January 29, 2012

PLan D presents  
a celebration of creative excellence – 


Background – by Patrick Davies 

For a number of years there had been a long discussion about the establishment of the Dunedin Theatre Awards that seemed stymied by the lack of someone to actually do it, and the minefield of how it might be achieved in a semi- and pro- environment. Towards the end of 2010 I decided to get off my arse and do it regardless. I was able to get it up and running with twelve of the more obvious theatre providers involved by begging, wooing and coercion. I scoured programmes, the internet, reviews, and people’s brains for all of the required information. The Fortune Theatre kindly made their premises available and the reviewers fell in behind the idea with great gusto – even though it meant they would be forced to drag every performance back from their memories to adjudicate the contenders. The ever resourceful and supportive Cara Patterson, the DCC Arts Officer, agreed to be our scrutineer to keep it all on the up and up.

With a lot of help from volunteers such as Cindy Diver, Clare Adams and Stage South the result was a very successful evening that was hosted by Peter Hayden and attended by the Mayor Dave Cull, who agreed to do it at three days notice because he recognised the value of what we were achieving. It was a great thrill to see so many different representatives from different theatre groups in attendance – not only for the ceremony itself, but remaining afterwards for more bubbles, the chance to network and to put names to faces. This all happened within the space of fourteen days.

The awards are a great way to end the year. By raising the profile of our wonderful city’s talents, people and creativity on a national scale, we enable better corporate partnerships and relationships with funding bodies. It also results in audiences becoming more aware of the thrilling diversity of entertainment and art available in a city renowned for its individuality and creative passion.

Apart from the obvious function of the awards as an indicator of excellence, they are also a prime way for the community to interact at both a networking and social level. PLan D believes we become a stronger artistic and financial presence inDunedinif we are able to communicate and utilise each other more purposefully.

I had kept the criteria for 2010 as general as possible, but due to time and personnel constraints not every group was involved. This resulted in a fantastic set of Letters to the Editor and a wonderful article in the Otago Daily Times. Most of the ‘analysis’ of those letters was deserved if not well informed – which I own as my own fault for using the words ‘Dunedin’, ‘inclusive’ and ‘cash bar’. But I regard the eruption as an indicator of the importance of the awards in the civic landscape and our own community. Also my policy in these matters is akin to Oscar Wilde’s possibly apocryphal– “I don’t care what they print about me as long as they get my name right”.

In 2011 I made a particular effort to widen the net. This year I was able to contact 29 different theatre providers and engage them with this project, mostly with a very high percentage of success. I have always made it known that I am open to input into how the awards are conducted and invite all individuals, groups, companies, entities, etc to have their say. I am intrigued and very willing to be open to all feedback. After this year’s Letters to the Editor I have had an incredible amount of support from actors, directors, and groups across the board. I have sat down with a large number of theatre providers and had coffees while listening to ideas and wish lists regarding the awards.

I invite you to send ideas and thoughts back to PLan D.

Particularly I’m very interested in ideas and suggestions that have a concrete form for the future of the awards. If, for example, you wish to comment on the make up of the Panel then it would be advantageous to include positions (e.g. ‘NCEA Moderator’) or actual names rather than a statement such as ‘there should be a wider range of judges on the Panel’.

I hope you will engage with this endeavour in support of our wider community.

Written submissions can be emailed to
by 5:00pm Friday, 2nd March 2012.



a celebration of creative excellence



      The following is a draft document for feedback on the Dunedin Theatre Awards from the theatrical industry community. WithinDunedinwe have a wide variety of providers of theatre with widely ranging financial, personnel, genre and ideological backgrounds. The awards are about leadership through excellence in differing areas of theatre artistry. The awards celebrate the quality of ideas and the ability to manifest those ideas to the best of the each provider’s abilities.

The deadline for comments and feedback to be sent to
Is 5:00pm Friday, 2nd March 2012.


To be eligible for consideration for the Dunedin Theatre Awards[1] productions must comply with the following: –

  • The production/event/work is sited in Dunedin[2] AND;
  • the production/event/work falls within the generally accepted definition of ‘theatrical performance[3]AND;
  • the production/event/work has opened on or after the third Friday in November of the year prior to, OR before the third Friday in November of the year of the Dunedin Theatre Awards AND;
  • is open to the general public AND;
  • all and complete information on personnel, (including performers, creative teams, producers, production company’s names, etc.), must be emailed to dunedintheatreawards@gmail.com by 5pm on the third Friday of November of the year of the awards by the Theatre Provider.

