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Theatres must 1) compensate all artists and 2) secure legal rights to the play or musical being presented. Details regarding compensation minimums will be forthcoming after further discussion with the theatre community.
Focusing on individual productions rather than theatre companies, the ratio of greater than and less than 51% Equity contracts makes it possible to responsibly judge 200+ annual theatre productions without creating an arbitrary divide within the theatre community. With this production-specific criteria, many theatre companies will have shows eligible in both the Helen and Hayes groups in any given year.
Yes, both the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play or Musical and the Outstanding Play or Musical, Adaptation will be assessed by a dedicated panel of judges. Because their sole responsibility is to examine new plays, judges will be able to assess all eligible productions, thus assuring the credibility of the award. There will also be single awards for Outstanding Visiting Production; Outstanding Performer, Visiting Production; and Outstanding Production, Theatre for Young Audiences.
As it is logistically difficult to present 47 Awards onstage within a 2 or 3-hour event, the format of the Awards Show is still under consideration. The main thing emphasized when the restructuring of the Awards was considered was what the best thing was for our community—not how it could be presented at the event.
It’s possible that 47 Helen Hayes Awards could be given in a single year. However, that number may decrease if any category does not have enough eligible productions (critical mass), or even nominations, to warrant adjudication.
Nominations are determined purely by the score recorded on each judge’s ballot, then analyzed using five statistical overlays. After the nominees have been announced, each panel of judges will gather for a “second look.” This will consist of a visual refresher of nominated productions, followed by a discussion of their merits. Facilitators will ensure that these discussions do not become opportunities for lobbying or persuasion.
Two: the award for Outstanding Visiting Production, and the award for Outstanding Performance in a Visiting Production, which encompasses both leading and supporting roles. These awards are intended to honor the host theatres who program and fund visiting productions, as well as paying direct tribute to the artists involved.
No, the categories of Helen and Hayes were created solely for the purpose of managing the adjudication process. Each and every recipient will receive a Helen Hayes Award.
To maintain the value of the Helen Hayes Award as a credible symbol of excellence, it’s essential that productions or group of productions under consideration all be seen by the same group of judges. With more than 200 eligible productions each year, this goal was impossible. By distinguishing Helen productions and Hayes productions, we can ensure that designated panels of judges will adjudicate the same productions.
In brief, there are three ways that the value of the Helen Hayes Award has been increased. 1) Each panel of judges will assess the same group of plays or musicals; 2) Judges will be nominated by individual artistic directors and voted on by all artistic directors, after a vetting process conducted by theatreWashington; 3) nominated productions will now receive a “second look” at the close of the calendar year, during which panels of judges will review nominated productions and make their final, secret votes.
Yes, within the Helen and Hayes groups there is a designated Play Panel and Musical Panel. There is also a single New Play Panel, which will assess new plays and musicals in both groups.
Judges can be current or former theatre professionals, theatre academics, or lifelong and learned theatregoers. They must be nominated by an artistic director at an eligible theatre. Following nomination they complete a detailed application and are vetted by theatreWashington staff to determine potential conflicts of interest or other disqualifying issues. Nominees are then voted on by the entire body of artistic directors, who will first study the completed applications.
The theatre community participated throughout the process. In addition to receiving ongoing input from concerned individuals, theatreWashington was proactive in obtaining public comment through a variety of means. Most significant was a “summit,” held in mid-summer, during which participants shared their views and suggestions about the future of the awards. Also critical to the process were a series of meetings in which Task Force members shared their initial findings with small groups of theatre professionals, for comment and suggestions.