A YEAR after the second disastrous fire at Glasgow School of Art, the Scottish actor John Michie has been awarded a prestigious theatrical prize for a play inspired by the fate of the Mackintosh Building.

The Critic's Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS) awarded Michie the prize for best male performance in The Mack, while the Traverse Theatre's play Ulster American, written by David Ireland, won three awards, including the Best Production.

Perth Theatre's acclaimed Lost at Sea, by Morna Young, won two awards, including Best Ensemble, at the annual awards.

Lucianne McEvoy won the Best Female Performance for Ulster American which also won Best New Play and Best Production at the awards ceremony at Glasgow’s Tramway venue.

Joyce McMillan, the writer and co-convenor of the awards, said: "We live in an age of old and unprintable hatreds that suddenly spring back to life; and if there is a playwright born for that moment, it’s David Ireland.

"In Ulster American he whips up a tragi-comic storm of razor-sharp, taboo-busting dialogue that spirals shockingly towards violence; and Gareth Nicholls’s superb, fast-moving Traverse production combined with three terrific performances from Lucianne McEvoy, Robert Jack and Darrell D’Silva to create one of last year’s huge smash hits."

Perth Theatre’s production of Lost at Sea, Morna Young’s play inspired by the loss of her father at sea when she was a child, picked up two awards, Best Director (Ian Brown) and Best Ensemble.

Of Lost at Sea, the judges said: "Morna Young's Lost at Sea is a requiem to the fishermen of the North-East who perished in the waves. Almost operatic in construction, the voices of the ensemble, individually and a chorus, create an unforgettable portrait of the hardships and heartbreak faced by the fishing community."

The judges said of Ulster American: "We live in an age of old and unprintable hatreds that suddenly spring back to life; and if there is a playwright born for that moment, it’s David Ireland, with his brave and breathtaking gift for creating characters who brilliantly and hilariously expose the forbidden prejudices that often lurk beneath the liberal platitudes of 21st century life."

McEvoy's performance in the play was described as a "bravura performance" by judges, who added: "she goes from smiley and accommodating to, frankly, terrifying, as the suppressed rage of dealing with idiot men making assumptions based on their own prejudices comes spilling out."

Michie won for his performance as the senior fire officer suffering from severe post-traumatic stress after the first fire at the Glasgow School of Art in Rob Drummond’s The Mack, which was a A Play, a Pie and a Pint production at Oran Mor in Glasgow.

Mark Brown, a critic and judge, said: "John Michie played the role of the traumatised fire commander with a heart-wrenching dignity and subtlety.

"His performance conveyed with reverberative power the emotional reckoning of a stoical, west of Scotland man who, following the first fire at the Glasgow School of Art, is finally brought down by a career's worth of trauma."

Red Bridge Arts, the North Queensferry-based company, took the Best Production for Children and Young People award for the second year in a row, this year for Stick by Me co-produced with Andy Manley and Ian Cameron.

The awards were presented by Giles Havergal, the noted actor and former director of the Citizens Theatre, whose 81st birthday the CATS also celebrated at the event.

Best Design was won by Shona Reppe, Ailsa Paterson, Selene Cochrane and Chris Edser for Baba Yaga, the international co-production between Imaginate and Windmill Theatre Company of Adelaide, Australia.

The Best Technical award was picked up by The End of Eddy, the Untitled Projects and Unicorn Theatre co-production, and Best Use of Music and Sound went to Birds of Paradise and the National Theatre of Scotland for My Left Right Foot – The Musical.

Mark Fisher, co-convenor of the awards, said: "This has been another bumper year for theatre produced in Scotland.

"This was reflected in the large number of productions that were eligible for the awards and in the spread of winners between so many different companies.”

"It was tremendous to welcome Giles Havergal as our guest presenter.

"Giles made an unrivalled contribution to Scottish theatre in his over 30 years at the helm of the Citizens, which helped lay the foundations for so much of the work produced in Scotland today."

The CATS judging panel for 2019 comprised Mary Brennan (The Herald), Mark Brown (Herald on Sunday/Sunday National and The Daily Telegraph), Anna Burnside (Daily Record), Paul F Cockburn (BroadwayBaby), Neil Cooper (The Herald), Michael Cox (Across the Arts), Thom Dibdin (The Stage and AllEdinburghTheatre.com), Mark Fisher (The Guardian), Joyce McMillan (The Scotsman), David Pollock (The Independent), Allan Radcliffe (The Times), Amy Taylor (The Skinny) and Joy Watters (Across the Arts).