The Manchester Theatre Awards are being discontinued after 37 years, with organisers blaming the loss of crucial advertising revenue from the city’s venues.
The annual awards, which were founded in 1981, celebrate theatre in the Greater Manchester area, and are judged by a panel, who also review shows in the area on a year-round basis for its website.
However, organisers have now confirmed that the 2018 awards, which took place in March, will be the last.
A spokesman for the awards said: “We are naturally disappointed that the city’s annual Oscars for its theatrical output – everything from major venues to fringe and studio-sized productions – will no longer enjoy an annual prize-giving.
“We thank the theatres for their generous support in the past and to the panellists and youth panellists for all the time and effort they have given voluntarily in order to make the awards such a success.”
Since the awards parted ways with the Manchester Evening News in 2011, they have been supported by online advertising revenue from theatres in the area including the Royal Exchange, the Oldham Coliseum and the Octagon in Bolton.
The group of theatres – which also includes Home, Contact, the Palace Theatre and Opera House – confirmed that they would not be continuing their association. No reasons were given for this decision.
“The Greater Manchester theatres annually bought advertising space on the MTA website. This year, the theatres made decisions to no longer purchase that space,” it said.
An MTA spokesman stressed that the awards were run by a voluntary body, with no other regular source of income, meaning that without the theatres’ revenue, they could no longer continue.
A joint statement from the theatres went on to describe the awards as a “long-standing institution” for the region, and praised the “devoted” reviewing panel for its dedication and commitment.
“We wish them luck in all their future ventures and hope that Manchester finds a way to continue to celebrate the richness and diversity of theatre practice in Manchester and our ambitious audiences across the city and beyond,” it said.
The spokesman for the awards added that the site would continue to review productions but would be rebranded with a new name and expand to a larger area beyond Greater Manchester.