The winners of the 2012 Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS) were announced at a sold out Tron Theatre in Glasgow on Sunday, June 10. Guest star Alan Cumming (in Scotland rehearsing his one-man Macbeth ahead of performances in Glasgow and New York) assisted MC Joyce McMillan (theatre critic of The Scotsman) and her colleagues in presenting this year’s 11 prizes.
In addition to the CATS’ regular 10 awards, the 2012 ceremony saw a special prize for an outstanding contribution to Scottish theatre, the CATS Whiskers award, given to producer David MacLennan and his hugely successful Glasgow lunchtime theatre A Play, a Pie and a Pint (which recently staged its 250th production).
The National Theatre of Scotland topped the winners’ table, with three awards; two (Best Ensemble and Best Production) for A Christmas Carol and one (Best Technical) for the path breaking online theatre experiment Five-Minute Theatre. There was success, too, for Dundee Rep (which took two awards for its production of Zinnie Harris’s play Further than the Furthest Thing) and the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow (which won Best Director for its production of Pinter’s Betrayal, and Best Music and Sound for King Lear).
The ceremony was held in the midst of a growing controversy over the recent funding policy announcements by Creative Scotland (the ‘arms length’ governmental body which has replaced the Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen). During the ceremony, a number of practitioners and critics voiced their strong opposition to Creative Scotland’s stance; which is widely seen not only as promoting competition between artists, at the expense of artistic freedom and excellence, but also as emphasising Creative Scotland’s own power to set the artistic agenda.
Speaking to The Scotsman newspaper after the ceremony, Alan Cumming said of the relationship between Creative Scotland and artists: “people are feeling completely uninvolved, excluded and bemused... These are artists, not business models, but some people feel they are being treated like that. I think we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg at the moment, there will be a lot of pissed off people out there.”
In spite of the Creative Scotland controversy, the 2012 CATS Awards ceremony was indisputably a highly successful celebration of the best in Scottish theatre.
The CATS judging panel for 2012 comprised: Mary Brennan (The Herald), Mark Brown (The Sunday Herald and the Daily Telegraph), Anna Burnside (The Independent), Neil Cooper (The Herald), Michael Cox (acrossthearts.co.uk), 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 (acrossthearts.co.uk).
For full details of the winners and shortlists for the 2012 awards, visit the CATS website: www.criticsawards.theatrescotland.com
Enquiries about the Critics' Circle should be made to the Hon Gen Sec Rick Jones by email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 020 8698 2460.