A–Z of Scottish theatre recognised in the 2016 CATS shortlists

Press release 16 May 2016

  • Lanark, This Restless House and Waiting for Godot lead the nominations.
  • 20 different productions recognised in 2016 shortlists.
  • 179 new shows produced in Scotland in the last twelve months.
  • Award ceremony to take place at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh on Sunday 12 June.

FROM Angela Darcy to Zinnie Harris, the A–Z of theatre produced in Scotland over the last year has been recognised in the shortlists for the 14th annual Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS) which were released today. Heading the list are two productions from Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre – Lanark: A Life in Three Acts and This Restless House – both of which are nominated in five categories. Meanwhile in Edinburgh, the Royal Lyceum Theatre’s production of. Waiting for Godot, which starred Brian Cox and Bill Paterson, gets four nominations.

The Citizens Theatre co-production with the Edinburgh International Festival of Lanark: A Life in Three Acts, based on the seminal novel by Alasdair Gray, receives five nominations including Best Production. It also results in a third Best Male Performance nomination for actor Sandy Grierson. Also receiving five nominations is the Citz co-production with the National Theatre of Scotland of Zinnie Harris’s This Restless House (based on the Oresteia). It is recognised in categories including Best Director (Dominic Hill) and Best Production, and results in a first Best Female Performance nomination for Pauline Knowles.

The Royal Lyceum’s production of Waiting for Godot, meanwhile, is nominated in four categories including Best Director (Mark Thomson), Best Production and Best Ensemble, recognising the joint contribution of actors Brian Cox, Bill Paterson, John Bett and Benny Young.

Joining Sandy Grierson in the Best Male Performance category are Cliff Burnett, Barrie Hunter and Paul Higgins (known to millions as Malcolm Tucker’s sidekick, Jamie McDonald, in The Thick of It and In the Loop). Meanwhile, Maureen Beattie receives her third CATS nomination for Best Female Performance alongside Pauline Knowles, Angela Darcy, and EastEnders actor Emmanuella Cole.

For full shortlists see Notes for Editors.

“This has been another vintage year for theatre in Scotland with no fewer than 20 productions recognised in the shortlists,” says Mark Fisher co-convenor of CATS.  “That so many different productions have made the shortlists demonstrates tangibly the breadth of creative talent in Scottish theatre today.”

“Theatre is a collaborative art-form, and once again we have seen some incredibly fruitful partnerships both within and outwith Scotland,” adds Joyce McMillan, CATS co-convenor. “For example, two co-commissions from the Edinburgh International Science Festival – Uncanny Valley and Lost at Sea – make the shortlist for Best Production for Children and Young People, and a co-production between Scotland and Norway, Drift by Vision Mechanics of Leith, is nominated in three categories.  And our most nominated production, Lanark, is a co-production between one of our greatest companies, the Citizens’, and the Edinburgh International Festival.”

“Once again, our nominations range in scale from short shows staged on a minimal budget to massive main stage productions featuring global stars; so we’ll be celebrating the sheer diversity of Scottish theatre, as well as its greatest achievements, when we get together at the Lyceum on 12 June.” 

Two new award sponsors were also confirmed today. BECTU is the new sponsor of the Best Technical Presentation Award and the Scottish Drama Training Network has come on board as sponsor of Best Male Performance. They join STV (Best Female Performance), Equity (Best Ensemble), Guitar Guitar (Best Music and Sound) and Young Scot (Best Production for Children and Young People) as award sponsors and the three CATS general supporters: The List, The Mackintosh Foundation and BBC Scotland Radio Drama.

“We are delighted to welcome new award sponsors BECTU and the Scottish Drama Training Network,” adds Mark Fisher. “The support of all our sponsors is greatly appreciated. It shows how much the contribution of the many creative people that go into making theatre is valued.”

The 2016 Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland will be presented at a glittering ceremony on the afternoon of Sunday 12 June, 2016 at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh. Tickets priced £15/£10 (students) from http://lyceum.org.uk/whats-on/production/critics-awards-for-theatre-in-2016

Further information on the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland visit: www.criticsawards.theatrescotland.com and follow on Twitter @catsawards  #CATS16

For further information, images, interviews and press tickets for the ceremony contact:

Lesley Booth, 0779 941 4474 / lesleyt@newcenturypr.com

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Notes for Editors

• 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.

• 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 (Broadway Baby), 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).

• 179 productions were eligible for the 2916 CATS of which 100 which were eligible for the New Writing Award and 18 for the work for the Children and Young People Award.

Outlander’s O’Rourke is Best Actor as Royal Lyceum scoops six awards at the 2015 CATS

Press release 14 June 2015

  • Three Royal Lyceum productions recognised in 2015 CATS awards including best Male Performance Award for Outlander star Grant O’Rourke in The Venetian Twins.
  • Amy Manson wins a second Best Female Performance Award
  • Catherine Wheels adds to tally of Best Production for Children and Young People Awards
  • Junction 25 recognised with special CATS Whiskers Award
  • Awards presented by acclaimed comedian and actor Karen Dunbar and Tron artistic director Andy Arnold.
  • The Royal Lyceum Theatre dominated the 2015 CATS awards, which were presented at a ceremony in Glasgow’s Tron Theatre today, Sunday 14 June 2015.

