THE Octagon has scooped an “astonishing” 14 nominations in the first Manchester Theatre Awards.

The theatre has three of the six nominations in the best production category — for The Price, Secret Thought and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf ? — making it odds-on favourite to win the award.

There are also nominations in all the other major categories for producing theatres.

Rob Edwards and George Irving have been nominated for the best actor award for their roles in Secret Thoughts and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf ? respectively.

Their co-stars Kate Coogan and Margot Leicester have also been nominated as best actress for their performances in the two plays. In the supporting categories, Kieran Hill and Tammy Joelle are nominated for their roles in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf ?, while Kenneth Alan Taylor and Suzan Sylvester are nominated for their performances in Arthur Miller’s The Price.

David Lodge’s Secret Thoughts, which received its world premiere at the Octagon, is nominated for best new play.

James Cotterill, Brent Lees, Andy Smith and Joe Stathers- Tracey are nominated for their design work on The Demolition Man, while Smith and Stathers- Tracey are nominated a second time alongside Ciaran Bagnell in the same category for Secret Thoughts.

David Thacker, artistic director of the Octagon, said: “We’re thrilled that the Manchester Theatre Panel has recognised the work of the Octagon Theatre.

“The fact that we’ve received such an astonishing number of nominations, recognising our achievements in acting, design, new writing and direction is particularly pleasing. These nominations are a fitting tribute to all the artists, technicians and staff that make the Octagon such a special place.”

Horwich actor David Crellin has been nominated in the best supporting actor category for his role in The Library Theatre’s site-specific production of Charles Dickens’ Hard Times, which took place at Murray Mills, in Ancoats.

Justin MacGregor’s play God Wept and the Devil Laughed, which tells the stories of his uncles Ken and Lewis during the Second World War, has been nominated for best studio performance.

It was produced in the Lowry’s Studio Theatre in July last year.

The winners will be announced in March.