The Manchester Evening News today announced the winners of its 27th annual MEN Theatre Awards. This year’s ‘Oliviers of the North’ were hosted by actress Denise Welch and singer Jane McDonald at the Manchester Midland hotel, as more than 20 category winners were announced encompassing both local and visiting productions.

In the performance categories, Maxine Peake picked up best actress for her part in The Children’s Hour at the Royal Exchange, while David Fielder picked up best actor for Waiting for Godot at the Library theatre (pictured), which also won the coveted best production award.

Out-of-town companies had a strong year, the National Theatre of Scotland adding another accolade to its already significant hoard by picking up best visiting production for Black Watch. Best musical went the 50th anniversary tour of West Side Story at the Lowry.

The Lowry also took the honours for best dance production, for Don Quixote by the Kirov Ballet, and the Salford venue also claimed the best opera award for Opera North’s production of Macbeth.

Among the other winners, the 24:7 Theatre Festival, a local festival dedicated to new one-act plays, was represented by wins in two categories - best new play for Matthew Landers\' A Dog Called Redemption by and best fringe performance for Ruth Evans in Ways To Look At Fish.

- By Theo Bosanquet


The Manchester Evening News 2008 award winners are:

INTERNATIONAL PRODUCTION Chinese Acrobatic Swan Lake, from the Guandong Acrobatic Company at The Lowry

VISITING PRODUCTION Black Watch, from the National Theatre of Scotland at the Pie Factory for The Lowry

NEWCOMER Kate O’Flynn, in The Children’s Hour at the Royal Exchange

ACTOR IN A VISITING PRODUCTION Andrew Buchan, in The Man Who Had All The Luck at The Lowry

DANCE Don Quixote, from Kirov Ballet at The Lowry

ACTRESS IN A VISITING PRODUCTION Michelle Terry, in The Man Who Had All The Luck at The Lowry

NEW PLAY A Dog Called Redemption, by Matthew Landers at 24:7 Theatre Festival

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE Denise Black, in Roots at the Royal Exchange

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE Paul Simpson, in Road & Spring And Port Wine at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton.

FRINGE PERFORMANCE Ruth Evans, in Ways To Look At Fish at 24:7 Theatre Festival

MUSICAL West Side Story, at The Lowry

OPERA Macbeth, from Opera North at The Lowry

BIZA (formerly Alpha) AWARD The Company Music Theatre

DESIGN Oh What A Lovely War at the Octagon Theatre Bolton

CITYLIFE.CO.UK SPECIAL ENTERTAINMENT Afrika! Afrika! at Trafford Centre

PERFORMANCE IN A STUDIO PRODUCTION Willliam Ash, in You Can See The Hills at the Royal Exchange Studio

STUDIO PRODUCTION Doctor Korczak’s Example, at the Royal Exchange Studio

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE Maxine Peake, in The Children’s Hour at the Royal Exchange

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE David Fielder, in Waiting For Godot at the Library Theatre & The Merchant Of Venice at the Octagon Theatre Bolton

BEST PRODUCTION Waiting For Godot, at the Library Theatre

HORNIMAN AWARD FOR A UNIQUE CONTRIBUTION TO THEATRE The Green Room.

For further coverage, visit Whatonstage.com/Manchester