No fewer than three different Lyceum productions were recognised in the awards. The Venetian Twins and Bondagers picked up one award each while The Caucasian Chalk Circle garnered four awards. Outlander star Grant O’Rourke won his first CATS award (for the Venetian Twins), while Bondagers picked up the Best Design Award. Meanwhile, Best Female Performance (Amy Manson), Best Ensemble, Director (Mark Thomson) and the supreme award, Best Production, went to The Caucasian Chalk Circle. The awards were presented by acclaimed comedian and actor Karen Dunbar and Tron artistic director Andy Arnold.

In a remarkable season at the Lyceum, Mark Thomson’s production of Brecht’s great play stood out for its scale, ambition and unabashed theatricality. 

“This has been another wonderful year for theatre in Scotland, and it speaks volumes about the quality of the work being produced at the Royal Lyceum that no fewer than three of its productions have triumphed against such strong competition,” says CATS co-convenor Mark Fisher. “Amy Manson, whose affecting portrayal of Grusha in The Caucasian Chalk Circle won her a second Best Female Performance award and Grant O’Rourke, who picks his first Best Male Performance award for his superb performance in The Venetian Twins, were both worth winners for roles in two very contrasting Royal Lyceum productions.”

“This is nevertheless a challenging time for theatre in Scotland with three of this year’s winning companies facing uncertain futures,” adds co-convenor Joyce McMillan. “As the Royal Lyceum enters is 50th anniversary year it has to cope with a major cut in funding. Slope, meanwhile, may be the last Untitled Productions show in Scotland for some time. Now we appear to have lost The Arches, a trailblazing company that is one of the most tangible legacies of Glasgow’s year as European Capital of Culture. We all sincerely wish that ways will be found to ensure the work commissioned and created by these wonderful companies continues to be part of Scotland’s rich theatrical landscape.” 

Commenting on the situation at the Arches, its founder, Andy Arnold, said: “I’m extremely sad that this has happened and feel particularly for the long-serving and hard-working staff. Most of all, Glasgow has lost a unique and extraordinary arts venue – a breeding ground for so much artistic talent – and the cultural profile of this city will be damaged as a result.”

Elsewhere, Catherine Wheels added to its tally of CATS, garnering its sixth Best Production for Children and Young People Award for Voice Thief, and Scotland’s two leading commissioners of new work – A Play, A Pie and A Pint and the Traverse – picked up the Best New Play Award for Martin McCormick’s Squash. The Best Music and Sound Award went to Last Dream (On Earth), a Kai Fischer production in association with National Theatre of Scotland and Tron Theatre, Glasgow. Also recognised in the 2015 Awards was Stewart Laing’s Untitled Projects. Slope, produced in partnership with KILTR, Citizens Theatre and Traverse Theatre Company, won the Best Technical Presentation Award.

Theatre by and for children and young people continues to grow in quality and quantity in Scotland. This year the critics awarded the special CATS Whiskers accolade to Junction 25 for outstanding achievement in pioneering and high-quality work by young people. Since it was set up ten years ago by Tashi Gore and Jess Thorpe, with the support of former Tramway producer Steve Slater, it has grown into one of the most critically acclaimed youth theatre companies in the UK. Vitally Junction 25’s work has the young people at the heart of its creative process giving powerful insights into teenage experience, not only for other young people, but for adult audiences too.

This year two new supporters have joined the CATS. Young Scot came on board as a sponsor of the Best Production for Children and Young People Award and Guitar Guitar as sponsors of the Best Music and Sound Award, joining STV (Best Female Performance), Equity (Best Ensemble) and Robertson Taylor W&P Longreach – Theatre Insurance Brokers (Best New Play). The CATS are also supported by BBC Scotland Radio Drama, the Mackintosh Foundation and The List.

Louise Macdonald, chief executive of Young Scot said: “We know here at Young Scot that there is no shortage of creative talent in every community right across Scotland.

“We are really happy to be part of the CATS 2015 Awards which shines a spotlight on our brilliant young Scots and celebrates the amazing work they are doing to bring the arts and theatre to children and young people.

“Scotland should be proud and excited by the talent that exists here and we hope that this award might motivate other young people to get involved.”

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For further information, images and interviews contact:

Lesley Booth 0779 941 4474 lesley@newcenturypr.com

Notes for Editors

* In 2015, 196 productions were eligible for the CATS including 78 new plays.

* The CATS judging panel for 2015 was made up of: Mary Brennan (The Herald), Irene Brown (edinburghguide.com), Mark Brown (The Sunday Herald and the Daily Telegraph), 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).

Karen Dunbar and Andy Arnold to present the 2015 CATS

Press release 3 June 2015

Leading comedian and actor Karen Dunbar is to present the 2015 Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS) it was announced today. The Chewin’ the Fat star, who has made a reputation as a stage actor with regular appearances in the King’s, Glasgow, panto, and more recently took on the role of Winnie in Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days at the Tron Theatre, will be joined as presenter by Andy Arnold, artistic director of the Tron Theatre and founder of Glasgow’s Arches.

“We are delighted that Karen and Andy are to present this year’s awards,” says CATS co-convenor, Joyce McMillan. “Karen is a real star of both stage and television, well loved by audiences for her appearances in Chewin’ the Fat, and for unforgettable comic performances as a far-from-conventional Fairy Godmother in the Glasgow King’s panto.  The range of her work is amazing – she played a key role alongside the dancing Tunnock’s Tea Cakes in last year’s Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, and has recently taken on one of the most challenging of all theatre roles, Winnie in Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days, at the Tron, where we will hold this year’s CATS ceremony.

