Nominations are announced today for the 2005 TMA Theatre Awards. Presented by the Theatrical Management Association, the TMA Awards, unlike most of the UK's prizes for theatre, do not focus on London and the West End. They are the only nationwide awards for excellence in regional theatre.

Chichester Festival’s revival of Frank Loesser’s How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (pictured) leads this year’s race with a total of five nominations – including Best Musical and two contenders apiece for both Best Performance in a Musical (Joe McFadden and Annette McLaughlin) and Best Supporting Performance in a Musical (James Bolam and Beverley Klein).

Two other musicals – the Watermill’s revival of Mack and Mabel and Manchester Royal Exchange’s premiere of Sex, Chips and Rock 'n' Roll - are up for two awards apiece. Both are vying, along with the Chichester production, for Best Musical, while Mack and Mabel Anna Jane-Casey is up for Best Performance in a Musical and Sex, Chips and Rock 'n' Roll Tracie Bennett is up for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical.

Other stars in awards contention are Tamzin Outhwaite, Ian McDiarmid, Josette Bushell-Mingo and Best Director candidates Michael Grandage, Jonathan Kent and Edward Hall. The 2005 awards presentation - which will be hosted by actress Nichola McAuliffe – will be held on Sunday 23 October 2005 at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre. In considering this year's 12 awards categories, more than 1,000 productions were seen by the panel of some 150 regular theatregoers from across the country. The 2005 judging year ran from 1 September 2004 to 31 August 2005.

The Theatrical Management Association is a trade association that represents over 300 member organisations involved in the creation, presentation and management of professional theatre, opera and dance in the UK. Its annual awards were established in 1990. The TMA Awards were formerly known as the Barclays Awards, in honour of the high street banking group whose lead sponsorship ended three years ago. This year’s awards categories have been reorganised. A separate awards, the TMA Management Awards, highlighting best practice in venue programming, marketing and customer services, have also been initiated, with a separate ceremony taking place in London on 17 November 2005.

- by Terri Paddock

The full list of 2005 TMA Theatre Awards nominations is as follows:

BEST PERFORMANCE IN A PLAY - Josette Bushell-Mingo for the Royal Exchange Theatre Company’s ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA; Tony Cownie for A MADMAN SINGS TO THE MOON at the Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh; and Ian McDiarmid for LEAR at the Sheffield Crucible.

BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE IN A PLAY - Jimmy Akingbola for BLUE/ORANGE at the Sheffield Crucible; Steven McNicoll for LOOK BACK IN ANGER at Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh; and Tamzin Outhwaite for BREATHING CORPSES at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs.

BEST PERFORMANCE IN A MUSICAL - Anna-Jane Casey for MACK AND MABEL at the Watermill, Newbury; Joe McFadden for HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING at Chichester Festival Theatre; and Annette McLaughlin for HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING at Chichester Festival Theatre.

BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE IN A MUSICAL - Tracie Bennett for SEX, CHIPS & ROCK ‘N’ ROLL at the Manchester Royal Exchange; James Bolam for HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING at the Chichester Festival Theatre; and Beverly Klein for HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING at the Chichester Festival Theatre.

BEST DIRECTOR - Michael Grandage for DON CARLOS at the Sheffield Crucible; Edward Hall for THE WINTER’S TALE at the Watermill, Newbury and on tour; and Jonathan Kent for LEAR at the Sheffield Crucible.

BEST TOURING PRODUCTION - Cirque Éloize’s RAIN; THE BACCHAE, Kneehigh Theatre with West Yorkshire Playhouse, Lyric Theatre Hammersmith, Bristol Old Vic and Hall for Cornwall; and Oxford Stage Company’s HOME.

BEST MUSICAL - HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING at the Chichester Festival Theatre; MACK AND MABEL at the Watermill Theatre, Newbury; and SEX, CHIPS & ROCK ‘N’ ROLL by Debbie Horsfield and Hereward Kaye at the Manchester Royal Exchange.

BEST NEW PLAY - BASHMENT by Rikki Beadle–Blair at Theatre Royal, Stratford East; and PYRENEES by David Greig, Tron Theatre Company and Paines Plough in association with Watford Palace; and Out of Joint and Royal Court’s TALKING TO TERRORISTS by Robin Soans on tour.

BEST DESIGN - DAVID COPPERFIELD, set design by Simon Higlett at West Yorkshire Playhouse; FAUSTUS, set design by Laura Hopkins at Northampton Theatre Royal; and INSIGNIFICANCE, set design by Tom Piper at Sheffield Lyceum.


ACHIEVEMENT IN OPERA - GIULIO CESARE at Glyndebourne; Scottish Opera for a courageous season; and the partnership of Vladimir Jurowski and Richard Jones for Welsh National Opera’s WOZZECK.

ACHIEVEMENT IN DANCE - Birmingham Royal Ballet for a stimulating range of programming throughout the year, particularly on its split tours; Mark Baldwin for the creation of CONSTANT SPEED and the high calibre of his artistic directorship of Rambert Dance Company; and Matthew Bourne for his touring work and the impact it has had on public expectations of dance nationwide.