Report from Elise Greig, Chair of the Judging Panel
Well, time flies when you’re having fun and that’s exactly what we’ve been doing at the Matilda Awards. Flying. No, having fun seeing loads and loads of theatre. Nasim Khosravi, Rosemary Walker, Nathan Sibthorpe, Catarina Hebbard, James Harper, Yvette Walker, Lewis Jones, Troy Ollerenshaw, Susan Hetherington, Anna Yen and, I (Elise Greig- Lead Judge) have seen over 50 shows this year, with more to come.
As mentioned during our first newsletter back in May, an important element of the role of Lead Judge is to maintain clear and open communication with the theatre industry. We’ve been doing this through targeted conversations and correspondence; by reaching out to groups who might have overlooked, or not known, they could register their show and by seeking feedback that we then unpack during our meetings. This newsletter is another way in which we aim to ensure those channels are open and flowing by keeping our industry in the loop about what’s been happening during Judging Committee and Executive meetings.
Once again, we think it’s important to acknowledge the separate roles of the Judging Committee and the Executive. The role of the Judging Committee is to facilitate the recognition of artistic achievement and excellence in the industry by judging and distributing the awards. We view, evaluate and vote on the productions we see, with each committee member bringing their unique aesthetic to the criteria of excellence, execution and degree of difficulty. Alongside our judging role we also discuss other industry and awards issues as they arise and report our recommendations to the Executive.
It is, however, the Executive who make the final ruling on any issues. The primary function of the Executive is to act as a management committee, dealing with governance. They are therefore responsible for abiding by the rules of the constitution, dealing with funding bodies and overseeing the awards ceremony and Judging Committee. In short, the Judging Committee can make recommendations regarding management issues, but the Executive will have the final ruling on those issues. Our key function is to see heaps of theatre, discuss it in depth and then vote to determine how the awards will be distributed.
The Judging Committee meets every 6 to 8 weeks and, along with discussing the various shows we’ve seen, a number of other issues have also been dealt with and fed up the line to the Executive. These are a couple of the key issues we’ve been dealing with over the last few months-
We are often asked, and rightly so, to define what is meant by two key terms – ‘Queensland artist’ and ‘professional.’ We have therefore spent time discussing, debating and generating a definition of both terms. These definitions were then ratified by the Executive.
Queensland Artist - Definition and Eligibility
The Matilda Awards honour and celebrate the achievements of the Queensland theatre industry. Therefore, for an artist to be eligible for consideration they need to be based in Queensland or have an ongoing relationship with the Queensland theatre industry. This is deemed to be a relationship whereby the artist has worked within the Queensland theatre industry within the last five years prior to nomination. For a production to be eligible it needs to have been made by a company or entity based in Queensland.
Professional Artist – Definition and Eligibility
Practitioners need to be professional or equivalent. This can be measured by a combination of the following – members of MEAA; have previously and/or currently worked professionally in the industry and/or have trained at a recognised institution; have a body of work with a recognised independent or semi-professional company or companies and/or have engaged in the theatre industry as the primary paid or semi-paid occupation and point of focus rather than as an adjunct or hobby.
The other important issue we’ve been working on is reinstating the Backstage Award. This award was previously presented on 2 occasions, but it is something we feel needs to be included again. Part of the difficulty is coming up with a fair and measurable nomination and voting system. After consulting with industry members, reflecting on feedback and discussing at length, we feel we have arrived at a process that is fair, measurable and sustainable. This award will not be awarded during the 2018 theatre year but will be introduced for the 2019 theatre year.
Backstage Award Definition and Eligibility –
The backstage award recognises an individual or small group who display excellence within their position behind the scenes. This could include, but it not limited to, stage managers, assistant stage managers, lighting operators, production managers, or sound/lighting operators. Nominations will be made by a written submission from (but not limited to) the producer, director, associate director, general manager, costume designer, lighting designer, sound designer or cast of a production. They will write a submission 500 words addressing the following questions –
How has the nominee displayed excellence within their field within the last theatre year?
What was the degree of difficulty associated with the position in this particular production or productions?
Could you give a specific example or two of an instance or instances when the nominee went above and beyond the expectations of their positions to execute work of excellence.
Nominations will then be received by the Judging Committee who will create a short list and the eventual winner, utilising the judging process outlined on the website (4,3,2,1 votes etc.) Should the judging committee require further information, the Lead Judge, on behalf of the Judging Committee, will consult with members of the industry before participating in the voting process.
Remember to Register!
A quick reminder to register your production at least 6 weeks prior to opening night. This allows the committee enough time to coordinate diaries and commitments and to gather a quorum for shows. Currently our reach includes Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Ipswich and Toowoomba. We have recently travelled to Cairns to see a show and are accepting filmed submissions from companies outside the South East, including Townsville.
That’s it for now. We hope we have provided useful information for you that clarifies a number of issues. If you have any concerns or queries do not hesitate to make contact via the Matilda website. We love to get your feedback so please don’t hesitate to bring it to us.
Look forward to seeing you at the theatre.
On behalf of the Matilda Judging Committee