The Manchester Evening News has announced its list of nominees for this year's MEN Theatre Awards. Billed as the Oliviers of the North, the MEN Awards are now in their 24th year.

This year's awards feature nominations encompassing both visiting and local-area productions, across more than 20 different categories. Amongst the leading actors in contention are Fenella Woolgar, Desmond Barrit, Jerome Flynn, Maggie O'Brien, Georgia Taylor, David Fleeshman and Paul Webster, while productions with major nomination tallies include On the Shore of the Wide World, The Price, The History Boys, A Passage to India and This Is How It Goes.

Winners will be announced on Tuesday 6 December 2005 at a ceremony presented by Julian Clary and held at the City's Crowne Plaza Midland Hotel.


The full list of Manchester Evening News 2005 nominations is as follows:

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE - Siobhan Finneran in On the Shore of the Wide World at the Royal Exchange, Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Romeo and Juliet at the Royal Exchange, Maggie O'Brien in The Beauty Queen of Leenane at Bolton Octagon, Emma Pike in Proof at Oldham Coliseum.

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE - Peter Lindford in The Real Thing at the Library Theatre, Wyllie Longmore in I Just Stopped by to See the Man at Bolton Octagon, Rolf Saxon in The Price at the Library Theatre, Cameron Stewart in Larkin with Women at the Library Theatre, Nicholas Gleaves in On the Shore of the Wide World at the Royal Exchange.

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE - Cate Hamer in Larkin With Women at the Library Theatre, Eileen O'Brien in The Beauty Queen of Leenane at Bolton, Georgia Taylor in Christmas Is Miles Away at the Royal Exchange Studio.

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE - Andonis Anthony in Beautiful Thing at the Bolton Octagon, David Fleeshman in The Price at the Library Theatre, David Hargreaves in On the Shore of the Wide World at the Royal Exchange, Paul Webster in Proof at the Oldham Coliseum.

BEST ACTRESS IN A VISITING PRODUCTION - Seroca Davis in Little Sweet Thing at Contact, Novella Nelson in A Raisin in the Sun at The Lowry, Ksenia Rappoport in Uncle Vanya at The Lowry, Fenella Woolgar in A Passage to India at The Lowry.

BEST ACTOR IN A VISITING PRODUCTION - Desmond Barrit in The History Boys at The Lowry, Ben Chaplin in This Is How It Goes at The Lowry, the Cast of Hull Truck's Going Dutch at Bolton Octagon, Malcolm Storey in The Crucible at The Lowry.

BEST FRINGE PERFORMER - Jenni Howarth-Williams, in Salford Stuffers at Studio Salford, Martin Oldfield in Café Sinatra at Buxton Festival Fringe, Wee Stories in Arthur, The Story of a King at The Lowry.

BEST MUSICAL - My Fair Lady at the Palace Theatre, Sex, Chips & Rock & Roll at the Royal Exchange, Tommy at the Palace Theatre.

BEST VISITING PRODUCTION - The History Boys from the National Theatre at The Lowry, Little Sweet Thing from Eclipse Theatre at Contact, A Passage to India from Shared Experience and Nottingham Playhouse at The Lowry, The Pillowman from the National Theatre at The Lowry, This Is How It Goes from the Donmar Warehouse at The Lowry.

BEST FRINGE PRODUCTION - Café Sinatra at Buxton Festival Fringe, The Hanged Man from Raise Cain at the 24/7 Theatre Festival, Lear's Daughters at Buxton Festival Fringe, Moving Pictures from MediaMedea at the 24/7 Theatre Festival.

BEST SPECIAL ENTERTAINMENT - Garden of Delights from Manchester International Arts at Platt Fields, Horrible Histories: The Terrible Tudors/The Vile Victorians from the Birmingham Stage Company at The Lowry, Macbeth from Out of Joint Theatre Company at Union Mill and Vulcan Works Paperworld, Mim-I-Richi Clown Theatre at The Lowry

COMEDY AWARD - Jerome Flynn in Jus' Like That, at the Palace, The League of Gentlemen Are Behind You! at the Manchester Apollo, Little Britain Live at the Manchester Apollo, Round the Horne... Revisited at The Lowry.

BEST DESIGN - All the Ordinary Angels at the Royal Exchange, Beautiful Thing at Bolton Octagon, Merlin & the Cave of Dreams at the Library Theatre, The Wind in the Willows at Oldham Coliseum.

BEST INTERNATIONAL PRODUCTION - National Beijing Opera Company of China, at The Lowry, Saltimbanco from Cirque du Soleil at the Trafford Centre, Uncle Vanya from the Maly Drama Theatre of St Petersburg at The Lowry.

BEST NEW PLAY - Bubbysaurus by Catherine Kay at Contact, Crazy Lady by Nona Sheppard at Contact, On the Shore of the Wide World by Simon Stephens at the Royal Exchange, Smilin' Through by Billy Cowan at Contact, Salford Stuffers by Christine Marshall at Studio Salford.

OPERA AWARD - Ascanio In Alba at the Buxton Festival, La Cenerentola at the Royal Northern College of Music, The Io Passion from Almeida Opera at the Royal Northern College of Music, Spirit of Vienna at Clonter Opera,

DANCE AWARD - Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at The Lowry, Birdbrain from Australian Dance Theatre at The Lowry, CandoCo at Contact, Just for Show from DV8 at The Lowry, Mark Morris Dance Group at The Lowry.

MOST PROMISING NEWCOMER - Davis Judge in Christmas Is Miles Away at the Royal Exchange Studio, Oliver Lee in Beautiful Thing at Bolton Octagon, Paul Stocker in Christmas Is Miles Away at the Royal Exchange Studio.

BEST PRODUCTION - The Beauty Queen Of Leenane at Bolton Octagon, Proof at Oldham Coliseum, The Wind in the Willows at Oldham Coliseum.

BEST STUDIO PRODUCTION - The Baby and Fly Pie at the Royal Exchange Studio, Electra at the Royal Exchange Studio, Iron at Contact, Tmesis at the Royal Exchange Studio.

BEST PERFORMANCE IN A STUDIO PRODUCTION - Rachel Brogan in Iron at Contact, Alexander Campbell in Private Peaceful at The Lowry, Joan Kempson in Iron at Contact, Stephen Wight in The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek at the Royal Exchange Studio.

- by Caroline Ansdell