“Andy Arnold, who directed Karen’s acclaimed performance in that show, has been one of the most important figures in Scottish theatre for more than 30 years, particularly through his trailblazing work at the Arches – whose future is sadly currently under threat – and now through the terrific programme of work he produces and hosts at the Tron, one of the true hubs of Scottish theatre. We are delighted to bring the CATS Awards ceremony back to the Tron for a second time, not least because Andy and his team are such wonderful, supportive hosts to us, as they are to so many Scottish theatre companies and artists.

The 2015 CATS shortlists are dominated by the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, which garnered no fewer than 17 nominations for six different productions, and is recognised in eight of the ten CATS categories. 

The 2015 CATS Award ceremony will take place in Glasgow’s Tron Theatre on the afternoon of Sunday 14 June. Tickets, priced £15 available in person, by telephone on 0141 552 4267 and online via www.tron.co.uk

For further information the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland visit:

www.criticsawards.theatrescotland.com

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

Listing

Sunday 14 June 2015 at 3.30pm

The Tron Theatre

Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland 2015

Join the cream of Scottish theatre as the annual award ceremony returns to the Tron. The ceremony is followed by the opportunity to mingle with the winners.

Tickets priced £15 from the box office, by telephone on 0141 552 4267 and online at http://www.tron.co.uk/event/critics-awards-for-theatre-in-scotland-2015 

Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh heads the list with 17 nominations

Press release 14 May 2015

  • Untitled Projects follows success of Paul Bright’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner in 2014 with four nominations for Slope
  • Catherine Wheels secures four nominations for The Voice Thief, its 11th nominated show 
  • Tramway-based Junction 25 Awarded CATS’ Whiskers
  • Young Scot and Guitar Guitar join award sponsors
  • 2015 Awards ceremony will be at the Tron Theatre on Sunday 14 June

Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre heads the nominations in the 2015 Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland which were announced today, 14 May 2015. The shortlist recognises six different Royal Lyceum productions, which appear in eight of the ten award categories. Meanwhile, Untitled Projects follows the success of Paul Bright’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner in the 2014 CATS with four nominations for Slope, a co-production with KILTR, Citizens Theatre and Traverse Theatre Company. 

The quality of work produced in Scotland by and for children and young people was also highlighted with Glasgow-based Junction 25 being awarded the special CATS’ Whiskers accolade for ten remarkable years of creativity. This is the second year in a row that the special award has been given to an organisation with young people at its heart, following Imaginate Festival last year. Meanwhile, Catherine Wheels’ tally of CATS-nominated shows has reached 11 with its four nods for The Voice Thief  in this year’s shortlists.

“As the Royal Lyceum enters its 50th year, it is particularly apt that the company has attracted such a wealth of nominations for its recent season in which it fired on all cylinders,” says CATS co-convenor Mark Fisher. “What’s also thrilling is the strength and variety of Scottish theatre performances across the board, ranging from lunchtime plays to mainstage classics, from experimental sound-based drama to promenade shows for children. It’s a real privilege for the CATS judges to be able to celebrate such bold and inventive work.”

“This last year has seen another rich and diverse programme of theatre across the country as the span of the nominated productions illustrates,” says Joyce McMillan, CATS co-convenor. “Theatre by and for children and young people continues to grow in quality and quantity with Catherine Wheels this year adding another four nominations to its tally. We are also delighted to present our special CATS’ Whiskers Award to Junction 25. Since it was set up ten years ago by Tashi Gore and Jess Thorpe, with the support of former Tramway producer Steve Slater, it has grown into one of the most critically acclaimed youth theatre companies in the UK. Junction’s work has the young people at the heart of its creative process. The result is a theatre which gives powerful insights into teenage experience, not only for other young people, but for adult audiences, too.”

“As well as a vintage year at the Royal Lyceum, we have seen another wonderful production from Untitled Projects,” she adds. “For over 20 years, director Stewart Laing has been at the forefront of Scottish theatre from early productions such as Happy Days at Tramway through The Salon Project to last year’s Paul Bright’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner. It is sad to think that Slope may well be Untitled Projects’ last production in Scotland. The company’s contribution to our cultural life will be greatly missed.”

The six Royal Lyceum Theatre productions recognised in the 2015 CATS are Bondagers, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Faith Healer, Hedda Gabler, Kill Johnny Glendenning and The Venetian Twins, with three of them being shortlisted for the Best Production Award. Commenting on the success of the theatre’s productions, Artistic Director Mark Thomson said:

“The company and I are thrilled that so many of our productions have been celebrated by the CATS Awards this year and in my penultimate season here at the Lyceum. It’s a wonderfully rewarding finale to a year where everyone who works here, the artists and staff have journeyed with creativity and hard work on some amazing pieces so that the people of Edinburgh and beyond can have great nights out at the theatre.”

Elsewhere, actor Amy Manson picked up her third CATS nomination (Grusha: The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh) and there were second nominations for Brian Ferguson (Hamlet:  Hamlet, Citizens Theatre), Keith Fleming, (Buck: The Call of the Wild, A Play, a Pie and a Pint), Grant O’Rourke (Zanetto and Tonino:  The Venetian Twins, Royal Lyceum Theatre) and Meg Fraser (Susan: Woman in Mind, Dundee Rep).

