Catherine Wheels wins at Scottish Critics’ Awards

Catherine Wheels, the children’s theatre specialists, triumphed at this year’s Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland, picking up three of the ten awards available for its production of White.

The CATS are the annual awards to celebrate theatre in Scotland. Now in their ninth year, this year’s ceremony was held at Edinburgh’s Festival theatre and presented by Clare Grogan.

Speaking at the ceremony at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre, Andy Manley creator of White for Catherine Wheels told The Stage: “We are really delighted that Shona Reppe and Craig Flemming were recognised for their design on White, and that the whole crew were acknowledged with the Best Technical Award.

“Winning Best Production for Children is brilliant. I have a godson who is two and a half and when I was talking about making the show his obsession with colour was paramount all along. He just wanted to name colours and own them, so was very important in the middle of it.”

Best Production went to Cora Bissett’s hard-hitting site-specific play Roadkill for Ankur Productions/Pachamama Productions, adding to the awards it earned at last year’s fringe. Its lead actress, Mercy Ojelade, added to her own Stage Award for Acting Excellence by winning the Best Female Performance category for her performance as a young Nigerian girl trafficked as a sex slave.

The Best Actor award went to David Birrell, for his performance in the title role in Sweeney Todd at Dundee Rep. He beat off competition from Alex Ferns in Scottish Theatres Consortium touring production of The Hard Man and Peter Forbes in the Royal Lyceum’s production of Educating Agnes.

The Best Director award went to Muriel Romanes, for her creation of Linda Griffiths’ Age of Arousal for Stellar Quines Theatre Company and the the Royal Lyceum.

The award for Best Music and Sound was split between Dundee Rep’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s musical Sweeney Todd, under musical direction of Hilary Brooks and the National Theatre of Scotland’s production of David Greig’s The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, with original music by Alasdair Macrae.

Announcing the award, Robert Dawson Scott of the Times and STV said: “How do you separate the challenge that Hilary Brooks had at Dundee, faced with one of the most demanding scores in all musical theatre, from the challenge of writing new music and combining that with much-loved existing music to make something as wittily brilliant and contextually clever as Alasdair Macrae managed for Prudencia Hart? In the end, they were both tremendous achievements and we have decided that the Best Music And Sound category this year should be shared between Hilary Brooks and Alasdair Macrae.”

It was a good night for Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre. Besides staging both Roadkill and White at last year’s Edinburgh fringe, the company took two awards in its own right. The Three Musketeers And The Princess of Spain, a co-production with Belgrade Theatre, Coventry and English Touring Theatre, which was directed by Dominic Hill, won Best Ensemble award, as well as the best new play award for its writer, Chris Hannan.

The winners in full:

Best Male Performance sponsored by W&P Longreach, Theatre Insurance Brokers

David Birrell as Sweeney Todd, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Dundee Rep Theatre.

Best Female Performance sponsored by STV

Mercy Ojelade as Mary, Roadkill, Ankur Productions/Pachamama Productions

Best Ensemble sponsored by Equity

The Three Musketeers And The Princess of Spain, Traverse Theatre Company/Belgrade Theatre, Coventry/English Touring Theatre

Best Director

Muriel Romanes, Age Of Arousal, Stellar Quines Theatre Company/Royal Lyceum Theatre Company

Best Design

Shona Reppe (set and costumes) and Craig Fleming (lighting), White, Catherine Wheels Theatre Company

Best Music and Sound

Joint winners:

Hilary Brooks, Sweeney Todd, Dundee Rep Theatre

Alasdair Macrae, The Strange Undoing Of Prudencia Hart, National Theatre of Scotland

Best Technical Presentation sponsored by Northern Light

White, Catherine Wheels Theatre Company

Best Production for Children and Young People

White, Catherine Wheels Theatre Company

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

The Three Musketeers and the Princess of Spain – Traverse Theatre Company/Belgrade Theatre, Coventry/English Touring Theatre

Best Production

Roadkill, Ankur Productions and Pachamama Productions

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