Nominations have now been announced for the 2006 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.

Sheffield Theatres lead this year’s race with a total of four nominations – two for the Crucible, one for the Lyceum and one for the Studio – including two nominations for Best Supporting Performance in a Play (Tom Brooke for The Long and the Short and the Tall and Ray Panthaki for Gladiator Games), Best Performance in a Musical for the company of Assassins and Best Design by Robert Innes Hopkins for Promises Promises. Meanwhile, West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds garnered two nominations, for Nicole Faraday as Best Supporting Performance in a Musical in Bad Girls the Musical and Laura Hopkins for Best Design for Jerusalem.

Elsewhere, despite religious protests at some venues, Jerry Springer the Opera has been nominated for best touring production, along with ATC’s A Brief History of Helen of Troy and Kneehigh’s Tristan and Yseult, while the Watermill’s Hot Mikado is up against Derby’s Into the Woods and Road to Nowhere at the Lyric Hammersmith for Best Musical.

Greg Hicks has been nominated for Best Performance in a Play for Tamburlaine at Bristol Old Vic, alongside Jenny Ogilvie for the Royal Exchange Theatre Company’s What Every Woman Knows and Daniel Weyman for Nicholas Nickleby at Chichester Festival Theatre.

The 2006 awards presentation - which will be hosted by playwright and actor Kwame Kwei-Armah – will be held on Sunday 15 October 2006 at Hampstead 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 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. A separate set of awards, the TMA Management Awards, highlighting best practice in venue programming, marketing and customer services, were initiated in 2005, with a separate ceremony taking place in London on 8 November 2006.

- by Caroline Ansdell

The full list of 2006 TMA Theatre Awards nominations are as follows:

Best Performance in a Play - Greg Hicks for TAMBURLAINE at Bristol Old Vic; Jenny Ogilvie for the Royal Exchange Theatre Company’s WHAT EVERY WOMAN KNOWS; Daniel Weyman for NICHOLAS NICKLEBY at the Festival Theatre, Chichester.

Best Supporting Performance in a Play - Tom Brooke for THE LONG AND THE SHORT AND THE TALL at the Lyceum, Sheffield; Michael Harding for HAMLET at the Lyric, Belfast; Ray Panthaki for GLADIATOR GAMES at the Crucible, Sheffield.

Best Performance in a Musical - The Company of ASSASSINS at the Crucible, Sheffield ; Junix Inocian for PACIFIC OVERTURES at the Haymarket Theatre, Leicester; Ria Jones for ANYTHING GOES on tour.

Best Supporting Performance in a Musical - Nicole Faraday for BAD GIRLS THE MUSICAL at West Yorkshire Playhouse; Harriet Thorpe for SWEENEY TODD on tour; Rachel Tucker for MERRY CHRISTMAS BETTY FORD at the Lyric, Belfast.

Best Director - Lucy Pitman-Wallace for THE BURIAL AT THEBES at Nottingham Playhouse; Nina Raine for UNPROTECTED at the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool; Gregory Thompson for MOLLY SWEENEY at the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow.


Best New Play - DYING CITY by Christopher Shinn at the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs at the Royal Court; RUBINSTEIN KISS by James Phillips at Hampstead Theatre; UP ON ROOF by Richard Bean at Hull Truck.

Best Musical - HOT MIKADO at the Watermill Theatre, Newbury; INTO THE WOODS at Derby Playhouse; ROAD TO NOWHERE at the Lyric Hammersmith.

Best Design - Laura Hopkins for JERUSALEM at West Yorkshire Playhouse; Robert Innes Hopkins for PROMISE, PROMISES at the Crucible, Sheffield; Matthew Wright for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s SPEAKING LIKE MAGPIES.

Best Show for Children & Young People - KATIE MORAG STORIES at Mull Theatre; Birmingham Stage Company’s KENSUKES KINGDOM on tour; National Theatre of Scotland’s WOLVES IN THE WALLS on tour.

Achievement in Opera - Richard Farnes for his musical leadership of Opera North; Glyndebourne Productions for exceptionally strong revivals of A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM, FIDELIO and GIULIO CESARE; Welsh National Opera’s MAZEPPA.

Achievement in Dance - LES BALLETS TROCKADERO DE MONTE CARLO for their hilarious blend of low comedy and high glamour that lampoons and celebrates the golden age of classical ballet; Birmingham Royal Ballet’s THE FIREBIRD, a fairytale masterpiece brought alive in music and dancing of captivating quality; The flamenco guitar legend Paco Pea for A COMPS!, a mesmerising evening of music and dance delivered by artists of exceptional skill.