78 new plays were produced in the year from May 2014–April 2015 with Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre and Glasgow’s A Play, A Pie and A Pint continuing to commission and provide a vital platform for new work. The organisations jointly picked up two nominations in the best new play category in 2015, recognising the continuing contribution of the late David McLennan’s ground-breaking initiative to Scottish theatre.

For full list of nominations for the 2015 CATS go here.

It was also announced today that Young Scot had come on board as a sponsor of the Best Production for Children and Young People Award and Guitar Guitar as sponsors of the Best Music and Sound Award, joining STV (Best Female Performance), Equity (Best Ensemble) and Robertson Taylor W&P Longreach – Theatre Insurance Brokers (Best New Play). The awards are also supported by BBC Scotland Radio Drama, the Mackintosh Foundation and The List.

“We are delighted that Young Scot and Guitar Guitar have come on board this year as award sponsors and are grateful for the continuing support of all our event and category sponsors,” say Joyce McMillan and Mark Fisher. “Their contribution enables us to stage our annual celebration of Scottish theatre and the vital contribution that it makes to the cultural life of our nation.” 

The CATS Award ceremony returns to Glasgow’s Tron Theatre this year. It will be held on the afternoon of Sunday 14 June. Tickets, priced £15 available in person, by telephone on 0141 552 4267 and online via www.tron.co.uk

For further information the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland visit:

www.criticsawards.theatrescotland.com

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

Listing

Sunday 14 June 2015 at 3.30pm

The Tron Theatre

Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland 2015

Join the cream of Scottish theatre as the annual award ceremony returns to the Tron. The ceremony is followed by the opportunity to mingle with the winners.

Tickets priced £15 from the box office, by telephone on 0141 552 4267 and online at http://www.tron.co.uk/event/critics-awards-for-theatre-in-scotland-2015 

Acclaimed stage and screen actor Bill Paterson to present 2014 CATS

Press release 4 June 2014

Acclaimed stage and screen actor Bill Paterson is to present the 2014 Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS) it was announced today, 3 June 2014. Glasgow-born Paterson, who is currently working on the new screen drama Outlander, will join the cream of Scottish theatre at the Citizens in Glasgow this coming Sunday, 8 June. 

“We are delighted that Bill is able to join us for the 2014 Awards this weekend at the Citz,” says Joyce McMillan, co-convenor of CATS. “Bill is a true star of stage and film who began his professional career at the Citizens, with the Theatre for Youth company that later became TAG, and was a member of the legendary first 7:84 Scotland company that created and performed The Cheviot, The Stag And The Black Black Oil.  It will be such a thrill to have him with us on Sunday.”

“This has been a good year for Scottish theatre,” says Bill Paterson, “and I am delighted to be able to celebrate it on Sunday!”

Known for his many film and TV appearances including The Singing Detective, The Crow Road, Sea of Souls and Criminal Justice, Paterson is also a committed stage actor. A founder member of 7:84, he was also a member of the company which performed John Byrne’s first play, Writer’s Cramp. Paterson was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for his performance as Schweik in Schweik in the Second World War. He is also a patron of Scottish Youth Theatre and his book of Glasgow stories, Tales from the Back Green, was published in 2008.

Previous presenters of the CATS include Alan Cumming, Vicky Featherstone, Maureen & Johnny Beattie and John Byrne.

The 2014 Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland ceremony will take place at the Citizens Theatre at 3.30pm on 8 June. Among the leading productions up for awards are Dragon, Huff, Crime and Punishment and the Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler with Blythe Duff nominated for the Best Female Performance award for the second year in a row. A few remaining tickets priced £15/£10 (students) are available from the box office, by telephone on 0141 429 0022 and online at www.citz.co.uk 

For further information the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland visit:

www.criticsawards.theatrescotland.com

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For further CATS information, images and interviews contact:

Lesley Booth, New Century PR, 0779 941 4474 lesley@newcenturypr.com

Best Actor Awards for Alan Cumming and Blythe Duff at 2013 CATS

Press release 9 June 2013

  • Nine productions share the ten awards 
  • Stellar Quines picks up Best Production Award 
  • for The List
  • Perth Theatre scoops Best Director and Best Ensemble Awards for The Seafarer
  • Rob Drummond wins Best New Play Award 
  • for Quiz Show
  • Vicky Featherstone honoured with a CATS Whiskers Award

ALAN Cumming and Blythe Duff won the Best Actor Awards at the 2013 Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS) in a ceremony that honoured no fewer than nine different productions. The contribution to Scottish theatre made by Vicky Featherstone, the inaugural artistic director of the National Theatre of Scotland (NTS), was also recognised at the event in the presentation of a special CATS Whiskers Award. 

The 2013 CATS were presented by one of Scotland’s leading playwrights, John Byrne, at a sell-out event that also marked the 50th anniversary of the Traverse Theatre.

“The last twelve months have seen an astonishing array of theatrical productions from one-man shows to all-singing, all-dancing extravaganzas,” says CATS co-convenor, Joyce McMillan. “That nine different productions are recognised in the ten award categories at this year’s CATS speaks volumes about the calibre of work being produced across the country.”

“The role of the National Theatre of Scotland as producer and co-producer over the last sevwn years has been seminal,” adds CATS co-convenor, Mark Fisher. “In recognition of the contribution to Scottish theatre that Vicky Featherstone made in her time with the NTS we are delighted to present her with a CATS Whiskers Award.”

