TWO theatre companies which were the subject of controversial funding decisions from Creative Scotland are in the running to pick up the nation's top theatre awards.

The Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh, which had its regular, three-year funding cut by 17.5 per cent last year, leads the list of nominations for the annual Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS), with 17.

Untitled Projects, led by artistic director Stewart Laing, which is likely to close in Scotland after failing to receive funding from the national arts funding body last year, has four nominations.

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The shortlists for awards, published today, recognise six different Royal Lyceum productions, which appear in eight of the ten award categories.

Untitled Projects follows the success of Paul Bright's Confessions of a Justified Sinner in the 2014 CATS with four nominations for Slope, a co-production with KILTR, Citizens Theatre and Traverse Theatre Company.

The Glasgow-based Junction 25 has been awarded the special CATS Whiskers accolade for "ten remarkable years of creativity."

Mark Fisher, the theatre critic and co-convenor of the awards, 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.

"What's also thrilling is the strength and variety of Scottish theatre performances across the board, ranging from lunchtime plays to main stage classics, from experimental sound-based drama to promenade shows for children."

Joyce McMillan, critic, columnist and co-convenor of the awards, added: "As well as a vintage year at the Royal Lyceum, we have seen another wonderful production from Untitled Projects.

"For over 20 years, director Stewart Laing has been at the forefront of Scottish theatre from early productions such as Happy Days at Tramway through The Salon Project to last year's Paul Bright's Confessions of a Justified Sinner. "It is sad to think that Slope may well be Untitled Projects' last production in Scotland.

"The company's contribution to our cultural life will be greatly missed."

The six Royal Lyceum Theatre productions recognised in the 2015 CATS are Bondagers, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Faith Healer, Hedda Gabler, Kill Johnny Glendenning and The Venetian Twins.

Mark Thomson, artistic director of the Lyceum, who is leaving the theatre, said: "It's 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 that the people of Edinburgh and beyond can have great nights out at the theatre."

Mark Thomson is to leave the Royal Lyceum Theatre in May next year, after the 50th anniversary season for the Edinburgh venue.

Thomson joined The Lyceum in 2003 and under his artistic leadership the company produced more than 90 productions of which 28 were world premieres.

Actor Amy Manson has picked up her third CATS nomination, for Grusha in The Caucasian Chalk Circle and there were second nominations for Brian Ferguson, in Hamlet, Keith Fleming for The Call of the Wild, A Play, a Pie and a Pint, Grant O'Rourke as Zanetto and Tonino in The Venetian Twins and Meg Fraser as Susan in Woman in Mind, Dundee Rep.

The CATS Award ceremony returns to Glasgow's Tron Theatre this year.

It will be held on the afternoon of 14 June.

In 2014-5, 196 productions were eligible for the CATS including 78 new plays.

The CATS judging panel for 2014 included Mary Brennan and Neil Cooper of The Herald, Mark Brown of the Sunday Herald, Irene Brown, Michael Cox, Thom Dibdin, Mr Fisher, Ms McMillan, Allan Radcliffe, Amy Taylor Gareth K Vile and Joy Watters.

*2015 Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland short lists.

�¢ CATS' Whiskers - For outstanding achievement in pioneering and high-quality work by young people.

Junction 25 on its tenth anniversary.

�¢Best Male Performance

Brian Ferguson (Hamlet), Hamlet, Citizens Theatre

Keith Fleming (Buck), The Call of the Wild, A Play, a Pie and a Pint, Glasgow

Sean O'Callaghan (Francis Hardy), Faith Healer, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

Grant O'Rourke (Zanetto and Tonino), The Venetian Twins, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

�¢Best Female Performance, sponsored by STV

Nicola Daley (Hedda), Hedda Gabler, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

Meg Fraser (Susan), Woman in Mind, Dundee Rep Ensemble and Birmingham Repertory Theatre

Jenny Hulse (Beatrice), The Voice Thief, Catherine Wheels Theatre Company

Amy Manson (Grusha), The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

�¢Best Ensemble, sponsored by Equity

Bondagers, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

The Libertine, Citizens Theatre

The Venetian Twins, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

�¢Best Director

John Dove, Faith Healer, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

Tony Cownie, The Venetian Twins, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

Stewart Laing, Slope, Untitled Projects in partnership with KILTR, Citizens Theatre and Traverse Theatre Company

Mark Thomson, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

�¢Best Design

Mike Brookes (lighting designer), Anna Chaney (cinematographer), Stewart Laing (designer) and Nick Millar (technical director), Slope, Untitled Projects in partnership with KILTR, Citizens Theatre and Traverse Theatre Company

Graham McLaren (set and costume designer), Gavin Glover (associate designer), Kai Fischer (lighting designer), The Tin Forest, National Theatre of Scotland

Karen Tennent, The Voice Thief, Catherine Wheels

Jamie Vartan (designer) and Simon Wilkinson (lighting designer), Bondagers, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

�¢Best Music and Sound, sponsored by Guitar Guitar

Tyler Collins (musician), Gameli Tordzro (musician) and Matt Padden (sound design), Last Dream (On Earth), Kai Fischer in association with National Theatre of Scotland and Tron Theatre, Glasgow

Claire McKenzie (composer), The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

Daniel Padden, The Pine Tree, Poggle and Me, a MacRobert Arts Centre and Barrowland Ballet co-production

Wendy Weatherby (composer and musician), Tales of a Grandson, MacRobert Arts Centre and Andy Cannon in association with the Scottish International Storytelling Festival

�¢Best Technical Presentation

Slope, Untitled Projects in partnership with KILTR, Citizens Theatre and Traverse Theatre Company

Last Dream (On Earth), Kai Fischer in association with the National Theatre of Scotland and the Tron Theatre, Glasgow

The Tin Forest, National Theatre of Scotland

The Voice Thief, Catherine Wheels Theatre Company

�¢Best Production for Children and Young People, sponsored by Young Scot

The Pine Tree, Poggle and Me, a MacRobert Arts Centre and Barrowland Ballet co-production

The Pokey Hat, Grinagog Theatre

Tales of a Grandson, MacRobert Arts Centre and Andy Cannon in association with the Scottish International Storytelling Festival

The Voice Thief, Catherine Wheels Theatre Company

�¢Best New Play, sponsored by Robertson Taylor W&P Longreach - Theatre Insurance Brokers

Tony Cownie, The Venetian Twins, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

Andy Duffy, Crash, A Play, a Pie and a Pint staged in partnership with the Traverse Theatre Company

DC Jackson, Kill Johnny Glendenning, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh and Citizens Theatre

Martin McCormick, Squash, A Play, a Pie and a Pint presented by the Traverse Theatre Company

�¢Best Production

The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

Faith Healer, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

Slope, Untitled Projects in partnership with KILTR, Citizens Theatre and Traverse Theatre Company

The Venetian Twins, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh