Saturday, February 27, 2016


Llewellyn Hall 20 FEBRUARY 2016

Review by Len Power

It doesn’t seem 21 years since the CAT awards first commenced but there we were again all dressed up on Saturday night at Llewellyn Hall to celebrate this unique and popular theatrical event.  The Icon ACTEWAGL Canberra Area Theatre Awards honour a wide range of theatre practitioners, both on and off-stage.  School and Youth productions as well as Adult productions are considered for awards.  Many of the awards are sponsored by businesses, individuals and the NSW Government.

The CAT judges are very busy and committed people, travelling far and wide around New South Wales to places such as Albury, Orange, Wollongong and Griffith, as well as Canberra, to assess the quality of productions.  A weighted point system ensures that every production has an equal chance of scoring nominations.  There are almost 50 CAT award categories and many of the categories have several nominations.

This year’s show was tightly directed by Stephen Pike and it was consistently entertaining and moved at a good pace.  The award giving and speeches were well-balanced with performances from some of the region’s shows from 2015.  Well-known Australian actor, John Wood, and Canberra musical director and CAT judge, Ian MacLean, made a great team again as comperes of the evening and the award winners all made mercifully short but interesting speeches.

There were some great moments amongst the entertainment presented between the award announcements, showing the high standard of talent amongst the actors and singers in the region.

This year, Canberra area shows won a number of the major awards.  The ‘Best Production Of A Musical’ award was won by our Free Rain Theatre Company for their production of ‘Mary Poppins’.  Queanbeyan City Council won the ‘Best Production Of A Play’ award for ‘Tuesdays With Morrie’, which had played at the Q Theatre in Queanbeyan.  ‘Best Production Of A Variety Show’ was won by ‘A Taste For Tinseltown’ which was produced by Free Rain Theatre Company.

The ‘IN THE SPIRIT OF THE COMMUNITY AWARD’ went to Justin Watson of
Ickle Pickle, Canberra, for providing opportunities for young people to be involved in theatre.  The SILVER CAT AWARD FOR SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION TO THEATRE OVER MANY YEARS was awarded to Lawrance and Robyn Ryan for the contribution they have made to the Cowra Musical and Dramatic Society over many years.  The much coveted GOLD CAT AWARD was presented to Amy and Peter Copeland for the contribution they made to theatre in Wollongong during 2015 in direction, choreography, puppet direction, set design, production management and technical direction.

CATS founder, Coralie Wood, showed once again that she IS the CAT Awards with her heartfelt speech at the party after the show to celebrate the CATS’ 21st year.   You can see the full list of winners for the CAT awards at the CATS website at

Len Power’s reviews can also be heard on ‘Artcetera’ on Artsound FM 92.7 from 9am on Saturdays.