“I am obviously delighted to be the recipient of the CATS Whiskers award,” says Featherstone. “The eight years I spent with the National Theatre of Scotland creating and producing work on stages across Scotland was an extraordinary period in my life and one which will always have a special place in my heart.

“I learnt more about theatre, what it is for and its true value in our lives than I could ever have imagined. For that transformation I am eternally grateful. I am deeply proud too of the bravery, talent and passion of the Scottish artists and the hunger and challenge of the audiences I had the pleasure of working with and for. 

“We are all the cat’s whiskers, every person who bought a ticket, stood in the cold, uttered a word on stage, made one idea come to life, every person who has worked with us. Congratulations to all who shared the early years of the National Theatre of Scotland’s journey with me. This is for all of us. And good luck too for the next precious part of that journey. I can’t wait to be amazed.”

Best Male and Female Performance Awards this year went to Alan Cumming and Blythe Duff. Cumming won the Best Male Performance Award for “an unforgettable, bravura performance” in the National Theatre of Scotland’s one-man Macbeth, “one of the most memorable moments in Scottish theatre this year.” Speaking from New York, where the play is currently running, Cumming said, “I’m very grateful to the Scottish theatre critics, especially as Macbeth is the thing I am most proud of in my whole career. Thank you very much, it really means a lot to me for something I feel so proud of to be honoured by my country.” 

The Best Female Performance Award went to former Taggart star, Blythe Duff, for a “thrillingly ambiguous and unsentimental performance in which she never let us be certain whether she was an innocent victim or a calculating psychopath.” Duff played convicted husband-killer, Fay Black, meeting her estranged daughter for the first time in 15 years in Iron, a Firebrand Theatre Company production in association with Heart of Hawick. 

The hotly contested Best Production Award, in which five rather than the usual four productions were shortlisted, went to Stella Quines for The List, starring Maureen Beattie “a production that was perfectly formed in every delicate detail, like a Faberge egg.” 

Perth Theatre’s production of Conor McPherson’s The Seafarer won a Best Director Award for Rachel O’Riordan, cementing her position as one of the finest and most visionary directors in the country. “O’Riordan bypassed any temptation to keep things merely ordinary, opting instead for a fearless approach which allowed her all-male cast to soar in what was clearly a labour of love.” That all-male cast of five actors picked up the Best Ensemble Award for performances “that fitted together in a way that really sustained the audience’s belief in the weird, off-kilter world of that play.”

In a year when the Traverse Theatre celebrates 50 years of supporting new Scottish writing it was fitting that the Best New Play Award should be won by one of its productions. Rob Drummond’s Quiz Show was “a twisting, duplicitous script which created an elaborate game show, in all its jollity and public glare, before moving off into altogether more unforgiving territory. Audience members laughed along at first before realising their complicity has been there from the beginning, woven into every word of the script.” 

The considerable contribution to theatre for children and young people being made by the macrobert, Stirling was underlined as it won the award in this category for the second year running. Its production of Sonata for a Man and a Boy “took the audience on a journey that was funny, inventive and ultimately profound.”

The Best Music and Sound Award in 2013 went to Hilary Brooks, music director of the Pitlochry Festival Theatre, for the  “sheer skill, brilliance and ambition” in her full-scale, Hollywood musical production of White Christmas. Meanwhile, the Best Design Award went to the team behind Ménage à Trois, a production by the National Theatre of Scotland in partnership with Claire Cunningham and Gail Sneddon of a “greatly moving and poetic work,” which was “a thing of wonder whose promise chimed perfectly with its reality”. The Best Technical Presentation Award went to Random Accomplice’s The Incredible Adventures of See Thru Sam. Jamie MacDonald’s fluid black and white animations “added a whole new – and appropriate, and clever – dimension to the story of the orphaned teenage boy and his obsession with comic book heroes.”

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

John Byrne to present 2013 Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland

Press release 5 June 2013

  • Vicky Featherstone to be recognised with special CATS Whiskers Award

THE creative genius behind The Slab Boys trilogy and Tutti Frutti, John Byrne, is to present the 2013 Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS) and the first artistic director of the National Theatre of Scotland is to be recognised by a CATS Whiskers Award it was announced today, 5 June 2013.

“We are thrilled that John Byrne will join us at this year’s CATS ceremony,” says Joyce McMillan, co-convenor of the CATS. “John has had a long and fruitful relationship with the Traverse, with many of his plays premiering there. As we celebrate this year’s CATS Awards at the Traverse, a theatre with a worldwide reputation for new writing, we are especially pleased that our guest presenter will be a playwright, and one whose work has had a transforming impact on a whole generation of Scottish theatremakers.”

“Over the years the Traverse has done so much to promote new work by Scottish writers,” adds Mark Fisher co-convenor of the CATS. “In the 1970s it had the foresight to support John’s debut work, which was a ground-breaking moment in Scottish theatre. And that support for new talent continues to this day. It is no surprise that three of the nominations for Best New Play in the 2013 CATS are Traverse productions or co-productions.”

“I am delighted to be part of the CATS 2013,” says John Byrne. “It is tantamount to passing on the ‘baton’ to a future generation of young theatre practitioners and sending them back into the fray with renewed energy and vigour – all of them winners in my book.”

