GENERAL Manager of the Liverpool Empire Theatre, Diane Belding has been named Theatre Manager of the Year at the prestigious UK Theatre Awards. The Award comes a week after Diane welcomed HRH the Earl of Wessex to the theatre at a gala evening in celebration of 150 years of live entertainment on the site where the Empire now stands. Diane said, “I am absolutely delighted to have been named Manager of the Year at the prestigious UK Theatre Awards. It is the highlight of my theatre career and is particularly special during Liverpool Empire’s 150th celebration year. I am fortunate to work with some of the most dedicated and passionate theatre staff at the Empire and ATG and share this with them all.” The UK Theatre Awards honour outstanding achievement in performing, producing and management in theatres throughout the United Kingdom. The winners were announced at a ceremony at London’s Guildhall on Sunday 9 October. Nominations were made and voted on by industry experts who had been invited to serve as panellists by the Chief Executive of UK Theatre. Nick Potter, Group International Venues Director for the Ambassador Theatre Group which operates the Empire Theatre, said “Everyone at ATG is thrilled that Diane has been recognised by the UK Theatre industry and awarded the prize for Theatre Manager of the Year. 2016 has been a record-breaking year for the Liverpool Empire with a run of smash hit productions and a special Royal Gala Performance to mark 150 years of live entertainment on the theatre site. Diane and her team have worked tirelessly to achieve fantastic results, build a loyal customer following and provide exemplary customer service. This award is richly deserved and we are all very proud of Diane.” The evening was compèred by award-winning actor Lesley Manville. There were performances from Clare Burt and appearances from guest presenters including Dame Eileen Atkins, Owen Teale, Laura Pitt-Pulford, Stephanie Beacham, Don Warrington and Preeya Kalidas.