2019 CATS shortlists announced

Friday 10 May 2019

For further information, interviews and images contact: Lesley Booth, 0779 941 4474 / lesley@newcenturypr.com

My Left Right Foot – the Musical by Birds of Paradise and the National Theatre of Scotland. Photograph: Christopher Bowen.
  • Birds of Paradise/National Theatre of Scotland production My Left Right Foot – The Musical tops the shortlists
  • The Traverse theatre scoops 11 nominations across four different productions
  • Five nominations for Ballyturk (Tron Theatre). Four nominations for Lost At Sea (Perth Theatre)
  • Jessica Hardwick, Cora Bissett, Irene Macdougall and Lucianne McEvoy shortlisted for Best Female Performance
  • John Michie, Grant O’Rourke, Lorn Macdonald and Darrell D’Silva shortlisted for Best Male Performance
  • 2019 CATS will be presented at Tramway on Sunday 9 June

A company that initially had its three-year funding withdrawn by Creative Scotland last year, sparking a public outcry, has seen one of its productions top the shortlists for the annual Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland. Birds of Paradise, Scotland’s only professional, disability-led arts organisation, is shortlisted in no fewer than six award categories for My Left Right Foot – The Musical including Best Ensemble, Best Director for Robert Softley Gale, and Best Production. The show, which was co-produced by The National Theatre of Scotland, is a satirical response to the controversial, Oscar -winning film based on the life of Christy Brown. It has just had its international premiere at the World Theatre Festival in Japan and will be staged at the Brighton International Festival next week and in Dundee from 21 – 25 May.

“The initial decision to cut regular funding for Birds of Paradise seemed out of tune with Creative Scotland’s commitment to supporting arts that are by and for everyone,” says Joyce McMillan, co-convenor of The Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland. “Theatre should be inclusive, and this great show demonstrates how Birds of Paradise have become a vital part of Scotland’s theatre scene over the last 25 years, creating award-winning work in which artists with disability and without can work together to produce world-class, thought-provoking entertainment, for audiences everywhere.”

“Not only did Robert Softley Gale’s take on the controversial Oscar-winning film My Left Foot stand up for disabled people’s right to be heard, but it did it in a brilliantly humorous and theatrical way, in one of the finest productions of the year.”

“We are so incredibly thrilled to receive these six CATS nominations for My Left Right Foot – The Musical,” says Robert Softley Gale, Artistic Director of Birds of Paradise. “We created the show in co-production with the National Theatre of Scotland to mark our 25th anniversary year. Making a large-scale musical takes so many talented artists working together and it’s a fantastic testament to them that we’ve received this recognition. It wasn’t so long ago that work by disabled artists was seen as being on the fringes, but now – in 2019 – we can finally have the confidence to say we’re a core part of the arts in Scotland. A huge thanks to the CATS panel for their part in making that so.”

Edinburgh’s Traverse theatre scooped 11 nominations across four different productions – Ulster American, Mouthpiece, What Girls Are Made Of and The Mack. Meanwhile, Glasgow’s Tron Theatre received five nominations for Ballyturk and Perth Theatre at Horsecross received four nominations for Lost at Sea.

Holby City star John Michie is nominated for Best Male Performance for his role as The Fireman in The Mack, Rob Drummond’s response (for the Glasgow lunchtime theatre A Play, a Pie and a Pint and the Traverse) to the fires at The Glasgow School of Art. Also nominated are Lorn Macdonald (Declan in Mouthpiece – The Traverse Theatre Company), Darrell D’Silva (Jay Conway in Ulster American – The Traverse Theatre Company) and Outlander actor (and 2015 CATS winner) Grant O’Rourke (Two in Ballyturk – Tron Theatre Company).

Jessica Hardwick, who won the 2018 CATS Best Female Performance award for Knives in Hens, is nominated again, this year for her role as Roxane in the National Theatre of Scotland/Citizens Theatre/Royal Lyceum Edinburgh production of Cyrano de Bergerac. Also shortlisted are Cora Bissett (Cora in What Girls Are Made Of – Traverse Theatre Company), Irene Macdougall (Kate Keller in All My Sons, Dundee Rep Ensemble) and Lucianne McEvoy (Ruth Davenport in Ulster American, Traverse Theatre Company).

Red Bridge Arts (who won the 2018 CATS Award for Best Production for Children and Young People with Andy Cannon for Space Ape) makethe shortlist again this yearwithStick By Me, a piece cocreated with Andy Manley and Ian Cameron. The shortlist also includes Baba Yaga (a collaboration between Edinburgh’s Imaginate and Windmill Theatre Company from Adelaide), The End of Eddy (an Untitled Projects co-production with London’s Unicorn Theatre)andNests (a collaboration between Frozen Charlotte and Stadium Rock).

Scotland continues to be a vibrant home for new writing with over 80 new plays eligible for the 2019 CATS. The shortlists see a fourth nomination for two-time CATS winner Kieran Hurley (Mouthpiece), and first-time nominations in the playwright category for David Ireland (Ulster American) and Robert Softley Gale (My Left Right Foot – The Musical). Shona Reppe picks up a second playwright nomination, this time for a piece co-created with Christine Johnston and Rosemary Myers (Baba Yaga)

For full lists of nominations across the ten award categories see Notes for Editors.

Collaboration continued to characterise theatre produced in Scotland in 2018-9. The nominated productions not only brought together Scottish companies and practitioners, but also include UK-wide and international collaborations including Untitled Projects with London’s Unicorn Theatre and Imaginate with Windmill Theatre Company from Adelaide, Australia

“In these divisive times, it’s heartening to see theatre companies reaching beyond Scotland to make cultural connections with the rest of the world,” says Mark Fisher, co-convenor of the CATS. “In previous years, we have celebrated collaborations with companies from Istanbul, Minneapolis, Naples, Norway, Singapore, Tianjin and elsewhere. Let’s hope such artistic cross-pollination continues to enrich theatre at home and abroad.”

The 2019 CATS will be presented at Tramway on Sunday 9 June. Tickets priced £16.50 (£11 for Young Scot card holders). Transaction free of £1.50 for online and £1.75 for telephone bookings. Book in person at. 25 Albert Drive, Glasgow G41, by telephone on 0845 330 3501 and online via https://tickets.glasgowconcerthalls.com/

For more information on the CATS visit: https://criticsawards.theatrescotland.com

The 2019 CATS were generously supported by: STV (Best Female Performance), Equity (Best Ensemble), Scottish Drama Training Network (Best Director), and BECTU (Best Technical), and Young Scot (Best Production for Children and Young People), and also by the Mackintosh Foundation, BBC Scotland Radio Drama and The List.


Notes for Editors

The CATS judging panel for 2019 comprised Mary Brennan (The Herald), Mark Brown (Herald on Sunday/Sunday National 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 Skinny) and Joy Watters (Across the Arts).


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