2017 Winners

Winners were announced at the Festival Theatre Edinburgh, on Sunday 11 June. Special guest presenter was Gavin Mitchell.

Best Male Performance

Sponsored by STV

Billy Mack (Willy Loman), Death of a Salesman, Dundee Rep Ensemble

“Billy Mack’s performance as Willy Loman was unforgettable. He movingly ran the gamut of Willy’s emotions, raging against what life has done to him,·bursting into unfounded optimism and finally, heartbreakingly, the realisation that it has all been for nothing.” Joy Watters, Across the Arts

Best Female Performance

Sponsored by the Scottish Drama Training Network

Nicole Cooper (Coriolanus), Coriolanus, Bard in the Botanics

“As Coriolanus in Bard in the Botanics’ stripped-back production of Shakespeare’s war-time classic, Nicole Cooper took on a role usually associated with unhinged machismo and stomped her way through the Kibble Palace with a whirlwind-like ferocity. This not only gave the play a fresh edge of femininity in a still contemporary work, but pointed to a major actor, who can tackle big roles with a mix of fearlessness and sensitivity.” Neil Cooper, The Herald

Best Ensemble

Sponsored by Equity

Death of a Salesman, Dundee Rep Ensemble

“The best productions of Death of a Salesman put Willy Loman in context, and that’s what the ensemble do here. His sons, wife, neighbour and uncle all prop up Willy’s pain and·amplify his situation. The cast worked together to do this selflessly and brilliantly.” Anna Burnside, Daily Record

Best Director

Zinnie Harris, A Number, Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh in partnership with Edinburgh International Science Festival

“Zinnie Harris’s production of Caryl Churchill’s futuristic drama about cloning reflected brilliantly the careful, sharp-yet-nuanced structure of the play itself. Like a great, modernist concerto, her direction combined enthralling dissonance with a deep emotional and psychological connection.” Mark Brown, Sunday Herald/The Telegraph

Best Design

Shona Reppe (designer) and Simon Wilkinson (lighting designer), Black Beauty, Red Bridge and Traverse Theatre Company

“Designer Shona Reppe brought a punctilious, modeller’s eye to the details of her wonderful horse-box set, enveloped in Simon Wilkinson’s clever lighting, for Black Beauty. This was more than decoration, however, but itself a cleverly versatile stage for the performers to bring all their storytelling abilities, whether as a puppeteer’s booth, New Town party house or farmhouse nursery. When boots can turn into horses and a pink rubber glove into a cow, you know that here magic can be made.” Thom Dibdin, The Stage

Best Music and Sound

Pippa Murphy (sound designer), Karine Polwart (composer and musical director), Ben Seal (live sound) and Mark Whyles (live sound), Wind Resistance, Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh in association with Edinburgh International Festival

“It goes without saying that Karine Polwart’s live score for Wind Resistance was exquisite. The four times winner at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards is no stranger to acclaim. But what made this show more special still was the audio work done by her whole team. Not only did we enjoy the purity of her singing voice, accompanied by tenor guitar, finger piano and live vocal loops, but also the expert mixing of Ben Seal and Mark Whyles and the superb immersive sound design of Pippa Murphy.” Mark Fisher, The Guardian

Best Technical Presentation

Sponsored by BECTU

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh

“The ‘wonder’ in Wonderland simply wouldn’t have happened had it not been for the stellar technical execution of the Royal Lyceum’s Christmas production. Whether it was making Alice fly, allowing the complicated design to flawlessly unfold or ensuring the tea party didn’t literally crash into the audience, the technical team were the unsung heroes behind a brilliant and entertaining production.” Michael Cox, Across the Arts

Best Production for Children and Young People

Sponsored by Young Scot

Black Beauty, Red Bridge and Traverse Theatre Company

“Anna Sewell’s classic story about animal welfare gets an inspired make-over in this production about the lives and hard-luck times of two brothers who perform as a pantomime horse. Hugely funny, but also genuinely moving in bringing the essential themes of Black Beauty – kindness, courage, respect for others – to young audiences.” Mary Brennan, The Herald

Best New Play

Kieran Hurley, Heads Up, Show and Tell and Kieran Hurley

“The combination of lyrical power and sensitive characterisation ensures that Kieran Hurley’s·Heads Up·goes beyond the rhetorical reflection on the end of times and becomes a bold example of the contemporary monologue. Heartfelt and intelligent, it is a worthy winner that is both brutal and compassionate.” Gareth Vile, The List

Best Production

Death of a Salesman, Dundee Rep Ensemble

“Dundee Rep used all the resources of its fine ensemble company to produce a beautiful, memorable and heart-breaking production of Death of a Salesman. The Rep used superb design and sound to set one of the 20th century’s greatest plays in its full historical context, while always remaining fully focused on the profound and enduring human tragedy at the heart of the story.” Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman

The CATS judging panel for 2017 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).