The Manchester Theatre Awards will be held at The Lowry’s Quays Theatre on Friday 9 March next year, 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, actively celebrate the significant impact of theatre in Greater Manchester
From big receiving venues like The Lowry and the Palace Theatre and Opera House, via acclaimed producing houses such as HOME and the Royal Exchange to exciting fringe spaces like Hope Mill Theatre, over 20 awards categories recognise the exciting array of theatre on offer to audiences in the region and beyond.
Uniquely among theatrical prizegivings, the MTAs publish reviews of all the shows attended, with panel members giving an insight into the deliberations and opinions of the judges as they post reviews of the productions they have seen and comment on each other’s opinions.
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.
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.
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.”
Kevin Bourke, chair of the Manchester Theatre Awards, said: “Helping to celebrate the tremendous, passionate and creative work in the Manchester theatre world is not only a huge honour and privilege for my colleagues and me, but also great fun and genuinely exciting – just like the shows we try to spotlight.
“Ever since they were founded in 1981, the awards have maintained that theatre, however you define it, can and should be life-changing, challenging and utterly immune to artificial boundaries. That’s why these awards are not only about great art in Greater Manchester but play a major role on the national theatre scene.”
While host Justin Moorhouse, who returns to present the ceremony for the 5th time, in his inimitable style, added: “I’m back once again to ingratiate myself with the great of Manchester’s glittering theatre world. I’m not too modest to state I’m doing the gig for no charge once again – nil, nish, zero, gratis, diddly squat, buckshee – not a single penny is asked for from me. Why? Because I love the theatre and I love Manchester and am grateful for the chances it has given me. (Just a side note to the great of Manchester’s glittering theatre world – this is the fifth year I’ve hosted and this is what I’ve got back in the way of auditions, meetings, offers – nil, nish, zero, gratis, diddly squat, buckshee! Thanks a lot!)”
The 2018 Manchester Theatre Awards are in association with Target Live, who will be managing the PR for the forthcoming awards. Target Live – which in February marked its 10thAnniversary by opening a Manchester office to run alongside its London one, working on a mix of national and regional accounts – is the UK’s only full-service live events marketing agency covering Marketing, Media, Social Media, PR, Design and Digital.
Target Live’s specialisms span musical theatre, theatre, dance, classical music and opera, literature, art exhibitions, museums and attractions as well as comedy, games, films, travel, food and drink, music festivals and large-scale outdoor events.