Theatre Providers and Artists

A Theatre Provider is defined as any individual, group or entity that is responsible for the presentation and/or production of a theatrical work.

Each Provider must nominate one individual to oversee all correspondence in matters relating to the awards using the dunedintheatreawards@gmail.com address.

Currently Theatre Providers do not nominate specific actors, designers, directors, etc. for general awards. Everyone in each production is automatically considered for their applicable award and every effort is made to gather that information into the respective categories presented to the Panel.

This year each Theatre Provider’s nominated contact  must compile an accurate list for each award category and email that information before 5pm on the third Friday of November to dunedintheatreawards@gmail.com.

Any information not received or received late will not be presented to the Panel.

If you have directed, designed, etc. a show for a Theatre Provider please ensure the Provider’s nominated committee member, trustee, person, etc. relays your information to PLan D. This is in an effort to cut down on multiple, and sometimes contradictory, emails from that come from differing members of a production.

Prior to productions Theatre Providers are asked to send press releases and season/production information to dunedintheatreawards@gmail.com so that information can be forwarded to the Panel.

During productions Theatre Providers are asked to make two complimentary tickets available for Panel members to see their production/work. Panel members who are not already attending through review tickets already will contact your booking system directly and book their complementary tickets. They may or may not be able to review the production.

Once the award nominations are made public PLan D will contact individual nominees for a headshot and the Theatre Provider for publicity and/or production photos and materials for award promotions. It is up to the Theatre Provider to ensure that all copyright and applicable permissions and laws are adhered to.

Awards & Criteria

The awards are decided in two different ways: –


  • Any artist, entity or Theatre Provider complying with the eligibility criteria immediately qualify.
  • Theatre Providers must provide an accurate and complete list of production personnel[4] separated into Award categories by the deadline.
  • These ‘Consideration Lists’ for each category, from each Theatre Provider, are compiled and sent to each member of the Panel and the Scrutineer.
  • The definitions allow for the widest variety of work to be included.

Award for Best Director

         Awarded for the best direction in the award year.

         The work will show passion, articulation of a coherent artistic vision and leadership of the production/artist team to delivery of that vision.

Award for Best Dunedin Script/Narrative Work

         For excellence inDunedinstorytelling of the year.

         (e.g. includes productions, readings, devised work, and non-text/non-word based performance).

         The work will display originality and talent in both content and form.

Award for Best Performance, Female                        

         Awarded for the best female performance of the year.

         The work will show passion, understanding and originality.

Award for Best Performance, Male

         Awarded for the best male performance of the year.

         The work will show passion, understanding and originality.

Award for Best Publicity

         For excellence in promotion of a work in the award year.

         The promotion campaign will display coherence through the chosen media, originality  (both of the artistic campaign itself and the way in which the campaign is produced), and efficacy of the campaign within the provider’s financial and personnel constraints.

Award for Best Scenographic Design

         For excellence in original ‘concrete’ design of the year.

         (e.g. set; costumes; properties; set dressing; make-up)

         The work will display support of the artistic vision, originality, purpose and ability within the means of the Provider.

Award for Best Technical Design

         For excellence in original ‘virtual’ design of the year.

         (e.g. lights; sound; film; projection; multi-media)

         The work will display support of the artistic vision, originality, purpose and ability within the means of the Provider. 

Award for Best Visiting Production

         A visiting production is defined as having originated outside ofDunedinand its environs. The value of this award is to both recognise excellence in the work that is exposed toDunedinaudiences and to expose the Dunedin Theatre Awards to national and international audiences and industry people.

Award for Production of the Year

         Awarded for the best theatre production/event/work of the year.

         The work will show production values that display consideration and coherence of the artistic vision of the provider and the delivery of the work within the provider’s financial and personnel constraints.


  • Anyone can nominate recipients for these awards.
  • Each nomination must be accompanied by
  1. the Nominator’s name and contact details
  2. the name and contact details of the Nominee
  3. a paragraph outlining the reason for nomination (min 650 words)
  • The awards are decided by consensus of the Panel at a meeting prior to the awards.
  • These awards may or may not be presented within each award year.

