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

Press release 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.

Andy Arnold and Karen Dunbar

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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