Wish List wins big at Manchester Theatre Awards

Feature by The Skinny North | 17 Mar 2017

Katherine Soper's Bruntwood Prize–winning play about the punishments of the employment and benefits system scooped several titles at today's Manchester Theatre Awards, with awards also going to Cucumber actor Julie Hesmondhalgh and the MIF–supported Akram Khan's Giselle

The 2015 winner of Europe’s biggest national prize for playwritingWish List by Katherine Soper, scooped three awards at today's Manchester Theatre Awards. Erin Doherty and Joseph Quinn won Best Actress and Actor in a Studio Production for their portraits of two teenage siblings trying to survive when Quinn's character Dean is deemed unfit for work, while the play overall won Best Studio Production. 

Wish List was one of a number of productions to earn the Royal Exchange Theatre the limelight at this afternoon's ceremony, with the venue taking ten awards in total across the main categories. 

Meanwhile, Coronation Street, Cucumber and Broadchurch favourite Julie Hesmondhalgh was named Best Actress for her performance in the Pulitzer Prize–winning Wit, Margaret Edson's portrayal of a metaphysical poetry professor trying to cope with cancer treatment – and Hesmondhalgh's theatre collective Take Back Theatre, which she co-founded in 2015 "as an artistic response to the politics of austerity," received the special Stage Door award for excellence.

Elsewhere, Akram Khan's Giselle – a co-production between Manchester International Festival, English National Ballet and Sadler's Wells – won Best Dance; Daniel Rigby's role as Alan Turing in the Royal Exchange's Breaking the Code earned him Best Actor; and Norah Lopez Holden was named Best Newcomer for her performance in the widely acclaimed production of Ibsen's Ghosts at HOME (where today's Awards were held). 

Read our review of Wish List

Read our review of Giselle

Manchester Theatre Awards 2017 – the winners in full:

Best actress – Julie Hesmondhalgh, Wit, Royal Exchange
Best actor – Daniel Rigby, Breaking the Code, Royal Exchange
Best production – Breaking the Code, Royal Exchange
Best supporting actress – Natalie Dew, Breaking the Code, Royal Exchange
Best supporting actor – Daniel Crossley, Sweet Charity, Royal Exchange
Best actor in a visiting production – Rufus Hound, The Wind in the Willows, The Lowry
Best actress in a visiting production – Aoife Duffin, A Girl Is a Half–Formed Thing, The Lowry
Best visiting production – The James Plays, The Lowry
Best newcomer – Norah Lopez Holden, Ghosts, Home
Best opera – Andrea Chenier, Opera North, The Lowry
The Robert Robson Award for best dance – Akram Khan's Giselle, Palace
Best musical – Sweet Charity, Royal Exchange
Best fringe production – The Trial, Hope Mill Theatre
Best fringe performance – Joyce Branagh, Boomtown Gals, Various venues
Best studio production – Wish List, Royal Exchange
Best actor in a studio production – Joseph Quinn, Wish List, Royal Exchange Studio
Best actress in a studio production – Erin Doherty, Wish List, Royal Exchange Studio
Best new play – The Emperor, Home
Best design – Singin' in the Rain, Octagon Theatre
Best ensemble – Singin' in the Rain, Octagon Theatre
Best special entertainment – The Peony Pavillion, Lowry
Youth panel award – Nothing, The Royal Exchange Theatre Young Company
Stage Door Award for excellence – Becx Harrison, Julie Hesmondhalgh and Grant Archer of Take Back Theatre
Special achievement award – Joseph Houston and William Whelton of Hope Mill Theatre
Special achievement award – Philip Radcliffe, theatre critic