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Royal Exchange and Home lead nominations for Manchester Theatre Awards

Julie Hesmondhalgh in Wit at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. Photo: Jonathan Keenan Julie Hesmondhalgh in Wit at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. Photo: Jonathan Keenan
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Performers including Niamh Cusack, Julie Hesmondhalgh and Don Warrington have been nominated for prizes at this year’s Manchester Theatre Awards.

The awards celebrate theatre across the North West region, with 21 categories chosen by a panel of 10 regional critics.

The Royal Exchange and Home lead the nominations with 19 and 14 respectively.

Both theatres have two nominations in the best production shortlist – Breaking the Code and Wit at the Royal Exchange, and Ghosts and The Emperor, which ran at Home.

Cusack and Hesmondhalgh are nominated for best actress, for Ghosts and Wit respectively.

They are up against Kathryn Hunter, for The Emperor at Home, and Kaisa Hammarlund for Sweet Charity at the Royal Exchange.

Meanwhile, Warrington’s performance as King Lear at the Royal Exchange earned him a best actor nomination. He will compete against Rob Edwards, for To Kill a Mockingbird at the Octagon in Bolton, David Neilson, for Endgame at Home and Daniel Rigby for Breaking the Code at the Royal Exchange.

Other performers nominated include Marc Small and Daniel Crossley in the best supporting actor category and Sharon Duncan-Brewster and Amy Nuttall for best supporting actress.

Lisa Dillon, Aoife Duffin, Lisa Maxwell and Zizi Strallen will compete for best actress in a visiting production, while the corresponding male category features Rufus Hound, Simon McBurney, Edward Bennett and Michael Pennington.

Aside from main stage plays and musicals, awards also recognise studio productions, fringe work, opera and dance, in addition to accolades for design, ensemble work, special entertainment and newcomers.

Katherine Soper’s Bruntwood Prize-winning play Wish List, performed at the Royal Exchange Studio, is nominated for best new play. It is joined by Bryony Kimmings’ A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer, which premiered at Home before transferring to the National Theatre, Bird in the Royal Exchange Studio and The Emperor, which also ran at Home.

A panel of young critics will also choose an annual award from the city’s range of youth theatre productions.

The Manchester Theatre Awards take place on March 17 at Home, in a ceremony presented by comedian and actor Justin Moorhouse.