Sheridan Smith and Danny Mac were among the winners at the Manchester Theatre Awards which were announced at The Lowry on Friday.
Presented by comedian Justin Moorhouse, the annual awards – the most important theatrical prize-giving outside London – honoured productions seen in Greater Manchester during 2017.
HOME led the way with five awards, with the rest of the honours largely even among the area’s other venues including two for Oldham Coliseum, two for the Royal Exchange Theatre and other awards going to productions and performers at The Lowry, the Palace Theatre and Opera House, Hope Mill Theatre, Contact, Royal Northern College of Music and Greater Manchester Fringe festival.
Janet Suzman was named Best Actress for Rose at HOME while Kenneth Alan Taylor won Best Actor for The Fatherat Oldham Coliseum – which also won the Best Production prize.
Best New Play was won by Rosie Fleeshman for Narcissist in the Mirror, part of Greater Manchester Fringe.
The big shows on the touring circuit visiting Manchester in 2017 were also honoured, with Michael Harrison, David Ian and Curve’s production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard winning Best Musical, and its star Danny Mac scooping Best Actor in a Visiting Production for his role as Joe Gillis. Sheridan Smith was named Best Actress in a Visiting Production for her star turn as Fanny Brice in the West End-turned touring production of Funny Girl.
The star-studded pantomime Dick Whittington, produced by Qdos and which featured John Barrowman and The Krankies, scooped the Best Special Entertainment prize.
The Robert Robson Award for Dance was taken by English National Ballet for their Double Bill at the Palace Theatre while Opera North’s The Snow Maiden at The Lowry won the opera prize, renamed this year The Philip Radcliffe Award for Best Opera, in memory of the late arts journalist and one of the founders of the Awards
Scott Hunter won Best Newcomer for his performance in Yank! at Hope Mill Theatre, a role he also reprised in the West End when the show transferred there last year.
The MTA judging panel includes a group of enthusiastic young critics who contribute to deliberations and reviews and have their own dedicated award for youth performances. This prize was won by Singin’ in the Rain by the Royal Northern College of Music Young Company.
Also presented on the day was the Stage Door Foundation award that was given to JB Shorts, the Reallife Theatre company platform for playlets written and performed by industry professionals, which started life at the Joshua Brooks pub in the city and are now performed at the 53Two fringe venue.
Special Achievement Awards were given to Barrie Rutter, founder and former artistic director of Northern Broadsides, and Anne Hornsby of Mind’s Eye audio describers which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year.