Scope of the Awards
Fully-professional productions are excluded and only amateur and pro–am productions will be considered.
Personnel who are engaged on a fully professional basis (such as director, musical director, designers, cast members) may not be eligible for an award. For the purposes of the CAT Awards, a professional is taken to be someone who is being paid at or near Equity rates and/or who makes their living predominantly as (or is recognised as) a theatre professional, including performer, director, designer or technician.
Focus of the Awards
Awards concentrate on achievement and not on critique. Our judges compare productions and performances and only concentrate on notable achievements. With the current points system, we only grade aspects of a production that could be appropriate for final nomination and awards. So, while we consider all award categories for each production, we do not need to grade all aspects of it.
A number of categories are divided into youth and open categories (for example best performance, best production, best director categories). Youth categories are aimed at schools and youth theatre companies only. ‘Youth’ is considered to finish at the end of high school, therefore university theatre companies are considered in open categories.
Youth productions eligibility for nomination in open categories
School and youth productions are also eligible for nomination in open categories that do not have a corresponding youth category (for example set design, lighting design).
Young people are eligible for youth awards if they are of primary or secondary school age.
Young people performing in non-youth productions
Young people performing children’s roles in non-youth productions (for example, Oliver, Annie, young Peter Allen) are eligible for awards in youth performance categories.
Adults performing in youth productions
Adults appearing in a school or youth production are eligible for awards in the open categories, not the youth categories.
Number of nominations in each category
There is no limit to the number of categories in which a production can receive nominations, nor is there a limit to the number of times a company can appear in the final nomination list for any category.
The judges will usually make only six nominations and one Award in each category. However if the standard is particularly high in some categories we may make more than six nominations, and may make joint Awards.
Review of categories
Categories are reconsidered annually.
Judges participating in productions
Judges are not expected to withdraw from active participation in productions, and many of the judges are in fact practising performers or production personnel. If they are involved in a production, their contribution is not eligible for an award. However, other aspects of such productions are eligible for consideration.
Judges take no part in discussions on shows with which they are associated and leave the room during any discussion; they do not participate in any discussions regarding nominations for their show nor do they vote on winners associated with their own shows.
The majority of judges either are or have in the past been associated with companies who are eligible for nomination. However, judges act as individuals and not as representative of any company that they are associated with.