The Helen Hayes Awards that celebrate the Washington, DC, theatre community's work, will select its nominees in a new way beginning Jan. 1, 2003, the start of the Hayes nominating season, The Washington Post reported.
The awards were founded in 1983 when the capital city had only a handful of resident theatres. That number has grown from 14 to about 80, the paper reported. The previous system of nominators and judges is no longer suitable.
In the past (and in the current nominating season, which will be feted in early 2003) there have been 120 nominators who see works and recommend them to a panel of five judges who visit the shows and further assess their value.
The new system, developed following concerns addressed by members of the theatre community, gets rid of the nominators in favor of 50 judges, including journalists, teachers, theatregoers and industry folk. Eligible shows will be seen by 10 judges who are assigned randomly. Their votes get tallied by accountants and the nominated shows or artists are announced early in the year. The ceremony in 2004 will be in May.
— By Kenneth Jones