The Boltonian actor will be recognised for championing working class and female voices, as well her native North
She’s perhaps best known for her TV and film roles - from Victoria Wood's sitcom Dinnerladies to recent releases like Peterloo and Funny Cow - but it’s Maxine Peake’s two decades onstage that will be honoured at this month’s UK Theatre Awards; held on 14 October at London’s Guildhall.
The Bolton-born actor and writer will receive the award for ‘outstanding contribution to British theatre’ in recognition of her reputation as a champion of regional theatre and a trailblazer for female and working-class voices; as well as her contribution to the cultural life of her home region, especially her long relationship with the Royal Exchange.
As an associate artist at the iconic Manchester theatre, Peake’s work there includes many successful collaborations with director Sarah Frankcom: including A Streetcar Named Desire, The Skriker, The Masque Of Anarchy, Miss Julie, The Children’s Hour, Hamlet and Happy Days. Frankcom will be the one to present Peake with her award, alongside award-winning producer Conrad Lynch.
Peake is also an acclaimed playwright: her play Beryl, based on the life of professional cyclist Beryl Burton, was adapted both for stage and radio - and is now being developed into a film - while Queens Of The Coal Age will be adapted for TV after premiering at the Royal Exchange this year.
Of her accolade (whose previous recipients include critic Lyn Gardner, actor Ian McKellen and choreographer Matthew Bourne), Peake said: “I feel very honoured to be recognised by the UK Theatre Awards. 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 the importance of keeping it alive and thriving.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without early involvement in wonderful theatres like the Bolton Octagon, West Yorkshire 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".
The full list of nominations for this year’s UK Theatre Awards can be viewed here