There are many ‘magic moments’ at the theatre. They are the ones you remember forever and often influence your future entertainment choices whether participating or enjoying. The annual Cat Awards has an award for that category given in the name of the late John Thomson who was a school mate of mine all those many years ago when we learned about the orchestra sitting on the floor of the Albert Hall and in forgettable school plays at the end of the year. At the 2015 awards there were two magic moments in the production. Jessica Garraway singing Suddenly Seymour from Little Shop of Horrors was a spine tingling performance and the Legs Dance Academy’s Dream Team – the special needs and Down Syndrome group - dancing up a storm to the Stevie Wonder Happy Birthday, had us all moist eyed during a standing ovation.
But then there was the enormity of this multi faceted production that has grown exponentially as the awards have spread far and wide to encompass a growing array of theatre performances across the state and our territory. Financing has always been an issue and the current support is coming recently from the NSW Government and some from the ACT Government, local sponsors and private supporters with Cat Awards President Dennis Martin again urging those who can, should, support the awards.
For those who participate it is a night to go glam, frock up and scream loudly for their favourites in each category with this year a slicker, smarter and faster presentation of awards and an obvious dilemma for judges when so many awards were shared. You do get the feeling that the Cat Awards wants everyone to be a winner, but in this arena there is no reprisal for coming second among all those second place getters, because in essence it’s about celebration and the bus loads of nominees and supporters who fill the auditorium are out for a good time.
The awards' entertainment has become so professional; well balanced to showcase the extraordinary variety of talent and categories for excellence, but it has grown too big and maybe a spinoff of the schools would be sensible. 20 years on, just like so many businesses, leaner is the way to go but as we all know you can’t please all of the people all of the time but we can ‘always look on the bright side’ because talent abounds in this city.