Media Release: Winners for Scotland’s celebration of theatre announced

THE winners of this year’s Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS) were unveiled earlier today to a capacity audience at Glasgow’s Tron Theatre.

Now in its tenth year, the CATS was hosted by the star of X Men, Spy Kids, the James Bond movie, Golden Eye, and his forthcoming Macbeth with the National Theatre of Scotland, Alan Cumming.

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.

CATS co-convener Joyce McMillan, said: “The CATS judges are delighted and thrilled by sheer range of Scottish theatre work reflected in this year’s list of CATS winners.

“From a terrific Shakespeare production created on a shoestring in Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens, through the world-beating technical innovation of the National Theatre of Scotland’s Five-Minute Theatre, to the sheer beauty and power of main-stage productions in Glasgow, Dundee, or Perth, Scotland-based theatre artists create work across a dazzling range of styles and genres, both traditional and cutting-edge; and our winners represent the very best that each of them has to offer.”

Graham McLaren’s National Theatre of Scotland show, A Christmas Carol, took the coveted award for Best Production and Best Ensemble while Ann Louise Ross won the top honour in the Best Female Performance category for her portrayal of Mill Lavarello in Dundee Rep’s Further Than the Furthest Thing.

Kieran Hurley’s BEATS by the Arches Theatre Company scooped the award for Best New Play and Neil Warmington (set), Philip Gladwell (lighting), Elizabeth Ogilvie (water), edged out strong competition to win Best Design for Dundee Rep’s Further than the Furthest Thing.

Stephen Clyde took the award for Best Male Performance for his role as Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Bard in the Botanics. Meanwhile, Paddy Cunneen, clinched the Best Music And Sound award for King Lear, Citizens Theatre.

In one of the most fiercely-contested categories, Dominic Hill was named Best Director for Betrayal at the Citizens Theatre.

The CATS judging panel for 2012 is made up of: Mary Brennan (The Herald), Anna Burnside (The Independent), Mark Brown (The Sunday Herald and the Daily Telegraph), Neil Cooper (The Herald), Michael Cox (, Robert Dawson Scott (The Times), Thom Dibdin (The Stage), Mark Fisher (The Guardian), Joyce McMillan (The Scotsman), Allan Radcliffe (The List), Gareth K Vile (The Skinny) and Joy Watters (

CATS co-convener, Mark Fisher, offered a special thank you to guest presenter, Alan Cumming. He 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 has been able to join 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’s be part of our 2012 celebration of theatre in Scotland.”

McMillan added: “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, W&P Longreach – Theatre Insurance Brokers sponsoring best new play and Equity sponsoring best ensemble, we are particularly delighted to welcome support from BBC Scotland’s Radio Drama Department. In addition to this, we are very grateful to The List for producing the programme the Tron Theatre for hosting the ceremony and providing invaluable support.”


sponsored by W&P Longreach – Theatre Insurance Brokers

Kieran Hurley, BEATS, Arches Theatre Company

Theatre critic for The Herald, Neil Cooper, said: “Kieran Hurley may still only be in his twenties, but his dramatised observations of the early 1990s free party scene in BEATS are authentically spot-on. Accompanied by DJ Jonny Whoop, Hurley not only performs his interlocking monologues with a mix of subtlety, seriousness and wit, but, shot through with an insight and empathy that is akin to a rave generation version of equally audacious solos by Eric Bogosian and the late Spalding Gray, has written a piece that is fantastic writing on any level.”

sponsored by STV

Ann Louise Ross as Mill Lavarello in Further Than the Furthest Thing, Dundee Rep

Theatre critic for The List, Allan Radcliffe, said: “Ann Louise Ross was outstanding as the free-spirited islander, whose powerful identification with her place of birth drives her relentless campaign to return home from exile. As the emotional heart of Zinnie Harris’s play, Ross was by turns contagiously funny, feisty and heartbreaking.”


Stephen Clyde, Bottom, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bard in the Botanics

Theatre critic for, Michael Cox, said: “Stephen Clyde’s sincere yet brilliantly inventive performance as Shakespeare’s Bottom was the stand-out performance from a year full of stand-out performances. Clyde not only commanded the stage with brilliantly performed shenanigans that consistently had audiences in fits of laughter but also found quiet moments of tenderness many previous actors playing the role had neglected.”


A Christmas Carol, The National Theatre of Scotland

Theatre critic for The Independent, Anna Burnside, said: “From the minute Benny Young’s Scrooge indicated where each member of the audience was to sit, the cast worked together to draw us in to a perfectly-realised, intimate, Dickensian world. They were hosts, musicians and puppeteers as well as actors in the show that had the whole of Glasgow scrambling for tickets.”


