Stage awards are given away for excellence in theatre and stage performances across various categories. The awards system differs from category to category – e.g. stage shows, musicals, dramas, operas and so on. Some have closed nominations monitored by a committee or board while some have open selection and nomination processes. The criteria for awards selection also varies across categories.
Let’s take a look at some of the 2016 Stage Award Winners. In December 2015 the shortlist was prepared and the final winners announced in January 2016. Categories such as Regional Theatre of the Year, London Theatre of the Year, and Fringe Theatre of the Year were some of them. Besides these, award categories like Producer of the Year, Theatre School of the Year, and Theatre Building of the Year appreciate the efforts of individuals, arts schools and theatre locations that contribute as a whole to the events.
A look at popular theatre awards in New York for instance bring up big names like:
• Tony Award
• Drama Desk Award
• Drama League Award
• Clarence Derwent prizes
• New York Drama Critics’ Circle prizes
• Theatre World Award
• New York Innovative Theatre prizes
And so on. Broadway in New York is home to the theatre industry in the country and is a prestigious name in theatre and stage shows. Some of the other awards from around the US are Carbonell Awards, Backstage West Garland Awards. Elliott Norton Awards, Ivey Awards, LA Weekly Theatre Award, NAACP Theatre prizes, Ovation Awards, Sarah Siddons prize and the like.
In the UK, London is the premier location for theatre and stage shows and some of the prestigious awards here are Laurence Olivier Awards, London Critics’ Circle Awards. Evening Standard prizes, Technical Theatre Awards.
While most of the above are given for individual performances in lead roles and for excellence in several technical aspects that go into the production, there are stage management awards that celebrate excellence and outstanding achievement in Production & Stage Management both individual and team.
The Schmidt and Jones Awards
These prizes are named after Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones, creators of the longest running show in American theatre history, The Fantasticks. An original Broadway production of the show ran for 42 years showcasing 17,165 performances. Honoring excellence in musical theatre produced by schools in Texas counties through a panel of judges that consist of theatre professionals and educators, the awards are given in many categories – individual and team performances, design, music, props, production etc. – but the awards are handed out only to students. The Schmidt and Jones Awards have provided the golden opportunity to North Texas theatre students to showcase their talent and skills and achieve recognition with a Tony prize feel.