Nominations have been announced for the forthcoming Manchester Theatre Awards, to be held at The Lowry’s Quays Theatre on Friday 9 March, hosted by actor and comedian Justin Moorhouse.

The annual awards – the most important theatrical prize-giving outside London – has been a major fixture of the North West cultural calendar since 1981 and will honour productions seen in Greater Manchester during 2017.

With the backing of the Greater Manchester theatres, a judging panel of some of the most experienced critics in the country, who attend hundreds of performances a year, celebrate the significant impact of theatre in Greater Manchester. In recent years the Awards have expanded to include a group of enthusiastic young critics who also choose an annual award from the city’s youth theatre productions.

Nominations in over 20 categories celebrating the best work on stage and off have been announced today, and winners will be announced on stage at a red carpet event in March attended by Greater Manchester’s theatre community.

The Lowry in Salford leads the way 15 nominations across categories including dance, opera and drama, with HOME in Manchester city centre following with 13 nods. Oldham Coliseum, the Palace Theatre and Opera House, The Royal Exchange, Contact and Bolton Octagon are all also nominated, as is last summer’s Manchester International Festival. Fringe theatre is not forgotten with the critically-acclaimed Hope Mill Theatre winning six nominations for its programme and performers, and Greater Manchester Fringe Festival and newly established space 53Two also gaining nods.

Two further awards, The Stage Door Foundation Award For Excellence and Special Achievement Award, are presented on the day.

Since the relaunch of the awards in 2011, famous faces from stage and screen to have won include Sir Kenneth Branagh, Maxine Peake, Rufus Hound, Rory Kinnear, Barry Humphries, Julian Glover and Sian Phillips.

Famous names in the running for awards this year include Sheridan Smith, who is nominated for Best Visiting Actress for her role as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, Danny Mac, nominated for Best Visiting Actor for his performance as Joe McGill in Sunset Boulevard while Jason Merrells is up for Best Actor for his role in HOME’s Uncle Vanya.

 Coronation Street and Broadchurch actress Julie Hesmondhalgh, herself a previous multiple MTA winner, paid tribute to the awards and the importance of the Greater Manchester theatre scene, saying: “I love the Manchester Theatre Awards.  It’s always such a lovely coming together of our artistic community in the best city in the world, and is a celebration of all things theatrical here: From the emerging raw talent of the burgeoning fringe scene to the bobby dazzler spectaculars in our main houses and from the internationally acclaimed cultural highlights of MIF to a couple of people in a tiny space above a Salford pub.”

 All nominees are invited to the awards, and members of the public can also buy tickets for the event. Tickets, priced £15 are available from



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