Dominic Hill for Betrayal, Citizens Theatre, Glasgow

Theatre critic for the Sunday Herald and the Daily Telegraph, Mark Brown, said: “Dominic Hill’s production of Pinter’s Betrayal was a superb start to his directorship of the Citizens Theatre. Brilliantly accomplished in every department, from the casting to the excellent use of a revolving stage, it captured utterly the raw energy, the intense atmosphere, the captivating, sparse poetry and the clever comedy of this modern classic.”


Neil Warmington (set), Philip Gladwell (lighting), Elizabeth Ogilvie
(water), Further than the Furthest Thing, Dundee Rep.

Theatre critic for The Guardian, Mark Fisher, said: “This is the only show I’ve ever seen that credited a ‘water consultant’ in the programme, but if you’ve seen Elizabeth Ogilvie’s beautiful artworks in galleries such as the DCA, you’ll understand the credit is entirely justified. Neil Warmington filled his set with 29,000 litres of water to capture the ebb and flow of Zinnie Harris’ island-set play. Ogilvie helped project the ripples onto the back wall and Philip Gladwell made it look even more beautiful with a ravishing lighting design.”


Paddy Cunneen, King Lear, Citizens Theatre Company

Theatre critic for The Guardian, Mark Fisher, said: “You didn’t notice at first, but all round the edges of the set for King Lear, were the upturned hulks of old pianos. These were banged, plucked and strummed to bring an unsettling and otherworldly atmosphere to Shakespeare’s great tragedy. It was a bold and original contribution by the multitalented Paddy Cunneen.”

TECHNICAL PRESENTATION sponsored by Northern Light

Five Minute Theatre by The National Theatre of Scotland

Theatre critic for The Times, Robert Dawson Scott, said: “For once, it wasn’t the pin point accuracy or the polished slickness of the endeavour that impressed: it was the sheer scale of the ambition which made Five Minute Theatre – 24 hours of uninterrupted, brand new theatre, streamed live from all over Scotland, to the world – such an astonishing technical triumph.”


Frozen Charlotte, Too Many Penguins?

Theatre critic for The Herald, Mary Brennan, said:  “It would have been easy for Frozen Charlotte to play just the cute’n’cuddly card with Too Many Penguins? – but instead they offered the under-threes a delightfully accessible situation comedy about a reclusive polar bear and his exuberant penguin neighbour in which live actors and soft-toy puppets charmed everyone and even the adults couldn’t puzzle out how all the penguins kept popping up everywhere!”


A Christmas Carol, The National Theatre of Scotland

Theatre critic for The Scotsman, Joyce McMillan, said: “In an old Victorian meeting-room at Film City – still better known to most people as the old Govan Town Hall – Graham McLaren and the National Theatre of Scotland created an astonishingly powerful and detailed  piece of immersive theatre, based on one the greatest and most humane of all Christmas stories. From the meticulous detail of the design, through the use of sound, music and puppetry, to a superb series of performances from the five-strong acting emsemble, this version of A Christmas Carol was an absolutely complete piece of theatre, adored by both adults and children, that made a profound impact on last year’s Christmas season in Scottish theatre.”

The CATS Whiskers

David MacLennan and A Play A Pie and A Pint

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

This new occasional award will be given to celebrate an outstanding achievement in Scottish theatre that isn’t already reflected through the other award categories.

Joyce McMillan, CATS co-convener, 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.”

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1. The tenth annual Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS) took place at 3.00pm on Sunday 10th June, 2012 at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow.
For further information on the CATS visit

• Over 200 productions were considered for nominations • 123 were eligible for Best New Play • 36 of those productions were created for children and young people • 23 shows reached the final nominations stage

2. Alan Cumming is starring in Macbeth, the National Theatre of Scotland’s forthcoming play at Tramway, Glasgow from Wed 13 Jun –Sat 30 Jun, 2012, presented the CATS Awards.

3. The CATS judging panel for 2012 is made up of: Mary Brennan (The Herald), Anna Burnside (The Independent), Mark Brown (The Sunday Herald and the Daily Telegraph), Neil Cooper (The Herald), Michael Cox (, Robert Dawson Scott (The Times), Thom Dibdin (The Stage), Mark Fisher (The Guardian), Joyce McMillan (The Scotsman), Allan Radcliffe (The List), Gareth K Vile (The Skinny) and Joy Watters (

4. The ten CATS categories were:

Best New Play sponsored by W&P Longreach–Theatre Insurance Brokers

Best Female Performance sponsored by STV

Best Male Performance

Best Ensemble sponsored by Equity

Best Director

Best Design

Best Music and Sound

Best Technical Presentation sponsored by Northern Light

Best Show for Children and Young People

Best Production

In addition, this year’s discretionary award:

CATS Whsikers

For a full list of the winners, visit:

5. 2012 marks a new CATS 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.

6. The Tron Theatre Company is currently under the artistic leadership of Andy Arnold. The Tron Theatre presents the people of Glasgow and the West of Scotland with outstanding professional productions of the finest new writing of the last ten years, with an emphasis on world, UK and Scottish premieres.

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