, won Manchester Opera House two awards, and the creativity of adapting the Dickens’ classic Hard Times to its performance inside a disused cotton mill won the Manchester Library Theatre design award.
The full list of winners from the 2011 Manchester Theatre Awards is as follows:
The Price, directed by David Thacker for the Octagon Theatre, Bolton
Con O'Neill, in A View From The Bridge at the Royal Exchange
Margot Leicester, in Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Kenneth Alan Taylor, in The Price at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Shannon Tarbet, in Mogadishu at the Royal Exchange
BEST NEW PLAY
Secret Thoughts, by David Lodge at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton
Matthew Tennyson, in Beautiful Thing at the Royal Exchange
BEST STUDIO PERFORMANCE
Matthew Ganley, in God Wept And The Devil Laughed at The Lowry Studio
BEST OF THE FRINGE
Sherica, from Balloon Head and Shred Productions at the 24:7 Festival
Hard Times, design Judith Croft; light Nick Richings; sound Peter Rice, Library Theatre at Murrays’ Mills, Manchester
Ghost The Musical, at the Opera House
BEST VISITING PRODUCTION
One Man, Two Guvnors, from the National Theatre at The Lowry
BEST ACTOR IN A VISITING PRODUCTION
Rory Kinnear, in Hamlet, from the National Theatre at The Lowry
BEST ACTRESS IN A VISITING PRODUCTION
Sharon D Clarke, in Ghost the Musical at the Opera House
BEST SPECIAL ENTERTAINMENT
The Life And Death Of Marina Abramovic, for Manchester International Festival at The Lowry
The Portrait, from Opera North at The Lowry
Cinderella, from Birmingham Royal Ballet at The Lowry
SPECIAL AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO THEATRE IN THE NORTH WEST
Braham Murray, artistic director Manchester Royal Exchange