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

Posted in CATS press releases, CATS winners.