2013 Manchester Theatre Awards - the winners revealed

Manchester Theatre Awards

Manchester Theatre Awards - Credit: Archant

Stars from across the region gathered at the Royal Exchange Theatre to hear who had won an ‘Oscar’ in the region’s top theatre awards

Cush Jumbo received the award for Best Actress for her performance in A Doll's House, Royal Exchange

Cush Jumbo received the award for Best Actress for her performance in A Doll's House, Royal Exchange Theatre - Credit: Archant

Manchester took its own place in the seasonal showbiz awards spotlight at the city’s Royal Exchange Theatre.

More than 20 Manchester Theatre Awards for 2013 were presented to the winners among 100 nominees, chosen by a panel of regional theatre critics, in a glittering event supported by Cheshire Life and Lancashire Life magazines, and this year open to the public for the first time.

Among the winners was Sir Kenneth Branagh, for his blockbuster role as Macbeth in the Manchester International Festival performance staged inside an old city church. The same production earned Ray Fearon his second trophy in two years, for his supporting role as Macduff.

But many other homegrown productions, from the wider metropolis, found themselves sharing the acclaim of an MTA trophy.

Oldham’s Coliseum Theatre production of Chicago also attracted two awards, for best supporting actress Shirley Darroch, and for the whole cast as an ensemble performance.

Best Actress award went to TV and stage star Cush Jumbo for her performance in the title role of Miss Julie at the Royal Exchange, while the venue’s Studio performance of Brilliant Adventures won it two awards.

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War Horse, the National Theatre’s acclaimed adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s story, charged through a crowded field for Best Visiting Production to win the award on its first national tour to the Lowry in Salford.

The venue was also poignantly successful when the Robert Robson Award for Dance went to the Michael Clark Triple Bill. It was a production that had been programmed by the Lowry’s artistic director Robert Robson – a leading advocate of dance theatre – who died suddenly in the summer, before its actual performance.

In his honour the judges decided this year to give his name to the trophy.

Several other awards are designed to encourage the region’s small-scale fringe and studio performances and this year one of those, Away From Home, performed at the city’s 24:7 Festival, also won the prestigious New Play trophy.

The Special Achievement Award went to Manchester Library Theatre’s artistic director Chris Honer who this year stands down from the role after more than 20 years.

A new award, presented by the Stage Door Foundation, also went to another long-standing Manchester institution – the comedy theatre duo of LipService, Maggie Fox and Sue Ryding.

The 2013 Manchester Theatre Awards:

Best Actor

Kenneth Branagh, Macbeth, Manchester International Festival, St Peter’s Church

Best Actress

Cush Jumbo, A Doll’s House, Royal Exchange

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Ray Fearon, Macbeth, Manchester International Festival, St Peter’s Church

Best Actress In A Supporting Role

Shirley Darroch, Chicago, Oldham Coliseum

Best Actor in a Visiting Production

Julian Glover, Maurice’s Jubilee, Opera House

Best Actress in a Visiting Production

Catherine Kinsella, Rutherford and Son, The Lowry

Best Production

Macbeth, directed by Rob Ashford, Manchester International Festival, St Peter’s Church

Best Visiting Production

War Horse, National Theatre, The Lowry

Best Musical

Singin’ In The Rain, Opera House

Best Opera

Otello, Opera North, The Lowry

The Robert Robson Award for Dance

Michael Clark Triple Bill, The Lowry

Best Design

The Old Woman, designer/director Robert Wilson; sound Marco Oilvieri; light A J Weissbard, Manchester International Festival, Palace

Best Newcomer

Freya Sutton, Hairspray, The Lowry

Best New Play

Away From Home, by Rob Ward and Martin Jameson, 24:7 Festival

Best Studio Production

Brilliant Adventures, Royal Exchange Studio

Best Fringe Production

The Best, Lass O’Gowrie

Best Studio Performance

Robert Lonsdale, Brilliant Adventures, Royal Exchange Studio

Best Fringe Performance

Rob Ward, Away From Home, 24:7 Theatre Festival

Best Ensemble

Chicago, Oldham Coliseum

Best Special Entertainment

Dick Whittington, Opera House

Special Achievement Award

Chris Honer, Library Theatre, Manchester

The Stage Door Foundation Award for Excellence

Lip Service