Timely production of anti-fascist play is big winner at 2018 CATS

Press release 10 June 2018

  • Rhinoceros scoops four awards including Best Production.
  • Ionesco’s play has powerful resonances with the current global rise of authoritarian populism and fascism.
  • Edinburgh International Festival wins six awards for co-productions.
  • Royal Lyceum named winner in five categories.
  • Best Female Performance Award goes to Jessica Hardwick (Knives in Hens at Perth Theatre).
  • Best New Play Award goes to Peter Arnott for his version of Compton Mackenzie’s The Monarch of The Glen.
  • The awards were presented at Perth Theatre by Blythe Duff. 

A NEW version of a classic play, which responded to the rise of fascism and Nazism in Europe, has topped the 2018 Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland. 

The Edinburgh International Festival, Royal Lyceum Theatre, DOT Theatre, Istanbul international co-production Rhinoceros, won four CATS including the supreme award, Best Production. The production also won the awards for Best Director (Murat Daltaban), Best Male Performance (Robert Jack) and Best Music & Sound (Oğuz Kaplangi). 

A timely production staged against the backdrop of the current rising tide of authoritarian nationalism across the globe, Rhinoceros was directed by Turkish director Murat Daltaban, who recently announced that he and his family are relocating from Istanbul to live in Edinburgh. 

Announcing the Best Director Award, Mark Brown of the Sunday Herald and The Daily Telegraph said: “The nomination of Murat Daltaban for his production of Ionesco’s Rhinoceros has a particular significance. The play is a powerful warning about the dangers of conformity, of a mass succumbing to a social miasma that robs us of our culture, our freedom and, ultimately, our humanity. 

“The times in which we live can feel like the 1930s with the film running slightly slower. That is particularly true of Murat’s homeland Turkey, where freedom of thought and expression, not least the freedoms of theatremakers, are currently under serious threat.”

The Edinburgh International Festival was also recognized in two further award categories (Best Design and Best Technical Presentation) for Flight, its commission from Vox Motus and Beacon Arts Centre. The Royal Lyceum, meanwhile, also triumphed in the Best Ensemble category for its production of The Belle’s Stratagem.

The Best Female Performance Award went to Jessica Hardwick for Perth Theatre’s production of David Harrower’s Scottish classic Knives in Hens. The Best New Play Award was won by Peter Arnott for his new version of Compton Mackenzie’s The Monarch of the Glen for Pitlochry Festival Theatre. The Best New Production for Children and Young People award went to Andy Cannon and Red Bridge Arts for Space Ape.

“Fear, isolationism and irrational kinds of ‘group-think’ are increasing forces in our world, and we’re delighted that Scottish theatre – and many of our winning shows – continue to tackle these issues with such a thrilling mixture of wit, seriousness, and theatrical flair,” says Joyce McMillan, CATS co-convenor.

“From our most awarded production Rhinoceros, through Perth Theatre’s brilliant version of Knives In Hens, to a new form of theatre designed to bring the world’s refugee crisis within touching distance in Vox Motus’s Flight, and Peter Arnott’s richly comic yet revealing 21st century take on all the issues of land, class·and identity raised in Compton Mackenzie’s The Monarch Of The Glen, these plays speak to the world we live in with real urgency, but also a strong sense of passion, poetry, and fun.”

“Theatre is all about opening new perspectives on the world we live in, in ways that can be playful, tragic or just plain thrilling; and this year, Scottish theatre carried out that job brilliantly, in what have not always been easy times, for many of Scotland’s theatre companies.” 

“Investment in Scottish theatre is vital for its future,” said CATS co-convenor, Mark Fisher. “We are delighted to be here in Perth Theatre celebrating the reopening of this historic building following its major refurbishment, which will ensure it continues to be a beacon for artistic endeavour for generations to come.”

The Awards were presented by Blythe Duff..

For full list of winners and citations see Notes for Editors.

The 2018 CATS were generously supported by: STV (Best Female Performance), Equity (Best Ensemble), Young Scot (Best Show For Children And Young People), Scottish Drama Training Network (Best Design), and BECTU (Best Technical), and also by the Mackintosh Foundation, BBC Scotland Radio Drama and The List.

The 2018 CATS will be presented on Sunday 10 June. For further details visit:


Notes for Editors

180 productions were eligible for the 2017 CATS, with 90 eligible for the New Play Award.

The CATS judging panel for 2018 comprised Mary Brennan (The Herald), Irene Brown (edinburghguide.com), Mark Brown (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)·and Joy Watters (Across the Arts).

