Lyceum Theatre in awards bid after funding cut

John Kielty as Florindo , Grant O' Rourke as Tonino and James Anthony Pearson as Lelio in The Venetian Twins
John Kielty as Florindo , Grant O' Rourke as Tonino and James Anthony Pearson as Lelio in The Venetian Twins
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THE Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh is leading the running for Scotland’s annual theatre honours – just months after a huge funding cut.

Ahead of its 50th anniversary celebrations later this year, six shows staged at the Lyceum have scooped 17 nominations across eight different categories of the Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland.

Three Lyceum shows – The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Faith Healer and The Venetian Twins – will be in contention for best production at the awards, while The Venetian Twins is also in contention for best new play, along with Kill Johnny Glendinning.

The theatre was left furious last autumn after being singled out, along with the Traverse Theatre, for funding cuts – despite the body finding an extra £10m for long-term agreements with venues, arts organisations and festivals.

At the time, artistic director Mark Thomson described the 17.5 per cent cut as a “perverse punishment for acknowledged success”. Thomson announced his surprise departure from the post last week – he will leave after the end of the 50th anniversary season in the spring.

He said: “The company and I are thrilled so many of our productions have been celebrated by the Cats Awards this year, and in my penultimate season here.

“It is a wonderfully rewarding finale to a year where everyone who works here, the artists and staff, have journeyed with creativity and hard work on some amazing pieces so the people of Edinburgh and beyond can have great nights out at the theatre.”

Launched 11 years ago, the gala ceremony – to be staged next month at The Tron in Glasgow – honours acting, directing, design, writing and musical talent, as well as children’s theatre.

Mark Fisher, co-convenor of the judging panel, said: “As the Royal Lyceum enters its 50th year, it is particularly apt that the company has attracted such a wealth of nominations for its recent season in which it fired on all cylinders.”

The awards will also see A Play, a Pie and a Pint, which was launched in Glasgow in 2004 and went on to become the UK’s most successful lunchtime theatre show, in the running for best new play for Andy Duffy’s Crash and Martin McCormack’s Squash, both staged with the Traverse.

Laura Mackenzie-Stuart, Creative Scotland’s theatre portfolio manager, said: “The list of nominations illustrates the breadth of high quality work being produced in Scotland.”