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National Theatre of Scotland leads CATS nominations

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The National Theatre of Scotland has emerged as the frontrunner in the Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland, with nominations in all but one of the ten categories.

The annual awards, known as the CATS, are now in their tenth year. Any piece of professional theatre substantially produced in Scotland in the 12 months from May to April is eligible. A total of 202 productions were considered, with 123 were eligible for the best new play award and 36 for best show for children and young people.

Joyce McMillan, CATS co-convenor, said: “This year’s CATS nominations celebrate a dazzling range of work, created by more than 20 companies across Scottish theatre. The list emphasises the growing creative impact of the National Theatre of Scotland. It also celebrates the continuing high achievement of Dundee Rep, and a fine start to Dominic Hill’s directorship at the Citizens’ Theatre.”

Dundee Rep has one of the most nominated shows, with five nods for Further than the Furthest Thing, outgoing artistic director James Brining’s swansong production. An equal number of nominations go to the Graham McLaren-directed version of A Christmas Carol for the NTS. The two shows go head-to-head in four categories: director, design, technical presentation and best production.

The NTS’s 12 nominations are shared among seven productions, including one for the ground breaking 5 Minute Theatre in which short plays were streamed live over the internet for 24 hours. It is up against itself in three categories: female performance, ensemble and technical presentation.

In best female performance, Maureen Beattie is nominated for the NTS-Royal Lyceum co-production 27, and Susan Vidler in the NTS revival of David Harrower’s breakthrough work, Knives in Hens. Harrower’s latest play, A Slow Air, is nominated in the best new play category alongside the NTS’s new verbatim production, Enquirer.

McMillan also pointed out the growing influence of non-conventional productions. She said: “Through nominations for events like the NTS’s Five Minute Theatre, Untitled’s Salon Project and Magnetic North’s Pass the Spoon, the nominations also reflect the exciting ways in which theatre is changing, with artists exploring the myriad possibilities of online technology, and boldly venturing into the borderlands between theatre and installation, theatre and music, theatre and visual art.”

Five companies make their first appearance on in the CATS shortlist. Glasgow’s Bard in the Botanics are nominated in best male performance, Theatre Jezebel in best female performance, Frozen Charlotte and Shona Reppe Puppets, both in children and young people, and Untitled Projects, whose co-production with the Edinburgh Traverse is recognised in both the best technical and best production categories.

The CATS announced new sponsorship from BBC Scotland Radio Drama, which has entered into a three-year relationship with the awards. Bruce Young editor of radio drama for BBC Scotland said: “We’re both looking to identify and celebrate Scottish talent, and I hope this agreement with CATS will help us to share the best work of actors and writers in Scotland with the radio drama audience throughout the UK.”

To mark its tenth anniversary the CATS has also announced the addition of a new discretionary award, known as the CATS Whiskers. This will recognise a person or entity for an outstanding contribution to theatre in Scotland that isn’t already reflected in the other awards.

The CATS will be awarded on Sunday June 10 in a ceremony at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow.

The 2012 CATS nominations in full are:

Best new play sponsored by W&P Longreach‚ Theatre Insurance Brokers

David Harrower, A Slow Air, Tron Theatre Company

Kieran Hurley, BEATS, The Arches

Ronan O’Donnell, Angels, A Play, a Pie and a Pint

Andrew O’Hagan, Vicky Featherstone, John Tiffany, Paul Flynn, Deborah Orr and Ruth Wishart, Enquirer, National Theatre of Scotland and the London Review of Books

Best male performance

Stuart Bowman (Detective), Watching the Detective, A Play, a Pie and a Pint

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

Stephen Kennedy (Edward), Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, Perth Theatre

Michael Nardone (John Morrison), Men Should Weep, National Theatre of Scotland

Best female performance sponsored by STV

Maureen Beattie (Sister Ursula Mary), 27, National Theatre of Scotland and the Royal Lyceum Theatre

Sally Reid (Mona), Days of Wine and Roses, Theatre Jezebel and the Tron Theatre Company

Ann Louise Ross (Mill Laverello), Further than the Furthest Thing, Dundee Rep Theatre

Susan Vidler (Young Woman), Knives in Hens, National Theatre of Scotland

Best ensemble sponsored by Equity

A Christmas Carol, National Theatre of Scotland

Enquirer, National Theatre of Scotland and the London Review of Books

King Lear, Citizens Theatre Company

Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, Perth Theatre

Best director

James Brining, Further than the Furthest Thing, Dundee Rep Theatre

Dominic Hill, Betrayal, Citizens Theatre Company

Graham McLaren, A Christmas Carol, National Theatre of Scotland

Rachel O’Riordan, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, Perth Theatre

Best design

Graham McLaren (set), Gavin Glover (puppets), Paul Claydon (lighting), A Christmas Carol, National Theatre of Scotland

Colin Richmond (set), Chris Davey (lighting), Betrayal, Citizens Theatre Company

David Shrigley, Nick Millar, Alice Wilson and Susie Hunter (production design) Simon Wilkinson (lighting), Pass the Spoon, Magnetic North Theatre Productions in collaboration with Red Note Ensemble.

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

Best music and sound

Jon Beales, My Fair Lady, Pitlochry Festival Theatre

Paddy Cunneen , King Lear, Citizens Theatre Company

David Fennessy (composer), Kenny Macleod (sound design), Pass the Spoon, Magnetic North Theatre Productions in collaboration with Red Note Ensemble

Johnny Whoop, BEATS, the Arches

Best technical presentation sponsored by Northern Light

A Christmas Carol, National Theatre of Scotland

Five-Minute Theatre, National Theatre of Scotland

Further than the Furthest Thing, Dundee Rep

The Salon Project, Traverse Theatre Company and Untitled Projects

Best show for children and young people

The Curious Scrapbook of Josephine Bean, Shona Reppe Puppets

Kes, Catherine Wheels in association with Brunton Theatre

Tall Tales for Small People, National Theatre of Scotland and Communicado

Too Many Penguins, Frozen Charlotte and the MacRobert, Stirling

Best production

A Christmas Carol, National Theatre of Scotland

Further than the Furthest Thing, Dundee Rep Theatre

King Lear, Citizens Theatre Company

The Salon Project, Traverse Theatre Company and Untitled Projects

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