2016 Winners

The winners were announced at the Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh, on Sunday 12 June. Guest presenters were Daniela Nardini and Sanjeev Kohli.

Guest presenters Daniella Nardini and Sanjeev Kohli. Photograph Stuart Wallace

The CATS Whiskers

Muriel Romanes, artistic director of Stellar Quines Theatre Company

For outstanding achievement in supporting and strengthening women’s role in Scottish theatre.

The award is in recognition of Muriel’s far-ranging achievements with Stellar Quines Theatre Company, first as a member of the cooperative and then its first artistic director, a post she held until April of this year.
Stellar Quines originally came into being in 1993, with Muriel performing in its first production, Night Sky.·Its aim was to bring the energy, experience and perspective of women centre-stage, but her vision and determination have also been a tremendous force in Scottish theatre-making as a whole. Countless new plays have been staged because of her initiatives at Stellar Quines. Small and not so small venues all across Scotland have seen live theatre – and quality live theatre at that – because Stellar Quines put them on its touring map. In the years that Muriel Romanes has been at the helm, Stellar Quines has withstood financial hardships and shifts in arts policy-making, has stayed vital and aspirational when other small, independent companies have, because of those circumstances, gone under. Her unstinting dedication to theatre-making shines out as an inspiration to us all.

Best Male Performance

sponsored by the Scottish Drama Training Network:

Sandy Grierson (Lanark/Duncan Thaw), Lanark: A Life in Three Acts, Citizens Theatre and the Edinburgh International Festival in association with Graham Eatough and Sorcha Dallas

“Playing the title role in David Greig and Graham Eatough’s mighty staging of Alasdair Gray’s epic novel, Lanark, Sandy Grierson proves once again how his powerful and charismatic presence can hold a stage. As he moved through the three acts of his own life, Lanark, aka Duncan Thaw, was presented by Grierson as an eternally bemused everyman in a confusing world. Grierson was understated but totally watchable as he put flesh and blood on one of literature’s most iconic figures

Best Female Performance

Sponsored by STV

Pauline Knowles (Clytemnestra), This Restless House, Citizens Theatre and National Theatre of Scotland

“As Clytemnestra in Zinnie Harris’s This Restless House, Pauline Knowles·was a queen and a mother who had, over a long decade, weaponised her anguish and rage at the murder of her child. She delivered her revenge hot with a combination of bleak, poetic wit, erotic power and decisive brutality. It was a remarkable performance which ran the gamut of human, and particularly female, experience, and in which Knowles embodied both Everywoman and the haughtiest of aristocrats.” ·

Best Ensemble

Sponsored by Equity

Waiting for Godot, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

“Beautiful, mysterious, and as poignant as it is funny, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot is universally recognised as one of the greatest plays of the 20th century; and many of those who saw it rated last September’s Lyceum production as the finest staging of it they had ever seen. It’s a play that famously revolves around the figures of the two old tramps Vladimir and Estragon, brilliant played at the Lyceum by Brian Cox and Bill Paterson. But the success of this perfectly poised drama depends on every element of the production working in harmony, and each of the characters – Vladimir, Estragon, their visitors Pozzo and Lucky, and even the little boy who appears to tell them that Mr Godot will not come today – supporting all the others. It’s because it achieved this balance so perfectly, and offered such a masterclass in magnificent acting from every member of the cast, that we are delighted to award this year’s Best Ensemble award to the Waiting For Godot company, with our congratulations on a great Lyceum 50th anniversary show, that also lit up the year in Scottish theatre.”

Best Director

Dominic Hill, This Restless House, Citizens Theatre and National Theatre of Scotland

“The sheer ambition of This Restless House, the range of vision required to bring the story to life, called for a director like Dominic Hill. In a trilogy with many strong elements – the writing, the design, the cast – his hand was the one that pulled it into a triumphant whole.”

