2013 Winners

THE eleventh annual CATS, for the year 2012–13, were announced on Sunday June 9 in a ceremony at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. The guest presenter was John Byrne. Programmes were designed and printed by The List.

Guest presenter John Byrne. Photograph: Colin Hattersley

The CATS Whiskers

Vicky Featherstone, founding artistic director of the National Theatre of Scotland

For outstanding achievement in Scottish theatre

“Vicky has made an outstanding contribution to Scottish Theatre. Under her guidance the National Theatre of Scotland has grown into an internationally acclaimed institution producing many world-beating shows from global hits Black Watch and The Strange Undoing Of Prudencia Hart to mainstage versions of Peer Gynt and Men Should Weep, and dozens of inspiring smaller-scale projects that have played in theatre and halls across Scotland. We believe that Vicky made an absolutely brilliant job of a historic and immensely complex task, particularly in taking on – ·and making her own – the idea of a national ·theatre ‘without walls. ·It is difficult to imagine any other director who could have led the NTS through its opening years with such a combination of skill, creativity, and real, passionate engagement with Scotland and its stories.”

Best Male Performance

Alan Cumming (all parts), Macbeth, National Theatre of Scotland

“Astonishing, stellar, extraordinary yet tender and sensitive, Alan Cumming’s performance in Macbeth proved to be one of the most memorable moments in Scottish theatre this year. Tackling every major role in Shakespeare’s great tragedy, Cumming earned respect and admiration from critics and audiences alike in his unforgettable bravura of a performance

Best Female Performance

Sponsored by STV

Blythe Duff (Fay Black), Iron, Firebrand Theatre Company in association with Heart of Hawick

“In Rona Munro’s prison drama, Blythe Duff played a convicted husband-killer meeting her estranged daughter for the first time in 15 years. In a thrillingly ambiguous and unsentimental performance, she never let us be certain whether she was an innocent victim or a calculating psychopath.”

Best Ensemble

Sponsored by Equity

The Seafarer, a co-production between Perth Theatre and the Lyric Theatre, Belfast

“In the roles of a pair of squabbling Irish brothers, their drink-sodden cronies, and the stranger who pitches up for a game of cards, the five actors in Perth Theatre’s production of The Seafarer all gave excellent individual performances, with each actor revealing a deep understanding of the unique mix of realism and the numinous in Conor McPherson’s work. But it was the way these performances fitted together that really sustained the audience’s belief in the weird, off-kilter world of that play.”

Best Director

Rachel O’Riordan, The Seafarer, a co-production between Perth Theatre and the Lyric Theatre, Belfast

“With her meticulously realised production of Conor McPherson’s play, The Seafarer, Rachel O’Riordan has cemented her position as one of the finest and most visionary directors in the country. In a dense and fantastical piece of work, O’Riordan bypassed any temptation to keep things merely ordinary, opting instead for a fearless approach which allowed her all-male cast to soar in what was clearly labour of love.”

Best Design

Gail Sneddon (concept and video), Rachana Jadhav (set), Karsten Tinapp (lighting) and Kevin Pollard (costume), Ménage à Trois, the National Theatre of Scotland in partnership with Claire Cunningham and Gail Sneddon

“The performance and design of Ménage à Trois was a thing of wonder whose promise chimed perfectly with its reality. It is a greatly moving and poetic work played with touching vulnerability that stays in the soul

Best Music and Sound

Hilary Brooks, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas: The Musical, Pitlochry Festival Theatre

“There is a terrific range of work on this year’s shortlist in the Best Music And Sound category.  For sheer skill, brilliance and ambition, though – in leading a ten-piece band and a cast of 20 actor-singer-musicians through a full-scale Hollywood musical, and bringing a real blast of Christmas joy to delighted audiences – the 2013 CATS Award for Best Music and Sound goes to Hilary Brooks, for her magnificent work as musical director of Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s White Christmas.”

Best Technical Presentation

Sponsored by Northern Light

The Incredible Adventures of See Thru Sam, Random Accomplice, Glasgow

“There’s much to love about The Incredible Adventures of See Thru Sam, and I speak as the parent who could hardly hear the dialogue for her teenaged daughter honking with laughter in the next seat. But the way the cast interacted with Jamie MacDonald’s fluid black and white animations, and made it look so effortless, was quite extraordinary. It added a whole new – and appropriate, and clever – dimension to the story of the orphaned teenage boy and his obsession with comic book heroes.”

Best Production for Children and Young People

Sonata for a Man and a Boy, Greg Sinclair and MacRobert, Stirling

“Work for children and young people rarely has anyone under-21 in the cast. Sonata for a Man and a Boy speaks to audiences of all ages because it gives equal footing to both performers : one – the creator of the piece, Greg Sinclair – is a thirty-something music teacher and his pupil is an almost-twelve year old lad., Together they take us on a journey that is funny, inventive and ultimately profound. It’s a Sonata full of lessons in life, not just in playing the cello.”

Best New Play

Sponsored by W&P Longreach – Theatre Insurance Brokers

Rob Drummond, Quiz Show, Traverse Theatre Company, Edinburgh

“Rob Drummond’s Quiz Show is a twisting, duplicitous script which creates an elaborate game show, in all its jolity and public glare, before moving off into altogether more unforgiving territory. As an audience member you laugh along before realising your complicity has been there from the beginning, woven into every word of the script. Thunderingly powerful stuff, which reverberates long after seeing it, and in which every word counts. The sort of dangerous, questioning theatre that the Traverse exists in order to stage.”

Best Production

The List, Stellar Quines

“Two brilliant solo shows, The List and Krapp’s Last Tape, a brand new play in Quiz Show so on the contemporary money it almost hurt, a brilliant Scottish premiere of a fine Irish play The Seafarer, and all up against the most lavish production of this and many another year in Scottish theatre in White Christmas which, with real snow on the mountain tops around Pitlochry, seemed almost to have God on its side. The fact that there were five nominations for best overall production instead of the usual four tell sits own story. In the end we chose one of the smallest, The List, perfectly formed in every delicate detail like a Faberge egg.”

The CATS judging panel for 2013 was made up of: Mary Brennan (The Herald), Anna Burnside (The Independent), Irene Brown (Edinburgh Guide), Mark Brown (The Sunday Herald and the Daily Telegraph), Neil Cooper (The Herald), Michael Cox (acrossthearts.co.uk), Robert Dawson Scott (The Times), Thom Dibdin (The Stage and Annals of the Edinburgh Stage), Mark Fisher (The Guardian), Joyce McMillan (The Scotsman), Allan Radcliffe (The Times), Gareth K Vile (The List) and Joy Watters (acrossthearts.co.uk).