About the CATS

Guest presenter Blythe Duff at the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland at Perth Theatre, 2018 Picture by Graeme Hart.

The Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS) are organised annually and awarded by the theatre critics of Scotland to celebrate the best Scottish theatre achievements in the theatre year May–April.

The first CATS were awarded for the year 2002–03 in five categories: best production, male performance, female performance, design and new play.

Since then they have been awarded annually in early June for the original five categories and for five additional categories: director, technical presentation, production for children and young people, ensemble and music and sound. Eligible shows should be substantially produced in Scotland, or developed, rehearsed and premiered in Scotland.

Who are the judges?

To be a CATS judge, a critic should:

  • review theatre created in Scotland in print, on radio or TV, or online.
  • write reviews throughout the year.
  • see theatre across Scotland, not just in one town. (An exception may be made in the case of a critic with knowledge of an underrepresented area.)
  • see professional theatre of all scales and types. (An exception may be made in the case of a critic with knowledge of an underrepresented genre.)
  • see a high enough percentage of all professional theatre made in Scotland to make a meaningful contribution to the judging meeting.
  • be professional about their role as a critic whether or not they are paid for their work.
  • pay a small annual fee as a contribution towards CATS running costs.

How are the judges selected?

  • Membership is by invitation from the CATS judges.
  • The judges appoint a membership officer whose job is to ensure that new judges are proposed to the existing judging panel in line with the criteria above. The membership officer’s recommendations are discussed at a meeting that takes place soon after the annual CATS ceremony.
  • It is expected that all newspapers, magazines and websites with regular, high quality, nationwide coverage of theatre made in Scotland should be represented on the CATS panel.
  • There is no limit on the number of judges.
  • Judges are invited on a non-discriminatory basis and in line with equal opportunities legislation.

How long do they remain a judge?

  • There is no limit to the length of time a judge may remain a member.
  • If a judge’s circumstances change and they no longer meet the membership criteria above, they will be required to step down, either permanently or temporarily.