On June 6, 2004 the winners for the ten categories of the 2003-04 CATS were announced at the first CATS celebration, supported by Stirling Council at the Tolbooth in Stirling and attended by members of the Scottish theatre community. The 2003-04 CATS shortlist was announced on May 16.
Best Male Performance
John Bett as Urgentino in Scenes From An Execution by Howard Barker – Dundee Rep Ensemble production.
“John Bett’s utterly convincing, and not a little flamboyant portrayal as sugar-coated puppet master Urgentino was a performance of an immediate and total conviction. Effortlessly breaking down the barriers between audience and stage, he left us free to do what we should be doing, at least in this particular play – thinking.” Directed by Dominic Hill for this production Dundee Rep’s auditorium and stage were transformed into a theatre in the round.
Best Female Performance
Cait Davis as The Woman in Those Eyes, That Mouth – Grid Iron Theatre Company.
“Cait Davis’s performance was heroic. Moving round the labyrinthine corridors of a ramshackle environment, here was no holds barred as she flew without a safety net to create a fully-rounded portrait of a troubled mind coming to terms with her situation without resorting to unnecessary histrionics.” Grid Iron’s premiere production at the Edinburgh Fringe took place in a building in the process of becoming a hotel.
Royal Lyceum Theatre, cast – Kathryn Howden, Gabriel Quigley, Julie Duncanson, Jennifer Black, Wendy Seager, Gayanne Potter, Eileen McCallum, Anne Downie, Gavin Kean and Mark McDonnell, for Six Black Candles.
“Six Black Candles by the Royal Lyceum was one of those great (virtually) all-female ensembles that Scotland does so well. This was an ensemble that was up there with the best of them – eight of our finest actresses – and two not bad blokes – simply loving every moment on stage. Led by Kath Howden as Caroline, they made the very most of Des Dillon’s earthy, vibrant and very funny supernatural comedy.” The play set in Coatbridge by Des Dillion won two playwrighting awards, TAPs Writer of The Year in 2000 & 16th International Playwrighting Award in 2001 but only recieved its World premiere in this production.
Dominic Hill for Scenes From An Execution – Dundee Rep Ensemble production.
“Dominic Hill’s exceptional production showed the work of a disciplined mind achieving exceptional effects with a complex and highly challenging text. It is astonishing that within the context of such a demanding play, he was able to liberate his actors and crew to work to the highest level.” This production was the play’s Scottish Premiere.
Tom Piper for Twelfth Night – Dundee Rep Ensemble Production.
“Designers can crystallise the mood, make us see things anew or illuminate some dark recesses. From the moment that a gauzy curtain pulled back to reveal a surreal setting, the eye was fascinated and mystified, Tom Piper’s design for Dundee Rep’s Twelfth Night amused and entertained, and make us look again.”
Best Music and Sound
Paddy Cuneen for Twelfth Night – Dundee Rep Production.
“Music and sound create atmosphere, comedy and emotional energy for the food of theatre. Paddy Cuneen gave audible and marvellously timed expression to a world in danger of drowning in sorrow which then dissolved into anarchy and misrule where a piano could play itself Joplin’s The Entertainer. Play on indeed!”
Best Technical Presentation
Smoking With Lulu, Citizens Theatre Glasgow.
“Smoking with Lulu integrated brilliantly images from the original film with a superb, but potentially challenging, set into an outrageously stylish production.”
Best Production for Children and Young People
Arthur, The Story of a King, Wee Stories Company & The Scottish Touring Consortium.
“Good theatre for children refuses to be happy-clappy enforced entertainment, live on stage. It is seriously engaging stuff. It is theatre like Arthur, The Story of a King from the Wee Stories Company & The Scottish Touring Consortium, which takes a common Cornflake packet and creates from it an airy something and a dream of world peace. They dared to bring to the stage, all the potency and power of this ancient story. And then, without glossing over any of its many taboos, to left all of their audiences – whether naive or mature – the inkling that they, like the people in the story, could go out and make a difference.” Arthur, The Story of a King was co-created by Andy Cannon, Iain Johnstone and David Trouton, who all also appeared it it, and directed by Andy Cannon and Iain Johnstone.
Best New Play
Henry Adam for The People Next Door – Traverse Theatre.
“In The People Next Door Henry Adam gave us a timely and topical examination of East /West relations, as well as a satire on popular culture, that neither pulled its punches nor its punch-lines, A scabrously funny, high octane black farce set against the backdrop of a post- September 11 world filled with paranoia and confusion, it managed to make the political personal, and vice versa, by bringing together three lonely misfits for whom contrary to Margaret Thatcher’s belief, there definitely is such a thing as society.” The play is published by Nick Hern Books.
Scenes From An Execution, Dundee Rep Ensemble Company. Directed by Dominic Hill.
“The Dundee Rep’s production of Howard Barker’s seminal Scenes from an Execution was quite simply a triumph, and the crowning achievement in what has been a remarkable first year for the theatre under the artistic direction of James Brining and Dominic Hill.”
The awards panel consisted of: Mary Brennan (The Herald), Mark Brown (Sunday Herald), Neil Cooper (The Herald), Alan Chadwick (Metro), Steve Cramer (List), Robert Dawson Scott (The Times), Thom Dibdin (Edinburgh Evening News), Mark Fisher (The Guardian), Thelma Good (EdinburghGuide.com), Sarah Jones (The Independent), Joyce McMillan (Scotsman), Kenneth Speirs (Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday) and Joy Watters (The Courier)