The stage at RNCM, ready for the ceremony to begin. Image via @RNCMvoice on Twitter
The stage at RNCM, ready for the ceremony to begin. Image via @RNCMvoice on Twitter

The nominations were in, the VIP tickets were ready, and a huge crowd of smartly-dressed theatre folk descended on the Royal Northern College of Music on a (thankfully only a bit drizzly) Friday afternoon for the annual Manchester Theatre Awards. This year, the well-established awards were augmented by a new category – for the first time, a “best youth production” award was given out by the MTA Youth Panel.

Hosted by the very funny Justin Moorhouse, the event was a celebration of the arts in Manchester, with many of the award presenters and winners emphasising their love of the Mancunian theatre scene. A diverse array of productions was lauded, including fringe performances, visiting shows, “special entertainments” such as ice dance and children’s shows, and now, youth productions. I’m pleased to report that the Youth Panel gave our award to the frankly hilarious A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Lowry. You can see what panellists Harriet Mallion and Georgina Wells made of the production here at the MTA site.

The ceremony cemented my regret at not having managed to see HOME’s production of Angel Meadow in Ancoats, as the site-specific show picked up the awards for Best Ensemble and Best Play. HOME is definitely one to watch in the next year as it finally opens in its real, er, home. And the Octagon Theatre Bolton, which was nominated many times over and enabled Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor wins for Clare Foster and David Birrell, is now firmly on my theatrical “to do” list. Thanks must go to the MTA Panel for this snapshot of the last year, recognising the work of so many talented people both onstage and behind the scenes to enable theatre to thrive in Manchester.

The Manchester Evening News has a great gallery of pictures in their report of the ceremony here (including a picture of our very own Georgina Wells shortly after the Youth Award winners failed to collect their trophy in person!). You can also see my “youth panellist’s eye view” of the ceremony in tweets by clicking here.