Best Design

Laura Hopkins (designer), Nigel Edwards (lighting designer) and Simon Wainwright (video artist), Lanark: A Life in Three Acts, Citizens Theatre and the Edinburgh International Festival in association with Graham Eatough and Sorcha Dallas

“Designer Laura Hopkins along with lighting designer Nigel Edwards and video artist Simon Wainwright, between them made the seemingly impossible possible in an array of stylised creations that involved a virtual Glasgow and the weird world of Unthank along with a colossal realisation of Alasdair Gray himself as well as some amazing graphics of Gray’s drawings.”

Best Music and Sound

Sponsored by Guitar Guitar

Martin Lowe (music arranger and supervisor), Mike Walker (sound designer), the band and cast, Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, National Theatre of Scotland and Live Theatre

“‘Gorgeous’, ‘sublimely rich’ singing, ‘brilliantly’ arranged from a wide variety of music and performed by a ‘thrilling’ band – critics were filled with superlatives when describing the live music used in Our Ladies. Rather than being a theatrical flourish, the music was the linchpin of the production, not only electrifying audiences with the excellence of each number but also giving the characters – individually and as an ensemble – depth and soul

Best Technical Presentation

Sponsored by BECTU

Lanark: A Life in Three Acts, Citizens Theatre and the Edinburgh International Festival in association with Graham Eatough and Sorcha Dallas

“David Greig’s adaptation of Alasdair Gray’s landmark novel was a major theatrical event and an extraordinary technical triumph. The sun-starved world of Unthank and the sinister, authoritarian Institute were brought to life through an extraordinary blend of live action, lighting and sound, animation and projection, all against the backdrop of Laura Hopkins’ impressive set designs. The production was a feast for the senses, with its technical virtuosity aligning seamlessly with the writing, acting and Graham Eatough’s direction.”

Best Production for Children and Young People

Sponsored by Young Scot

Uncanny Valley, Borderline Theatre in co-production with the Gaiety Theatre, commissioned by Edinburgh International Science Festival working in partnership with Imaginate

“Can your best friend really be a robot? And can robots really adapt to think and feel like humans? The story in Rob Drummond’s play, Uncanny Valley, makes one girl’s attachment to her techno-chum into a nail-biting race to re-programme her robot before the local mayor has it destroyed – at the same time, however, Drummond’s interaction with young audiences encourages them to explore, and voice, their own ideas about our relationship with technology and ongoing advances in artificial intelligence. Issue-based theatre is rarely as witty, thought-provoking or as open to audience reactions as this piece for children and young people.”

Best New Play

Zinnie Harris, This Restless House, Citizens Theatre and National Theatre of Scotland

“Zinnie Harris’s This Restless House, a reimagining of Aeschylus’ great trilogy, The Oresteia, combined the ancient Greek epic with a raw and modern sensibility. This 21st-century adaptation of the tale of the troubled royal house of Argos, told from a female perspective, was an unforgettable piece of theatre, powered by an astounding script and electrifying performances.”·

Best Production

Waiting for Godot, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

“Mark Thomson’s lucid, precisely choreographed production got under the skin of a modern·classic, ensuring it was not just a star vehicle for two very well known actors·but a full-blooded ensemble·performance – one of the triumphs of the Royal Lyceum’s·50th-anniversary season and of the whole Scottish theatre calendar.”

The CATS judging panel for 2016 was made up of: Mary Brennan (The Herald), Irene Brown (edinburghguide.com), Mark Brown (The Sunday Herald and the Daily Telegraph), Anna Burnside (Daily Record), Paul F Cockburn (BroadwayBaby), Neil Cooper (The Herald), Michael Cox (Across the Arts), Thom Dibdin (The Stage and AllEdinburghTheatre.com), Mark Fisher (The Guardian), Joyce McMillan (The Scotsman), David Pollock (The Independent), Allan Radcliffe (The Times), Amy Taylor (The Public Reviews and TVBomb), Gareth K Vile (The List) and Joy Watters (Across the Arts).