Update on the MTA 2016

Unfortunately Maxine Peake did not win Best Actress Award at Manchester Theatre Awards nor Best Play/Visiting Production.

However, she’s always a winner in our eyes!

Royal Exchange wins theatre of the year

Royal Exchange wins theatre of the year

Manchester’s Royal Exchange has been named regional theatre of the year at The Stage Awards.

The venue beat the Chichester Festival Theatre and Northampton’s Royal and Derngate to the honour.

Actress Maxine Peake, who won rave reviews for her role in The Skriker at the theatre last year, collected the award at the London ceremony along with artistic director Sarah Frankcom.

In The Skriker, Peake was described as “a cross between Vivienne Westwood and the Virgin Queen”

The Almeida Theatre was also named London theatre of the year.

It beat Shakespeare’s Globe and the Barbican for its hit Greeks season, which achieved both critical and box office success as well as a West End transfer of the Oresteia.

The Stage’s editor, Alistair Smith, said the quality of work over the past year had made it “really tricky” for the judges.

‘Meteoric arrival’

The Other Room – Cardiff’s first pub theatre – won fringe theatre of the year – the first venue outside London to win the prize.

Opened in February 2015, the judges described the 44-person capacity venue’s first year as a “meteoric arrival” on the theatre scene.

Sonia Friedman was named producer of the year for the second year. In 2015 she was behind nine UK shows, including the new West End musical Bend It Like Beckham and Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hamlet at the Barbican.

The National Theatre won two awards – the international award for its collaboration with the National Theatre of China on a Chinese production of War Horse; and the theatre building of the year prize for its NT Future regeneration project.

Arts Educational Schools London collected the school of the year award and stage manager Roger Miller was named unsung hero for his work in saving the Felixstowe Spa Pavilion Theatre.

Here are this year’s winners in full:

London theatre of the year – Almeida Theatre

Fringe theatre of the year – The Other Room, Cardiff

Regional theatre of the year – Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

Producer of the year – Sonia Friedman

International award – War Horse China

School of the year – Arts Educational Schools London

Theatre building of the year – NT Future

Unsung Hero – Roger Miller


Gordon Burn Prize 2015 shortlist: what the judges say

Books that take a fresh, undaunted approach to writing – that is the criteria for the Gordon Burn Prize.

The 2015 shortlist features five books: Midland by Honor Gavin (Penned in the Margins), Noontide Toll by Romesh Gunesekera (Granta Books), Original Rockers by Richard King (Faber & Faber), Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev (Faber & Faber), and In Plain Sight: The Life and Lies of Jimmy Savile by Dan Davies (Quercus).

The judges of the 2015 prize are actress Maxine Peake, authors Doug Johnstone and Roddy Doyle, journalist Suzanne Moore and artist Gavin Turk.

Here’s what they said about each of the shortlisted titles.

Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev

“Nothing is True and Everything is Possible takes you on a dystopian journey into Putin’s Russia. Funny, intense and alluring. A real ride of a book. I was plunged into a world of unknowns, which quickly became frighteningly familiar. Fascinating, exciting, grotesque.”
-Maxine Peake


Maxine Peake nominated as Best Actress at the Manchester Theatre Awards 2015

Congratulations to Maxine Peake as well as Gillian Bevan and Claire Benedict who have also been nominated for their supporting roles in Hamlet! 😀 Well done!

Stars of the theatre world will battle it out for a host of top prizes at the Manchester Theatre Awards.

The full list of nominations, across 20 categories, has been announced today, chosen by a panel of 11 of the region’s leading theatre critics.

Manchester’s Royal Exchange and Bolton’s Octagon Theatre dominate the leading categories, for Best Actor and Best Actress, as well as Best Supporting Actor and Actress.

The ground-breaking production of Hamlet at The Royal Exchange receives three nominations – including Best Actress for Maxine Peake in the title role. She will face tough competition in the category, including Suranne Jones for her role in Orlando at the Royal Exchange.

The winners will be announced at a glitzy ceremony on stage at Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music on Friday March 13.

All the nominees are invited as well as celebrity guests who present the coveted glass trophies.

A limited number of audience tickets are also available from www.rncm.ac.uk

Best Actress

Clare Foster, in Duet For One and Separation, at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Natalie Grady, in Hobson’s Choice, at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Suranne Jones, in Orlando, at the Royal Exchange

Maxine Peake, in Hamlet, at the Royal Exchange

Lauren Samuels, in Love Story, at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Claire Benedict, in Hamlet, at the Royal Exchange

Gillian Bevan, in Hamlet, at the Royal Exchange

Molly Gromadzki, in Orlando, at the Royal Exchange

Katie Moore, in Billy Liar, at the Royal Exchange


Hamlet wins CityLife Award for Best Play

On this, the audience and the critics shouted in unison: Maxine Peake’s Hamlet stole the headlines and the show in the 2014 theatre calendar

Homegrown productions dominated our list of favourite plays this year, as well as productions that played with the format – either from a cast perspective or by redefining the boundaries between stage and auditorium.