“We’re delighted at the news that John Byrne will be playing such an important part in the CATS Award ceremony as a key figure in the history of the Traverse and the landscape of Scottish theatre,”  adds Orla O’Loughlin, artistic director of the Traverse Theatre. “A true artist who is as cutting-edge now as when his work debuted at the Traverse, we are thrilled that he will join us for this special event in our 50th year.”

One of Scotland’s great polymaths, Byrne was born in Paisley in 1940. He was destined to work in the carpet factories that form the setting of his debut trilogy before being accepted as a Fine Art student at The Glasgow School of Art. In a career spanning almost 40 years he has written for the stage, radio and TV with highlights including The Slab Boys, Tutti Frutti and Your Cheatin’ Heart, and versions of Russian classics The Government Inspector, Uncle Vanya and The Cherry Orchard.  Premiering in Edinburgh in 1978, The Slab Boys went on to be staged in New York with a cast that included Kevin Bacon, Val Kilmer and Sean Penn. Byrne is also an acclaimed artist. In the early ‘60s he designed covers for Penguin Books and later went on to design record covers for artists including Donovan, The Beatles, Gerry Rafferty and Bill Connolly. Several of his paintings are in the collection of the National Galleries of Scotland and he has had a number of high profile exhibitions in recent years. 

The CATS Whiskers is an occasional award given to celebrate an outstanding achievement in Scottish theatre. The first director of the National Theatre of Scotland, Vicky Featherstone, who is now the artistic director of the Royal Court in London, will be only the second recipient of this special award.

“Vicky has made an outstanding contribution to Scottish Theatre,” says Joyce McMillan. “Under her guidance the National Theatre of Scotland has grown into an internationally acclaimed institution producing many world-beating shows from global hits Black Watch and The Strange Undoing Of Prudencia Hart to mainstage versions of Peer Gynt and Men Should Weep, and dozens of inspiring smaller-scale projects that have played in theatre and halls across Scotland.”

“We believe that Vicky made an absolutely brilliant job of a historic and immensely complex task, particularly in taking on – ·and making her own – the idea of a national ·theatre ‘without walls. ·It is difficult to imagine any other director who could have led the NTS through its opening years with such a combination of skill, creativity, and real, passionate engagement with Scotland and its stories,” she adds.

“The quality of the work produced and co-produced by the National Theatre of Scotland since its foundation has been recognised by the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland on many occasions,” adds Mark Fisher. “This year the NTS has received nominations for no fewer than six different shows: Macbeth, A Doll’s House, The Guid Sisters, Ménage à Trois, Ignition and The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish.”

“I am obviously delighted to be the recipient of the CATS Whiskers award,” says Vicky Featherstone. “The eight years I spent with the National Theatre of Scotland creating and producing work on stages across Scotland was an extraordinary period in my life and one which will always have a special place in my heart. I learnt more about theatre, what it is for and its true value in our lives than I could ever have imagined. For that transformation I am eternally grateful. I am deeply proud too of the bravery, talent and passion of the Scottish artists and the hunger and challenge of the audiences I had the pleasure of working with and for. We are all the cats whiskers, every person who bought a ticket, stood in the cold, uttered a word on stage, made one idea come to life, every person who has worked with us. Congratulations to all who shared the early years of the National Theatre  of Scotland’s journey with me. This is for all of us. And good luck too for the next precious part of that journey. I can’t wait to be amazed.”

Now in their 11th year, the prestigious CATS recognise the vibrancy and quality of theatre produced in Scotland. The 2013 nominations range from large-scale productions to solo performances and encompass both theatre-based and site-specific work. No fewer than 27 different productions staged across Scotland from Shetland to the Borders have made the CATS shortlists this year underlining the calibre of the work being produced throughout the country. 

The 2013 Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland, will be presented at a sell-out event on Sunday 9 June 2013. For further information the CATS visit:

www.criticsawards.theatrescotland.com

Ends

For further CATS information, images and interviews contact:

Lesley Booth, New Century PR , 0779 941 4474 lesley@newcenturypr.com

Royal Lyceum and National Theatre of Scotland head the field as 2013 CATS Shortlists announced

Press release 9 May 2013

  • Royal Lyceum and National Theatre of Scotland head the field with 8 nominations each
  • The Citizens Theatre and Traverse Theatre each receive 6 nominations
  • 2012 CATS celebrity host, Alan Cumming, is shortlisted for Best Male Performance 
  • Dominic Hill becomes most recognised director securing his twelfth nomination
  • 2013 CATS Awards will be presented on Sunday 9 June 2013 as part of the Traverse Theatre’s 50th anniversary celebration.

The shortlists for the 2013 Critics’ Awards for Theatre on Scotland were announced today, 9 May 2013. Now in their 11th year, the prestigious CATS recognise the vibrancy and quality of theatre produced in Scotland. The 2013 nominations range from large-scale productions to solo performances and encompass both theatre-based and site-specific work. No fewer than 27 different productions staged across Scotland from Shetland to the Borders have made the CATS shortlists this year underlining the calibre of the work being produced throughout the country. 

“This has been a terrific year for some of Scotland’s best-known theatre companies, with the Lyceum, the Citizens, the National Theatre of Scotland and the Traverse leading a very strong field,” says CATS co-convenor, Joyce McMillan. “There are signs that the trend towards co-productions between major companies is producing shows of outstanding scale and quality.”

