THE country’s only professional disability-led arts organisation tops the shortlists for the annual Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS).

Birds of Paradise is shortlisted in six award categories for My Left Right Foot – The Musical including best ensemble, best production and best director for Robert Softley Gale.

The company had its three-year funding withdrawn by Creative Scotland early in 2018 and it was only restored after a public outcry.

Co-produced with the National Theatre of Scotland, the raucous satire on the representation of disability on the stage and screen is staged at the Dundee Rep next week following its international premiere at the World Theatre Festival in Japan.

Other heavy hitters in the shortlists include Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre – nominated

11 times across four productions – the Tron Theatre’s surreal and compelling Ballyturk (five nominations) and Morna Young’s spell-binding epic about Scotland’s fishing communities Lost At Sea.

With four CATS nominations, Lost At Sea opens the Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival on Friday.

Robert Softley Gale, Birds of Paradise’s artistic director

and the writer of My Left Right Foot – The Musical, says his company is “thrilled” by the nominations.

“It wasn’t so long ago that work by disabled artists was seen as being on the fringes,” he says, “but now – in 2019 – we can finally have the confidence to say we’re a core part of the arts in Scotland.”

CATS Awards: June 9, Tramway, Glasgow, 4pm, £16.50 (+bf), £11 for Young Scot card holders). Tel: 0845 330 3501. Tickets:

My Left Right Foot – The Musical: May 21 to 25, Dundee Rep, 7.30pm, mats May 23 and 25 2.30pm, £12 to £22, concs £9 to £20. Tel: 01382 223530.

Lost At Sea: May 24, Easterbrook Hall, Dumfries, 8pm, £22, under-26s half price. Tickets: