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CATS Awards 2011 Overview - Scottish Theatre Is In Rude Health

“If you believe a story’s worth telling, you’ll believe in it to the
death.” So said Cora Bissett, director of Roadkill, an astonishing look
at sex trafficking close to home and winner of the year’s Best
production award at yesterday’s Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland.
If ever there was a sentiment that summed up the creative whirlwind of
just how much theatre in Scotland is punching well above its weight,
Bissett captures it perfectly. This is especially the case in the
current economic climate, with cuts in arts funding as inevitable this
side of the border as they were recently in England.

Bissett accidentally captured the gung ho, never say die approach that
makes artists create work in the face of adversity, and the CATS awards
rightly celebrates this. Apart from anything else, it also shows off
the full diverse range of the work made in Scotland that is a world
apart from the London awards scene centred mainly around commercial
west end shows.

As well as Roadkill, all of the nominees, as anyone who witnessed them
will confirm, are world class at any level. As are too the myriad of
nominees with productions great and small who made judging the awards
for myself and my colleagues a tortuous and at times nigh on impossible
process. One of the big breakthroughs this year was to see children’s
show White, produced by the CatherineWheels company, not just win in
the Children’s and Young People’s category, but to scoop both Best
Design and Best Technical Presentation gongs as well. This shows how
seriously the work for children and young people is taken in this
country, and how much it can stand alongside its more grown-up peers,
both here and on the European scene the sector is now a leading player
in.

One thing brought home by the CATS, itself now an important part of
Scotland’s theatrical calendar, is just what a plethora of magnificent
artists there is here. The survival of them and their work needs to be
fought for, on these pages and elsewhere. To the death if necessary.

The Herald, June 13th 2011

ends

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