Maxine Peake has been announced as the recipient of this year’s outstanding contribution to British theatre prize at the UK Theatre Awards.
The actor and writer is being given the accolade in recognition of her reputation as a “champion of regional theatre and a trailblazer for her female and working-class voice”, as well as her contribution to culture in the North West.
Peake has had a long association with Manchester’s Royal Exchange, where she is an associate artist. Her appearances there include Hamlet, A Streetcar Named Desire and Happy Days, while her first play for the theatre, Queens of the Coal Age, was staged earlier this year.
She said she felt “very honoured” to be receiving the award.
“As a huge fanatic of regional theatre, especially in the north, I see this award as a great platform to make some noise about the value of British theatre in all its forms, especially outside of the capital, and of the importance of keeping it alive and thriving,” Peake said.
She added: “I wouldn’t be where I am today without early involvement in wonderful theatres like the Bolton Octagon, Leeds Playhouse and obviously, the Royal Exchange Manchester. We need to make sure young people, wherever they reside in the UK, can still gain access to these theatres and the vital opportunities they provide.”
Peake will receive the prize at the UK Theatre Awards on October 14, and it will be presented by the Royal Exchange’s artistic director Sarah Frankcom and Conrad Lynch, the outgoing artistic director of Theatre by the Lake.
Past recipients of the outstanding contribution awards include journalist Lyn Gardner, actor Ian McKellen and choreographer Matthew Bourne.