 “It’s also a real pleasure, though, to be able to welcome many newcomers to the 2013 nominations list, including the Gilded Balloon in Edinburgh, Random Accomplice in Glasgow, the new Firebrand Theatre Company based in the Borders, and the brilliant dance artist and theatremaker Claire Cunningham.  With more than twenty companies represented on our nominations list – and work performed everywhere from Brae in Shetland to Hawick in the Borders – we are delighted to be able to reflect the astonishing diversity and range of Scotland’s theatre scene, and the growing importance of new work in our theatre life.”

“Almost half of our 2013 nominations involve brand new work created by Scottish-based theatre artists over the last year. That is a tremendous tribute to the vitality of Scotland’s theatre scene, and to its terrific future potential.”

“We are delighted that this year’s CATS Awards ceremony will be staged at the Traverse Theatre as part of its 50th anniversary celebration,” says CATS co-convenor, Mark Fisher. “The Traverse has been a trailblazer in commissioning and showcasing new work from Scottish playwrights over the half a century. It is no coincidence that three of the nominations for Best New Play in the 2013 CATS should be Traverse productions or co-productions.”

“We are also grateful to the ongoing support of our sponsors who help us to recognise publicly the breadth of work created by so many dedicated professionals here in Scotland.”

“In our 50th anniversary year, we are delighted to be playing host to this year’s CATS Awards, which honour the sheer quality and diversity of Scottish theatre,” says Orla O’Loughlin, Artistic Director of the Traverse Theatre. “The celebration of exciting theatrical voices has been key to the Traverse for fifty years, and in playing an integral part of this year’s event, we herald the next fifty years of supporting new and innovative theatrical talent.” 

Eight acclaimed actors in the frame for Best Performance Awards

The 2013 nominations see eight leading actors shortlisted. Maureen Beattie, (Narrator in The List), Blythe Duff (Fay Black in Iron) and Amy Manson (Nora Vaughan in A Doll’s House) all secure their second CATS nomination this year. They are joined by Eileen Walsh (Sandra in Quiz Show) as nominees in the Best Female Performance category. Meanwhile, Alan Cumming gets a nomination for the National Theatre of Scotland’s one-man Macbeth, now playing in New York, alongside Gerard Murphy (Krapp in Krapp’s Last Tape), Grant O’Rourke (Mike Daisey in The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs) and Iain Robertson (Eddie in Takin’ Over the Asylum) for Best Male Performance.

Dominic Hill becomes CATS most recognised director

Dominic Hill becomes the most recognised director since the establishment of CATS securing a further two nominations this year. Hill is shortlisted in the Best Director category alongside Stewart Laing (The Maids), Rachel O’Riordan (The Seafarer) and Hamish Pirie (Quiz Show), and his production of Krapp’s Last Tape makes the shortlist for Best Production.

Theatre for children and young people continues to inspire

The shortlist for this year’s Best Show for Children and Young People Award once again demonstrates the importance that Scotland puts on inspiring new generations of theatre-goers. The NTS’s The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish is shortlisted alongside, The Incredible Adventures of See Thru Sam (Random Accomplice), Sonata for a Man and a Boy (Greg Sinclair and macrobert) and The Ugly Duckling (a co-production between The Arches and Catherine Wheels).

Five nominees for Best Production

Such was the calibre of the work created in 2013 that the CATS judging panel has taken the rare step of including five productions on the short list for Best Production. Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s staging of

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas: The Musical is joined by the Citizens Theatre Company’s Krapp’s Last Tape/Footfalls, Stellar Quines’ The List, Traverse Theatre Company’s Quiz Show and Perth Theatre’s The Seafarer.

The 2013 Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland were open to any professional theatre work produced in Scotland between May 1 2012 and 30 April 2013. Around 180 new productions that opened in the year were considered for the Awards, of which 106 were new plays/scripts and 36 productions created for children and young people. 27 different productions have made this year’s shortlists. For full short lists see Notes for Editors.

The 2013 CATS Awards will be presented at the Traverse in Edinburgh on the afternoon of Sunday 9 June. Tickets priced £15 (includes glass of fizz in the bar before the ceremony, the CATS Awards presentation – with celebrity host – and post ceremony party marking the Traverse Theatre’s 50th anniversary) available in person at the Box Office, by telephone on 0131 228 1404 and online at www.traverse.co.uk

For further information the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland visit:

www.criticsawards.theatrescotland.com

Ends

For further CATS information, images and interviews contact:

Lesley Booth, New Century PR , 0779 941 4474 lesley@newcenturypr.com

Winner of new ‘CATS Whiskers’ award announced:

Press release 4 June 2012

DAVID MACLENNAN and A PLAY A PIE AND A PINT scoop CATS WHISKERS for OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT for 250 PLAYS IN EIGHT YEARS

Today, the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland announced the winner of a brand new award: the CATS Whiskers, given to celebrate an outstanding achievement in Scottish theatre that isn’t already reflected through the other award categories.

David MacLennan and A Play A Pie and A Pint have scooped this inaugural award for the outstanding achievement of presenting 250 plays in eight years.

Joyce McMillan, co-convener of the CATS, said: “Since 2004, David MacLennan and A Play A Pie and A Pint have transformed the Scottish theatre scene with their brilliant invention of a lunchtime theatre format that allows them – in complete freedom, and without direct public subsidy – to present more than 30 new short plays each year, by a dazzling range of writers from Scotland and across the world. 

