A PLAY which helped make stars of Taggart lead Alex Norton and voice of The Repair Shop Bill Paterson is to receive a special award on its 50th anniversary.
The CATS Whiskers, an occasional award presented by Scottish critics in recognition of an exceptional contribution to theatre will be presented to The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil on June 11.
The groundbreaking production, created in 1973 by John McGrath’s 7:84 Scotland theatre company, will be received by two members of the original cast, Dolina Maclennan and John Bett, and there will also be recorded contributions from celebrated stars of stage and screen Norton and Paterson.
CATS co-convenor Joyce McMillan said: “The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil helped change the face of Scottish theatre forever, and tackled themes to do with the ownership and control of Scotland’s land and resources that remain urgently topical today.
“Devised collectively by writer/director John McGrath and the cast, it broke new ground in so many ways, not least in the company’s commitment to staging performances in halls and community centres across the Highlands and Islands, in combining theatre with the ceilidh tradition, and introducing a form of touring theatre that remains a vital part of Scotland’s cultural landscape today.”
McGrath’s 7:84 theatre company was unashamedly political, its name reflecting the fact that 84% of the wealth in the UK was owned by only 7% of the population.
“It is both thrilling and sad to be accepting this award,” said Dolina. “Thrilling in that the play is being celebrated in this way by the critics after 50 years have gone by, but sad that only four of us remain.
"John, Liz, David, Alan and Chris would have been as happy to receive it as we are. They are all a great miss to our theatre family.
“Scottish Theatre and politics have changed since 1973 but we still have to remember the message of the play – ‘remember you are a people and fight for your rights.’”
“It was an exciting time for Scotland, questioning herself, discovering herself, and it was an exciting time for us, being young and working on a play which touched people in so many different ways,” added John. “It was joyous.”
The 2023 Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland will be presented at The Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh on Sunday, June 11, 2023 as part of the venue’s 60th anniversary celebrations.