Full list of winners

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

Dundee Rep’s Death of a Salesman tops the 15th annual CATS

Press release 11 June 2017

  • Death of A Salesman named Best Production of 2016–17
  • Gender-bending Coriolanus wins Nicole Cooper Best Female Performance Award
  • Acclaimed playwright, Zinnie Harris, scoops her first Best Director Award
  • Black Beauty wins Best Design and Best Production for Children and Young People
  • Celebrated folk singer Karine Polwart shares Best Music and Sound Award
  • Kieran Hurley picks up his second Best New Play Award
  • Awards presented by Gavin Mitchell aka Boabby the Barman in Still Game

Dundee Rep’s production of Arthur Miller’s classic Death of a Salesman has topped the 15th annual Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS), it was revealed today, 11 June 2017. The production scooped Best Ensemble, Best Male Performance (Billy Mack) and the supreme award, Best Production. 

“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,” says Scotsman theatre critic and CATS co-convenor Joyce McMillan. “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.”

 “Billy Mack’s performance·as Willy Loman was unforgettable,” adds Joy Watters of Across the Arts. “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.”

Best Female Performance Award this year went to Nicole Cooper for a barnstorming performance in the Bard in the Botanics’ gender-bending Coriolanus, part of Bard in the Botanics on-going commitment to taking women out of the roles of wives and daughters, and seeing them as rulers, leaders, politicians and fighters.

“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,” says Neil Cooper, Herald theatre critic. “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.”

The acclaimed playwright Zinnie Harris picked up the CATS Award for Best New Play for This Restless House in 2016. This year she won her first ever Best Director Award, for A Number – one of three productions at the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh to be recognised with awards in the 15th annual CATS.

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

The Best New Play Award went to Kieran Hurley for Heads Up, the second time that Hurley has won this award following BEATS in 2012. 

The Red Bridge and Traverse Theatre Company production of Black Beauty picked up not only the award for Best Production for Children and Young People, but also for Best Design, underlining the calibre of the work being produced in Scotland for young people.

As well as Best Director for A Number, two further productions at the Royal Lyceum picked up awards: Best Music and Sound – Karine Polwart (composer and musical director), Pippa Murphy (sound designer), Ben Seal (live sound) and Mark Whyles (live sound) for Wind Resistance – and Best Technical Presentation for Alice in Wonderland.

Award sponsors for 2017 are: BECTU, Equity, Scottish Drama Training Network, STV and Young Scot. General sponsors are the Mackintosh Foundation, BBC Scotland Radio Drama and The List.

“We would once again like to thank the sponsors for their generous support,” says CATS co-convenor Mark Fisher. “They make it possible for us to take this moment to celebrate publicly the quality and diversity of theatre being produced in Scotland.”

The 15th annual CATS’ Awards were presented at the Festival Theatre Edinburgh by Gavin Mitchell, known to millions as Boabby the Barman in Still Game and who will take to the boards again as Rick in Casablanca, the Gin Joint Cut at Glasgow’s Oran Mor next month.

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


For further information contact: Lesley Booth, 0779 941 4474 / lesleyt@newcenturypr.com

The waiting is over: Godot scoops Best Production at 2016 CATS

Press release 12 June 2016

  • Citz and Royal Lyceum share top honours
  • Waiting for Godot scoops Best Production and Best Ensemble awards
  • This Restless House picks up three CATS: Best Director, Best Female Performance and Best New Play
  • Lanark wins Best Male Performance, Best Design and Best Technical Presentation
  • Muriel Romanes is recognised with a CATS Whiskers
  • Awards presented by Daniela Nardini and Sanjeev Kohli
  • The top honours were shared by Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre and Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre at the 2016 Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland, the winners of which were announced at a glittering ceremony today, 12 June 2016. 

“One of the triumphs of the Scottish theatre calendar.”

Waiting for Godot – winner of Best Production and Best Ensemble awards 

The supreme award, Best Production, in the 2016 CATS went to the Royal Lyceum’s production of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot with the outstanding cast – Brian Cox, Bill Paterson, John Bett and Benny Young – scooping the Best Ensemble award.

“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,” says CATS co-convenor Mark Fisher. “It was one of the triumphs of the Royal Lyceum’s 50th-anniversary season and of the whole Scottish theatre calendar.”

“The success of Beckett’s 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. The cast in Mark Thomson’s production achieved this balance perfectly, and offered a masterclass in magnificent acting,” adds CATS co-convenor Joyce McMillan.

Meanwhile, Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre picked up no fewer than six awards which were shared equally between two outstanding shows: This Restless House and Lanark: A Life in Three Acts. 

“An unforgettable piece of theatre.”

This Restless House – winner of three CATS 

Zinnie Harris won the Best New Play award for her reworking of The Oresteia – “an unforgettable piece of theatre, powered by an astounding script and electrifying performances” (Amy Taylor, The Public Reviews/TV Bomb); Dominic Hill won his fifth CATS Best Director award recognising how he pulled all the elements of the show together into a triumphant whole; and Pauline Knowles picked up her first Best Female Performance award, sponsored by STV, for “a remarkable performance which ran the gamut of human, and particularly female, experience, and in which she embodied both Everywoman and the haughtiest of aristocrats” (Mark Brown, Sunday Herald/Telegraph). Knowles’ award was collected by Keith Fleming as she is currently in Shanghai performing in The Garden – a sound Festival commission from John and Zinnie Harris.

“A mighty staging of Alasdair Gray’s epic novel.”

Lanark: A Life in Three Acts – winner of three CATS 

Lanark: A Life in Three Acts won the Best Design award for Laura Hopkins, Nigel Edwards and Simon Wainwright, who between them made the seemingly impossible possible in bringing Gray’s dystopian vision to life; and the Best Technical Presentation award, sponsored by BECTU, for “an extraordinary blend of live action, lighting and sound, animation and projection” (Allan Radcliffe, The Times). Meanwhile, Sandy Grierson, who “proved once again how his powerful and charismatic presence can hold a stage” (Neil Cooper, The Herald), picked up his second Best Male Performance award, sponsored by the Scottish Drama Training Network, following Fergus Lamont in 2007.

The Best Production for Children and Young People award, sponsored by Young Scot, was won by Uncanny Valley, a Borderline Theatre co-production with the Gaiety Theatre, commissioned by Edinburgh International Science Festival working in partnership with Imaginate. “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,” says Mary Brennan of The Herald. “Issue-based theatre is rarely as witty, thought-provoking or as open to audience reactions as this piece for children and young people.”

The Best Music and Sound award, sponsored by Guitar Guitar, was won by the National Theatre of Scotland’s Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, bringing to 30 the NTS tally of CATS wins.

The 2016 CATS Whiskers was awarded to Muriel Romanes, who recently stepped down as long-term artistic director of Stellar Quines, for her vision and determination which have been a tremendous force in Scottish theatre-making as a whole. Romanes is currently working in Canada and the award was collected on her behalf by leading Scottish actor Maureen Beattie.

The 2016 Awards were presented by acclaimed actor Daniela Nardini, who will make a welcome return to the stage in Jumpy at the Lyceum later this year, and leading comedian, writer and actor Sanjeev Kohli who wowed audiences in Still Game Live last year.

This year the CATS welcomed two new award sponsors. BECTU (Best Technical Presentation) and the Scottish Drama Training Network (Best Male Performance). They joined 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.

Full list of winners here.

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

Notes for Editors

* 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).

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.”


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).

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.”


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

Winner of new ‘CATS Whiskers’ award announced:

Press release 4 June 2012


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


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

Winners for Scotland’s Celebration of Theatre Announced

Press release 12 June 2011

CATHERINE Wheels today emerged as the leader at this year’s Critics’ Awards For Theatre In Scotland ceremony at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre. The children’s theatre specialists – who are also based in the capital – secured victory in an impressive three of the ten categories overall – with their show White winning Best Production For Children And Young People, Best Technical Presentation and Best Design.

Ankur Productions/Pachamama Productions received six nominations for their hard-hitting, site-specific play Roadkill which dramatically explored the growing problem of sex-trafficking in Scotland. Cora Bissett’s bold and uncompromising piece took the coveted award for Best Production while Mercy Ojelade’s powerful depiction of the play’s central character Mary won her the top honour in the Best Female Performance category.

The Traverse Theatre scooped two awards for their bawdy but brilliant Christmas show The Three Musketeers And The Princess Of Spain, which edged out strong competition to win the Best New Play and Best Ensemble sections.  

Dundee Rep, nominated in five categories, clinched the winning Best Male Performance for a second year running. David Birrell picked up the award for the title role in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street. Meanwhile, Hilary Brooks picked up a second award for the Rep and Sweeney Todd, as, for the first time, the honour for Best Music And Sound was awarded jointly to two productions. Alasdair Macrae shared the commendation for his work on the National Theatre of Scotland’s The Strange Undoing Of Prudencia Hart, penned by ten-time nominee David Greig.

In one of the most fiercely-contested categories, Muriel Romanes was named Best Director for The Age Of Arousal, a co-production between Stellar Quines Theatre Company and the Royal Lyceum Theatre Company.