McMillan continued: “They have created a whole new dimension of opportunity, both for young writers starting out, and for established writers keen to try something new;  and as the seasons have evolved, they have developed them in memorably creative ways, creating a unique relationship with their audience in Glasgow, building long-term partnerships with theatres and companies across Scotland and Europe, presenting international seasons with the National Theatre of Scotland, and extending their own repertoire to include bite-sized summer classics, and not one but two fierce satirical pantomimes a year – oh yes they have!   It’s been a magnificent and completely unexpected explosion of freewheeling theatrical creativity in Scotland; and long may it continue.”

David MacLennan commented:  “I am very touched by this Award and recognise that it is really being given to the whole theatrical community in Scotland whose enthusiasm and support for A Play A Pie and a Pint has made it their success.”

In his own inimitable style, McLennan explains the history of A Play A Pie and A Pint: http://playpiepint.com/?p=1

The CATS Whiskers is a new occasional award and has been introduced as CATS celebrates its 10th year. 

The announcement of the CATS Whiskers winner comes ahead of the CATS awards ceremony proper which will take place at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow on Sunday 10th June, 2012.

Of the 202 productions considered for nomination, a total of 23 shows have reached the final nominations stage, the winners of which will be presented by Alan Cumming.

The event is open to members of the public and offers a unique opportunity for audiences to come together with the cream of the Scottish theatre community to celebrate the contribution that work produced in Scotland makes to the cultural life of the country.

Tickets cost £15 (entry to the awards ceremony, a pre and post show glass of fizz and light refreshments) and can be purchased through the Tron Theatre, box office. For further information on the CATS visit: www.criticsawards.theatrescotland.com

LISTINGS:

What: Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland

When: Sunday 10th June at 3.00pm

Where: Tron Theatre, 63 Trongate, Glasgow G1 5HB
Tickets: £15 (includes a glass of fizz pre- and post-show)

Box Office: 0141 552 4267 / www.tron.co.uk

For further information on the CATS visit www.criticsawards.theatrescotland.com

Alan Cumming to present Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland

Press release 23 May 2012

Alan Cumming, the star of X Men, Spy Kids and the James Bond movie Golden Eye, will present the 10th annual Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow on Sunday 10th June, 2012.

Joyce McMillan and Mark Fisher, co-conveners of the CATS, said: “Alan Cumming is part of a game-changing generation of Scottish artists who have helped to transform Scotland’s image on the international stage, and we are thrilled that he will be joining us as our guest presenter.  Many of the CATS judges have been following him since his early dazzling work at the RSAMD, and have enjoyed his performances ever since, from the hilarity of Victor and Barry to the Greek tragedy of the National Theatre of Scotland’s The Bacchae.  We’re delighted that he’ll be part of our 2012 celebration of theatre in Scotland.” 

In between rehearsals for National Theatre of Scotland’s Macbeth which opens at Tramway, Glasgow on Wednesday 13th June, Alan Cumming commented: “I’m looking forward to catching up with old friends, and celebrating another great year of Scottish theatre at the Tron Theatre for the CATS awards.”

Originally from Aberfeldy and now based in New York, Mr Cumming is working with directors John Tiffany and Andrew Goldberg to create his own solo multimedia version of this chilling tale.

The National Theatre of Scotland has 12 nominations for awards spread across seven different productions. Its single most nominated production is Graham McLaren’s  expressionist version of A Christmas Carol.  Its bold Five Minute Theatre experiment, 24 hours of short plays streamed live over the internet to celebrate its fifth birthday last summer has also been nominated for best technical presentation.

Other heavily fancied shows include Dundee Rep’s Further than the Furthest Thing and Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre’s recent production of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal. 

However, the nominations have also seen first time entries for Bard in the Botanics (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Shona Reppe Puppets (The Curious Scrapbook of Josephine Bean), Magnetic North (Pass the Spoon), Theatre Jezebel (Days of Wine and Roses) and Frozen Charlotte (Too Many Penguins).

In addition, Rachel O’Riordan, who only took over as artistic director at Perth Theatre last summer, saw her production of Frank McGuinness’ Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me pick up three nominations for Best Actor, Best Ensemble and Best Director.

The CATS celebrated its 10th year by announcing a new sponsorship deal with BBC Scotland’s Radio Drama department which joins a roster of sponsors including STV, W&P Longreach–Theatre Insurance Brokers, Equity, the actors union and Northern Light, the specialist theatre suppliers.

It also announced the introduction of a new occasional award, known as the CATS Whiskers which will be given in recognition of an outstanding contribution to theatre in Scotland that isn’t already reflected in the other awards. The winner will be announced on Monday 4th June, 2012. 

Of the 202 productions considered for nomination, 123 were eligible for Best New Play and 36 were created for children and young people.  A total of 23 shows have reached the final nominations stage and the winners will be announced at the CATS Awards ceremony on Sunday 10th June, 2012 at Glasgow’s Tron Theatre.

The event is open to members of the public and offers a unique opportunity for audiences to come together with the cream of the Scottish theatre community to celebrate the contribution that work produced in Scotland makes to the cultural life of the country.

Tickets cost £15 (entry to the awards ceremony, a pre and post show glass of fizz and light refreshments) and can be purchased through the Tron Theatre, box office. For further information on the CATS visit: www.criticsawards.theatrescotland.com