Two plays from the city’s Royal Exchange Theatre made our list: first Orlando, a sexually charged tale starring Oldham actress Suranne Jones as the gender-swapping time traveller who leaps around for 400 years in search of love, happiness and meaning.

And another formidable actress in a gender-reversed role headed up the cast for our second favourite production: Maxine Peake, who starred as Shakespeare’s maddened hero Hamlet last September, forcing the theatre to extend the run by a fortnight after tickets sold out in record time.

Messing around with the dividing lines between actors and audience was HOME’s production of Romeo & Juliet, which led the entire crowd around Victoria Baths from pool to pool like the star-crossed lovers were leading them around their own kingdoms. It wasn’t flawless, but it was beautiful – and utterly heartbreakingly as it ended at Juliet’s flooded mausoleum.

Touring show The Pride, with Mathew Horne staring in Jamie Lloyd’s tough gay play, stirred debate at the Opera House and featured scenes that even caused a few people to walk out.

And a million miles away from these kind of big budget productions was Stella Grundy’s one-woman show, The Rise And Fall Of A Northern Star, which was hosted in dressing rooms and studio rooms as Stella played Tracy Star, a Harpurhey kid who becomes a Madchester icon.

Coming out on top for us, though, was Hamlet – artistic director Sarah Frankcom’s critically acclaimed production which didn’t stop at casting one powerful woman in the lead role.

While Peake – who has also accepted a long-term creative role with the theatre – proved she could take on one of Shakespeare’s greatest characters, Gillian Bevan shone just as brightly in the other gender-switched role of Polonia.

Speaking about picking up the award, Sarah Frankcom told CityLife: “We were really proud of this show and thrilled at how excited Manchester audiences were by it.

“An award like this means a tremendous amount!”


Congratulations to cast & crew! This is well deserved! 🙂

Maxine Peake up for BBC Audio Drama Award 2015!

Doctor Who, Andrew Scott and Sir Ian McKellen are among those who’ve made the long-list for the 2015 BBC Audio Drama Awards.

The awards pay tribute to the cultural importance of audio drama with actors, writers, producers, sound designers and more recognised in the nominations.

Among those in the running are Sherlock star Andrew Scott and Edge of Tomorrow actress Charlotte Riley for their portrayal of two expert liars who meet in an ocular prosthetics clinic in Slipping. The drama itself is also up for Best Original Single Drama.

Silk star Maxine Peake has earned a nomination for her part in Pact, with Game of Thrones actress Ellie Kendrick giving her a run for her money in the Best Actress Award for How to Say Goodbye Properly.

Rob Brydon (Gavin & Stacey), Julian Rhind-Tutt (Green Wing) and Ian McKellen (Lord of the Rings/ X-Men) go head to head for Best Actor, while Toby Jones’s role as Mr Collins in Pride and Prejudice sees him vying for Best Supporting Actor.

Doctor Who 50th anniversary adventure The Light at the End – which featured all the surviving actors to play the Time Lord, up to and including eighth Doctor Paul McGann – is among the nominees for Best Online/Non-Broadcast Audio drama.

There’s stiff competition in the comedy award genre with Marcus Brigstocke up against Milton Jones and John Finnemore for Best Live Comedy.

Radio 4’s First World War drama series Home Front has been nominated twice, as has The Divine Comedy starring John Hurt.

Alison Hindell, Head of Audio Drama says, “’I’m thrilled to see the range and breadth of audio drama productions available in the UK reflected in the long list and to see the contribution of so many hugely talented writers, actors and producers acknowledged in this way. Good luck to everyone as the judges make their decisions.”

Finalists will be announced on Tuesday 6th January 2015, with the winners revealed at a ceremony to be held on Sunday 1st February.

The BBC Audio Drama Awards long-list for each category is:

Best Actress in an Audio Drama

Maxine Peake in Pact
Anastasia Hille in Secrets of the Small Hours 
Francesca Annis in Golden Years: Friedrichstrasse 
Ellie Kendrick in How to Say Goodbye Properly 
Aisling Loftus in Educator 
Charlotte Riley in Slipping 
Heather Craney in Ambiguous Loss 

More here.

Video Update: Maxine Peake speech after presentation of the annual Wigan Diggers Award on 7 September

Maxine Peake receiving the Wigan Diggers Festival Award 07/09/14. Maxine: “this is better than any Oscar or any BAFTA…”

Also, take a look at the photos from the ceremony I’ve added.

Maxine Peake wins Wigan Diggers Spade – and says it means more than an Oscar


Salford based Maxine Peake has received this year’s Gerrard Winstanley Spade Award from the Wigan Diggers Festival for her “outstanding contribution to socialism”. Maxine responded that “This award means more to me than any Oscar or BAFTA”.

The Wigan Diggers Festival – which happens next Saturday – is a top free open air event featuring loads of stalls, children’s entertainment, a beer tent and over a dozen musicians. It commemorates Wigan-born legend, Gerrard Winstanley, who led the 17th Century `Diggers’ movement, described by Tony Benn as the “the first true socialists”. The much coveted Spade is Wigan’s `own version of an Oscar’

Source: salfordstar.com

Also, check out the other photos which were taken today here.