Royal Lyceum leads race for Critics’ Awards for Theatre

Irene MacDougall and Billy Mack in Dundee Reps production of Death of a Salesman. Picture: Jane Hobson

Irene MacDougall and Billy Mack in Dundee Reps production of Death of a Salesman. Picture: Jane Hobson

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The Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh and Dundee Rep are leading the race for glory in the annual “Scottish theatre Oscars”.

Five Lyceum productions across eight categories have secured 15 nominations for next month’s Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland, which are also known as the Cats Awards. They were drawn from the first season under new artistic director David Greig’s stewardship.

However Dundee Rep’s production of the classic Arthur Miller play Death of a Salesman earlier this year has been shortlisted in six categories - more than any other show.

Billy Mack, who played the lead role, is shortlisted for best male performance, while the company is in the running for best ensemble. Director Joe Douglas is also a contender.

A new version of Black Beauty, created by Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre and the Fife-based Red Bridge theatre company, won five nominations, including best new play and best production.

Among those shortlisted for work with the Lyceum are the leading singer-songwriter Karine Polwart, for her hit Edinburgh International Festival show Wind Reistance and the Edinburgh International Science Festival, for the show A Number, which explored the boundaries and ethics of sceience. Both are nominated for best production, while actor Brian Ferguson is also shortlisted.

Three of the four contenders for best female performance are first-time nominees - : Lucy Briggs-Owen for The Rivals at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow, Nicole Cooper for Coriolanu at the Botanics in Glasgow and Louise McCarthy for Cuttin’ a Rug at the Citizens.

Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman theatre critic, who co-chairs the judging panel, said “We’re delighted that 19 different productions have made the shortlists, from theatres and companies all across Scotland. They represent a huge range of theatre, from the smallest scale to the largest, and from complex pieces of musical theatre to the most apparently simple solo shows.

“The range of new work being produced is impressive. This year 84 new plays or devised works premiered in Scotland, and many of these shows stretch and challenge our categories, working with other art forms from music and dance to visual installations, and challenging traditional relationships between theatre and audience.

“The sense of creative energy is immense, and we hope these shortlists help to reflect that exciting, fast-moving theatre scene.”

The 15th annual Cats Awards will be held at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre on 11 June.

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