ONE of Scotland's leading disabled theatre companies, Birds of Paradise, is among the leading companies in the short lists for the nation's theatre awards.

My Left Foot Right Foot - The Musical is in the running for six Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS), a year after it was stripped of funding in the controversial Creative Scotland funding row of last year.

Now funded again, Birds of Paradise, led by Robert Softly Gale, is up for awards including best ensemble, best director, and best production, it is announced today.

The Traverse Theatre has 11 nominations across four shows, and the Tron Theatre's Ballyturk and Perth Theatre's Lost at Sea receive five nods each.

Jessica Hardwick, Cora Bissett, Irene Macdougall and Lucianne McEvoy are shortlisted for Best Female Performance while John Michie, Grant O’Rourke, Lorn Macdonald and Darrell D’Silva shortlisted for Best Male Performance.

John Michie has been shortlisted for his role in The Mack, a new play which ruminates on the two fires at the Glasgow School of Art.

My Left Right Foot just had its international premiere at the World Theatre Festival in Japan and will be staged at the Brighton International Festival next week and in Dundee from 21 to 25 May.

The winners will be announced on 9 June at an event at the Tramway in Glasgow.

Joyce McMillan, co-convenor of the awards, said: "The initial decision to cut regular funding for Birds of Paradise seemed out of tune with Creative Scotland’s commitment to supporting arts that are by and for everyone.

"Theatre should be inclusive, and this great show demonstrates how Birds of Paradise have become a vital part of Scotland’s theatre scene over the last 25 years, creating award-winning work in which artists with disability and without can work together to produce world-class, thought-provoking entertainment, for audiences everywhere.”

"Not only did Robert Softley Gale’s take on the controversial Oscar-winning film My Left Foot stand up for disabled people’s right to be heard, but it did it in a brilliantly humorous and theatrical way, in one of the finest productions of the year."

Mr Softley Gale said: "We are so incredibly thrilled to receive these six CATS nominations for My Left Right Foot – The Musical.

"We created the show in co-production with the National Theatre of Scotland to mark our 25th anniversary year.

"Making a large-scale musical takes so many talented artists working together and it's a fantastic testament to them that we've received this recognition. It wasn't so long ago that work by disabled artists was seen as being on the fringes, but now - in 2019 - we can finally have the confidence to say we're a core part of the arts in Scotland."

The Traverse theatre has 11 nominations across four different productions - Ulster American, Mouthpiece, What Girls Are Made Of and The Mack.

Red Bridge Arts make the shortlist for Best Production for Children again this year with Stick By Me, a piece co-created with Andy Manley and Ian Cameron.

The shortlist also includes Baba Yaga, a collaboration between Edinburgh’s Imaginate and Windmill Theatre Company from Adelaide, The End of Eddy, an Untitled Projects co-production with London’s Unicorn Theatre and Nests, a collaboration between Frozen Charlotte and Stadium Rock.

Mark Fisher, co-convenor of the awards, said: "In these divisive times, it’s heartening to see theatre companies reaching beyond Scotland to make cultural connections with the rest of the world.

"In previous years, we have celebrated collaborations with companies from Istanbul, Minneapolis, Naples, Norway, Singapore, Tianjin and elsewhere.

"Let’s hope such artistic cross-pollination continues to enrich theatre at home and abroad."