2019 CATS winners announced

  • Traverse Theatre’s Ulster American triumphs
  • Perth Theatre’s Lost at Sea scoops two awards
  • John Michie picks up Best Male Performance award
  • Red Bridge wins Best Production for Children and Young people for third year running
  • CATS celebrates theatre giant Giles Havergal’s 81st birthday
David Ireland’s Ulster American, earning the gongs at CATS 19

The Traverse Theatre’s production Ulster American has triumphed at the 2019 Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland, picking up Best Female Performance (Lucianne McEvoy) Best New Play (David Ireland), and the supreme award, Best Production. The awards were presented today, 9 June 2019, at Glasgow’s Tramway.

“We live in an age of old and unprintable hatreds that suddenly spring back to life; and if there is a playwright born for that moment, it’s David Ireland,” says Joyce McMillan co-convenor of CATS. “In Ulster American he whips up a tragi-comic storm of razor-sharp, taboo-busting dialogue that spirals shockingly towards violence; and Gareth Nicholls’s superb, fast-moving Traverse production combined with three terrific performances from Lucianne McEvoy, Robert Jack and Darrell D’Silva to create one of last year’s huge smash hits.”

Perth Theatre’s production of Lost at Sea, Morna Young’s play inspired by the loss of her father at sea when she was a child, picked up two awards, Best Director (Ian Brown) and Best Ensemble.

“Morna Young’s Lost at Sea is a requiem to the fishermen of the North-East who perished in the waves. Almost operatic in construction, the voices of the ensemble, individually and as a chorus, create an unforgettable portrait of the hardships and heartbreak faced by the fishing community.”

Joy Watters, Across the Arts

Meanwhile, the Best Male Performance award went to Holby City/Taggart star John Michie for his memorable performance as the senior fire officer suffering from severe post-traumatic stress after the first fire at the Glasgow School of Art in Rob Drummond’s The Mack (A Play, a Pie and a Pint at Oran Mor, presented in association with the Traverse Theatre).

“John Michie played the role of the traumatised fire commander with a heart-wrenching dignity and subtlety. His performance conveyed with reverberative power the emotional reckoning of a stoical, west of Scotland man who, following the first fire at the Glasgow School of Art, is finally brought down by a career’s worth of trauma.”

Mark Brown – The Herald on Sunday, the Sunday National and the Daily Telegraph

Red Bridge Arts, the North Queensferry-based company, scooped the Best Production for Children and Young People award for the third year in a row, this year for Stick by Me co-produced with Andy Manley and Ian Cameron.

The awards were presented by one of the giants of Scottish Theatre, Giles Havergal, whose 81st birthday the CATS also celebrated at the event.

Elsewhere in the awards Best Design was won by Shona Reppe, Ailsa Paterson, Selene Cochrane and Chris Edser for Baba Yaga, the international co-production between Imaginate (Edinburgh) and Windmill Theatre Company (Adelaide, Australia). The Best Technical award was picked up by The End of Eddy, the Untitled Projects and Unicorn Theatre co-production, and Best Use of Music and Sound went to Birds of Paradise and the National Theatre of Scotland for My Left Right Foot – The Musical.

Full list of winners

“This has been another bumper year for theatre produced in Scotland,” says CATS co-convenor Mark Fisher. “This was reflected in the large number of productions that were eligible for the awards and in the spread of winners between so many different companies.”

“It was tremendous to welcome Giles Havergal as our guest presenter,” he adds. “Giles made an unrivalled contribution to Scottish theatre in his over 30 years at the helm of the Citizens, which helped lay the foundations for so much of the work produced in Scotland today.”

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

Ends

Notes for Editors

The CATS judging panel for 2019 comprised Mary Brennan (The Herald), Mark Brown (Herald on Sunday/Sunday National and The Daily Telegraph), Anna Burnside (Daily Record), Paul F Cockburn (BroadwayBaby), Neil Cooper (The Herald), Michael Cox (Across the Arts), Thom Dibdin (The Stage and AllEdinburghTheatre.com), Mark Fisher (The Guardian), Joyce McMillan (The Scotsman), David Pollock (The Independent), Allan Radcliffe (The Times), Amy Taylor (The Skinny) and Joy Watters (Across the Arts).

2019 CATS shortlists announced

Friday 10 May 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ends

Notes for Editors

The CATS judging panel for 2019 comprised Mary Brennan (The Herald), Mark Brown (Herald on Sunday/Sunday National and The Daily Telegraph), Anna Burnside (Daily Record), Paul F Cockburn (BroadwayBaby), Neil Cooper (The Herald), Michael Cox (Across the Arts), Thom Dibdin (The Stage and AllEdinburghTheatre.com), Mark Fisher (The Guardian), Joyce McMillan (The Scotsman), David Pollock (The Independent), Allan Radcliffe (The Times), Amy Taylor (The Skinny) and Joy Watters (Across the Arts).

2019 CATS SHORTLISTS: HERE