2014 Winners

Guest presenter Bill Paterson with Blythe Duff, winner of Best Female Performance. Photograph: Angela Catlin

THE twelfth annual CATS, for the year 2013–14, were announced at the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, on Sunday 8 June, with Bill Paterson as the guest presenter. Programmes were designed and printed by The List.

The CATS Whiskers

Imaginate Festival, Scotland’s international festival of performing arts for children and young people

For outstanding achievement in 25 years of excellent programming

Tony Reekie, artistic director of Imaginate

“Over quarter of a century, Imaginate has developed into the most important international performing arts festival for children and young people in the UK. It has brought the finest international work to Scotland and provided Scottish work with the best possible platform. The benefits both to young audiences and Scotland’s children’s theatre practitioners are immeasurable. Not only that, but, under the leadership of its director Tony Reekie, Imaginate has played a crucial role as a commissioner of and advocate for children’s theatre in this country. It is, quite simply, impossible to conceive of the existing children’s theatre sector in Scotland without Imaginate.”·

Best Male Performance

Adam Best (Raskolnikov), Crime and Punishment, Citizens Theatre, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse and Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

“Dostoevsky’s alienated student who commits murder for ideological reasons and then battles it out with the authorities and his own conscience is as complex and unpredictable a character as Hamlet or Iago. Adam Best captured this anti-hero’s startling mix of rage and compassion with an epic performance, the linchpin of a fine ensemble.”

Best Female Performance

Sponsored by STV

Blythe Duff (Ciara), Ciara, Traverse Theatre Company and Datum Point Productions

“Blythe Duff makes the perfect Ciara. Alone onstage for the full length of the play, Duff’s intense presence delivers David Harrrower’s exquisite text with the full light and shade required to make Orla O’Loughlin’s production so powerful. Who says lightning doesn’t strike twice, as Duff, for so long a familiar face from TV, proves herself once again to be a consummate stage actress, and thoroughly deserving to be named as CATS best actress of the year.”

Best Ensemble

Sponsored by Equity

Crime and Punishment, Citizens Theatre, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse and Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

“There has been plenty of wonderful ensemble work in Scottish theatre this year, but nothing more dazzling than the achievement of the ten-strong cast of Crime And Punishment. In a show full of strong individual performances, the cast also worked superbly together to provide the soundscape, the sense of street life, and the thrilling choral music that captured vital social and moral dimensions of Dostoevsky’s great story, and were central

Best Director

Dominic Hill, Crime and Punishment, Citizens Theatre, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse and Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

“Hill’s direction was exceptional. He created a production that delivered for its chosen space and audience. Hill distilled a great story into an easily comprehensible and hugely watchable narrative, which was always compelling to watch, yet found and exposed its hidden depths. He brought a succession of vibrant performances out of a cast of actor-musicians whose constant presence on stage ensured that the whole production zinged by.”

Best Design

Christopher Doyle and Shiona McCubbin (cinematographers), Mike Brookes (lighting designer) and Stewart Laing, Nick Millar, Robbie Thomson and Jack Wrigley (designers), Paul Bright’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner, Untitled Projects in co-production with the National Theatre of Scotland, Tramway and Summerhall 

“A unique combination of film, still photography, eclectic exhibits, documentation, interviews and sculpture created the elaborate re-imagining of one man’s radical theatrical vision that is Paul Bright’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner.”

Best Music and Sound

James Fortune and the band, Mark Melville and Andrew Kirkby, The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler, Vanishing Point and the National Theatre of Scotland presented in association with Eden Court

“James Fortune and the band not only orchestrated Ivor Cutler’s minimal songs into complex arrangements, they were involved in shaping the play’s characterisation of this remarkable musician. Whether finding the hidden klezmer or rocking a samba, the music drove the celebratory, playful energy of this Beautiful Cosmos.”

Best Technical Presentation

Sponsored by Northern Light

Dragon, Vox Motus, National Theatre of Scotland and the Tianjin People’s Art Theatre, China

“Dragon’s visual fireworks were made possible by impeccable technical support: if everything did not come together perfectly, at exactly the right moment, then the show would simply not have worked.”

Best Production for Children and Young People

Huff, Shona Reppe and Andy Manley, produced by Catherine Wheels Theatre Company

“Huff took that old, familiar cautionary tale of The Three Little Pigs and wove it into a walk-round installation where each room allowed youngsters to make a hands-on discovery of the story for themselves. Scary, funny, brilliantly inventive – and a ground-breaking world away from the sit-look-listen format of conventional theatre.”

Best New Play

Sponsored by Robertson Taylor W&P Longreach – Theatre Insurance Brokers

David Harrower, Ciara, Traverse Theatre Company and Datum Point Productions

“Ciara wasn’t just a fitting theatrical celebration of the Traverse’s 50th anniversary but also a showcase for Scottish writing at its best: a localised love letter to Scotland (particularly Glasgow) with rich language, a captivating plot and an equal balance of the dramatic and the comedic. David Harrower’s one-act monologue is compelling, beautiful and grotesque in equal measures while introducing audiences to an unforgettable character

Best Production

Crime and Punishment, Citizens Theatre, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse and Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

“Against formidable competition, Crime and Punishment was the production the judges returned to again and again. There was the inspired adaptation by Chris Hannan which gave dramatic shape to a complex novel. There was the thrilling central performance by Adam Best as a Hamlet-like Raskolnikov, supported by a vigorous ten-strong ensemble. There was the excellent percussive score by Nikola Kodjabashia, the stripped-back set by Colin Richmond and bold lighting by Chris Davey. And all of this was marshalled with intelligence, flair and tremendous attention to detail by director Dominic Hill to create a consummate piece of theatre.”

The CATS judging panel for 2014 was made up of: Mary Brennan (The Herald), Irene Brown (edinburghguide.com), Mark Brown (The Sunday Herald and the Daily Telegraph), Anna Burnside (freelance), Neil Cooper (The Herald), Michael Cox (Across the Arts), Thom Dibdin (The Stage and AllEdinburghTheatre.com), Mark Fisher (The Guardian), Joyce McMillan (The Scotsman), Allan Radcliffe (The Times), Amy Taylor (The Public Reviews and TVBomb), Gareth K Vile (The List) and Joy Watters (Across the Arts