CATS Interrupted! Recognition of Excellence 2020-2021
After two successive years of disruption because of Covid where some shows managed to get on stage but most were cancelled, rescheduled or curtailed, the CAT Awards decided to mark this remarkable period in a unique way: called “CATS Interrupted!” Underlying this decision was the spirit of fairness to all. Since the beginning of 2020 our judging panel has attended fewer than fifty shows and its travel outside the Canberra region has been severely curtailed. It would be remiss of us not to acknowledge theatrical achievement, but it would be unfair for us to pretend that it’s “business as usual”. Therefore, the regular categories, along with nominations and winners, have been put to one side temporarily. Instead, the judging panel has recognised excellence on and off stage during a period of extreme and extended challenge.
Reflections on 25 years of the CAT Awards
From Coralie Wood OAM
Twenty-five years ago, Kate Peters and I had a dream, that dream being that all amateur theatre actors, directors, orchestras, dancers, back stage personnel, and every theatre lover would gain recognition through the Canberra Area Theatre Awards (now officially just CAT Awards Ltd).
Everyone said “It won’t last.” but they were wrong!
From the early beginnings of six local companies to now more than 50 schools and companies from Wollongong to Orange and the Blue Mountains, to Bega to Batemans Bay, and many in between in smaller towns like Molong, Yass, and Cooma, and of course Canberra, our dedicated judges travel many kilometres and love the fulfilment of seeing so many shows.
Looking back over the years, we have seen so many different casts in Oklahoma, Kinky Boots, Cats, Mamma Mia, Sound of Music, Hair, Jesus Christ Super Star and many more old and new musicals, whilst making many friends along the way. Dramas and comedy have played a big part in the life of the Cat Awards – from The Diary of Anne Frank, to Art, to The Woman in the Window and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and we have enjoyed every production. Large and small companies, schools and junior theatre companies have all been involved.
And so many of the actors and crew have now gone onto a career in professional theatre. When we saw a young and very shy Lorina Gore in a musical at Daramalan College we knew she would become a star, and she certainly has. We are so proud of her rise in the Australian Opera.
Damien Bermingham was also shy and being the youngest of a large musical family, we knew he had a wonderful presence and voice. He moved to Sydney and became a star in musical comedy theatre whilst his sister Lucy Bermingham found her niche as a musical director and lead pianist in professional theatre orchestras.
Billy Bourchier, at 11 years old, was noticed by the CATs team and after graduating from the Queensland Conservatorium’s Musical Theatre Bachelor program he was cast as Frederic in Harvest Rain’s Pirates of Penzance under the direction of Simon Gallaher. He has never looked back and has been touring constantly with Pirates of Penzance, then Les Miserables and until recently The Book of Mormon
These are only three of many who have made it into producing, directing, ballet, and backstage. We are so proud of our judges’ intuition and recognising these young people who have gone on to become stars. And it makes us proud to think that by recognising and acknowleding their acheivements we may have contributed in some small way to their success.
AND NOW TO THE FUTURE…..
The dreaded COVID-19 has caused much angst and we are so sad it has changed our plans for the 25th gala celebrations. Our companies, our behind the scenes personnel, judges, office workers, audience members, our very special sponsors, and all people connected with the CAT Awards are very conscious that the show must go on, so we have moved to an online “gala” awards announcement!
What happens in the rest of 2020 is still a bit uncertain and we will just have to wait and see. We hope we will be able to eventually continue seeing shows, and have a belated 25th gala next year…
Meanwhile I hope you enjoy watching the announcement of the 25th CAT Awards winners. Thanks to all judges and the Board who have shown such commitment in getting this together. Without you, and the companies there would be no CAT Awards. See you next year!
18 April 2019
2019 GALA AWARDS NIGHT CANCELLED
You may be aware Australia’s Chief Medical Officer advised that gatherings of 500 and more should be cancelled due to concerns about the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Consequently, all bookings at Llewellyn Hall have been cancelled by the ANU. The CATs Board and Judging Panel made the inevitable decision to cancel this gala. We are disappointed to have to cancel what was to have been a very special evening to mark this milestone, but the health and safety of our performers, companies, audiences, and all those involved is paramount.
The Awards will be announced, as planned, at 6.00pm on Saturday 18 April, but will be posted to the CAT Awards website, www.cat-awards.com.au.
Award certificates will be posted to all winners, and engraved trophies will be available for collection.
For those who have purchased tickets directly from me, a refund will be available. You also have the option to convert your ticket payments to a donation. Please advise your preference. Note that it will take some time for Ticketek to return the money to me, so please be patient.
For those who purchased tickets via Ticketek, you will need to contact them directly on 13 28 49.
Chances are that shows will be cancelled across the board, and there might not be shows to be judged which could impact on this year’s judging. Can you please let me know details of any shows you are cancelling.
On behalf of the CAT Awards Board and Judging Panel, I thank you for your continued support during what is an incredibly challenging time for the arts in Canberra and south-east New South Wales.
17 March 2020