Now in its ninth year, the Critics’ Awards For Theatre In Scotland took place on Sunday 12th June during a glamorous ceremony hosted by the multi-talented Scottish entertainer Clare Grogan. Now well established as a highlight in the theatrical calendar north of the border, the event was attended by some of the leading figures in Scottish theatre who celebrated alongside passionate theatre lovers.  

Co-convener Mark Fisher, said: “The range of winners demonstrates the breadth and ambition of high-quality theatre in Scotland. The list embraces musicals, site-specific drama, children’s shows and main stage theatre – each winner brilliant in their own distinctive way.

“We’d like to add a big thank you to all our sponsors, without whom the awards would not be possible. As well as STV sponsoring best female performance, Northern Light sponsoring best technical presentation and W&P Longreach – Theatre Insurance Brokers sponsoring best new play, we are particularly delighted to welcome Equity as sponsor of the best ensemble award. In addition to this, we are very grateful to The List for producing the programme, Appetite Direct for the catering and the Festival Theatre for hosting the ceremony and providing invaluable support. Naturally, the event would not have been the same without guest presenter Clare Grogan and the Jazz Bar Quartet.”

The CATS judging panel for 2011 is made up of: Mary Brennan (The Herald), Mark Brown (The Sunday Herald and the Daily Telegraph), Neil Cooper (The Herald), Michael Cox (onstagescotland.co.uk), Robert Dawson Scott (The Times), Thom Dibdin (Edinburgh Evening News and The Stage), Mark Fisher (The Guardian), Joyce McMillan (The Scotsman), Gareth K Vile (The Skinny) and Joy Watters (The Courier).

Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre and Dundee Repertory Theatre take home six out of ten prizes

Press release 13 June 2010

Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre and Dundee Repertory Theatre, two of Scotland’s leading building-based companies, have emerged as the leaders at this year’s Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland, with the venues taking home six out of the ten prizes between them. 

The Traverse Theatre, which received ten nominations in this year’s shortlists, took Best New Play for the third year running and Best Production for Ursula Rani Sarma’s The Dark Things, while Sian Thomas received the award for Best Female Performance for her role in The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?.  

Dundee Rep’s The Elephant Man was successful in three categories including Best Director for Jemima Levick, an award for which she has received two previous nominations. Kevin Lennon took Best Male Performance for his role as John Merrick in the same play, while Alex Lowde (set) and Colin Grenfell (lighting) were presented with the award for Best Design– marking the fourth year in a row that Dundee Rep has been successful in this category. 

Nominated for the first time, all-inclusive theatre company Lung Ha’s won the Best Ensemble award for Huxley’s Lab, a co-production with Grid Iron which ran as part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival. The National Theatre of Scotland’s Mr Write was named Best Production for Children and Young People, a title that the company previously won in 2006 for Home: East Lothian. Best Technical Presentation went to Perth Theatre for Jane Eyre, while Alasdair Macrae took the award for Best Use of Music and Sound for The Government Inspector, a co-production by Communicado Theatre Company and the Tron Theatre. 

Now in its eighth year, the awards presentation took place on Sunday 13 June during a glittering ceremony hosted by special guests Jonathan Mills, director of the Edinburgh International Festival, and much-loved actress and comedienne Karen Dunbar, at the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh.  Firmly established as a highlight in the theatrical calendar, the event was attended by some of the leading figures in Scottish theatre, as well as enthusiastic members of the public who joined in the celebrations. 

Co-convenor, Mark Fisher, said: “With such a strong line-up of nominations, the CATS ceremony was sure to go with a swing and we were delighted with just what a lively occasion it was. The only shame is that everyone couldn’t be a winner, because there was so much talent in the room. And we know that was just the tip of the iceberg in another great year for theatre in Scotland. 

“This year, we were particularly pleased to welcome  STV, Guy Robertson Partnership, Northern Light, and W&P Longreach as sponsors of individual awards, as well as being grateful for the invaluable support of the Mackintosh Foundation, Appetite Direct, Inverarity and The List and, of course, our generous hosts the Edinburgh Festival Theatre.”

The CATS judging panel is made up of 11 Scottish theatre critics: Mary Brennan (The Herald), Mark Brown (The Sunday Herald and the Daily Telegraph), Neil Cooper (The Herald), Michael Cox (onstagescotland.co.uk), Shona Craven (onstagescotland.co.uk), Robert Dawson Scott (The Times), Thom Dibdin (Edinburgh Evening News and The Stage), Mark Fisher (The Guardian), Joyce McMillan (The Scotsman), Gareth K Vile (The Skinny) and Joy Watters (The Courier). For further information on the CATS visit www.criticsawards.theatrescotland.com.