THERE was bittersweet success for Edinburgh’s Lyceum Theatre at Scotland’s main theatre awards yesterday, as the event organisers admitted it was a “challenging time for theatre in Scotland”.

The Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS) saw the Edinburgh institution, which turns 50 this year, take six of the ten awards.

Scottish actor Grant O’Rourke, who has seen his profile rocket after landing a role in hit TV show Outlander, was named best actor for his part in the Lyceum’s Venetian Twins.

The theatre’s Caucasian Chalk Circle took the award for best production, as well as best female performance award for Amy Manson, best ensemble and best director for Mark Thomson.

The Lyceum’s Bondagers picked up the Best Design Award.

It was a bittersweet win for the theatre.

Late last year the Lyceum saw an unexpected 17 per cent cut in funding from Creative Scotland.

Thomson, the theatre’s director, also announced in May that he was going stand down.

CATS co-convenor Joyce McMillan said it was “a challenging time for theatre in Scotland” and that three of the companies who won awards were “facing uncertain futures”.

She added: “As the Royal Lyceum enters its 50th anniversary year it has to cope with a major cut in funding.

“Slope, meanwhile, may be the last Untitled Productions show in Scotland for some time.

“Now we appear to have lost The Arches, a trailblazing company that is one of the most tangible legacies of Glasgow’s year as European Capital of Culture.

“We all sincerely wish that ways will be found to ensure the work commissioned and created by these wonderful companies continues to be part of Scotland’s rich theatrical landscape.”

The awards were presented by comedian and actor Karen Dunbar and Tron Theatre artistic director Andy Arnold.

There were also awards for children’s theatre company Catherine Wheels, whose show Voice Thief won best production for children and the young people award.

Martin McCormick’s Squash won best new play – the award was picked up by producers A Play, A Pie and A Pint and the Traverse.

The best music and sound award went to Last Dream (On Earth) – a Kai Fischer production in association with National Theatre of Scotland and Tron Theatre, Glasgow.

Slope, produced in partnership with KILTR, Citizens Theatre and Traverse Theatre Company, won the best technical presentation award.

Junction 25, a group of Glasgow-based teenagers who make original shows were awarded the Cat’s Whiskers, a special prize, for their output.

CATS co-convenor Mark Fisher said: “This has been another wonderful year for theatre in Scotland, and it speaks volumes about the quality of the work being produced at the Royal Lyceum that no fewer than three of its productions have triumphed against such strong competition.

Amy Manson, whose affecting portrayal of Grusha in The Caucasian Chalk Circle won her a second best female performance award and Grant O’Rourke, who picks his first best male performance award for his superb performance in The Venetian Twins, were both worthy winners for roles in two very contrasting Royal Lyceum productions.”