 Emerging Talent

         Awarded for showing significant and continuing promise in any theatrical field in the award year.

         Nominees can be from any genre, form or discipline and are not restricted in age.

         This includes a change in fields (i.e. if a designer becomes a second or third time director). The nominees must be within the first two years industry activity or exposure in their new field, AND must show a desire to continue in that field.

Award for Industry Support Award

         Awarded to an individual, company or group for significantly supporting the production of Theatre inDunedin, (e.g. sponsorship; goods in kind; volunteers; etc.).

         This award recognises that civil and industry based communities provide Theatre Providers with  help through sponsorship, funding, products, in-kind sponsorship, etc. that enables a wide range of projects to succeed.

         The first recipient of this award was the Otago Community Trust for the incredible amount of funding to theatrical bodies and productions provided since it’s inception.

Outstanding Contribution to Dunedin Theatre

         Recognising an individual, company or group who has improved the landscape of the theatre arts inDunedinin a lasting and significant way.

         The first recipient of this award was Nicholas McBryde who created the Otago Festival of the Arts which, for a decade, has providedDunedinand Otago with high quality theatrical experiences as well as show casing local talent on an international stage.

Lifetime Achievement Award

         Awarded to an individual, company or group for an extraordinary career or history of improving the landscape of the Theatre arts in a lasting and significant way.

         This award was created in 2011 to recognise those industry persons who have enriched our community. Roger Hall was given this award to highlight, not only his extremely high profile as New Zealand’s most produced and well known writer, but also for his financial contribution to the Fortune Theatre, Playmarket and many professional and local theatres through the production of his work.

The Panel and…

The Panel is comprised of established critics and reviewers fromDunedinand national publications. Every attempt is made to ensure that as many differing viewpoints and genres are included in it’s membership.

The members of the Panel will be made public when the official Theatre Award policy is announced.

The Scrutineer is Cara Paterson who is the Arts Officer for the Dunedin City Council. She has no voting rights and each Panel member sends her a copy of their votes.

The Panel and Scrutineer are volunteers. In a perfect world all Panel members would see each and every production/event in 2011/12 – that is simply not practicable. Each Panel member see upwards of 25 shows a year and not always in a reviewer capacity. Each Panel member voiced a commitment to increasing the number of productions/events they attend in this coming award year

In 2012 we have initiated a communication plan whereby if one Panel member sees a production that they believe is a hot contender for award consideration then they are able to recommend it to the other Panel members to help ensure the widest variety of Panel members see it.


              …the decision process

The General Awards are decided using a blind voting system. Panel members do not see each other’s votes before or after the award ceremony.

  • Once the “Consideration Lists’ are delivered to each Panel member:-
  • deletes from the list any show that s/he has been involved in.
  • Panel members have the choice to cast up to five votes per category.
  • 5 is given to their first choice, 4 to their second choice, and so on.
  • Panel members are not required to use all of the votes
  • Once finished they email their results to PLan D AND separately to the scrutineer who retains each set of original votes from each Panel member.
  • There is only one round of voting and the three highest scoring become the nominees.
  • The nominee with the highest votes is announced as the winner on the night.
  • If there is a tie for a place as a nomination, (but not as a winner), then all become nominees so long as the number of nominees is no larger than 5. If there are a total of more that 5 nominees then the Panel re-votes the tied place.
  • If the tie is for the winning position then the Panel revotes the tie. In the event of a second tie then both winning nominees win.

For example:-

Best Performance, Male

   Name                                 Part                    Production                         Provider                                  Vote

   Pat Pedigree                     Napoleon          Hamlet                                  Grinsbourne Theatre                    

   Sam GummyBear          Peer Gynt         Peer Gynt                            Immaculate Productions         5

   Gordon Lightfoot              Hamlet               Hamlet                                  Grinsbourne Theatre

   Hulla Ballloza                   Lulu                    Punch N’ Judy                    SeasideProductions                    1

   Simon Seez                      Mr. Crapthorpe The Lady’s Burning            DifferrentAbles

   Hulla Ballloza                   N/A                      MimeWatch                          HandsOn Theatre                        2

   Baily Seretonin                 Stickly                 Hamlet                                  Grinsbourne Theatre                   4


This means that this Panel member has the following ranking:-

            Best Performance                               Sam GummyBear

                                       then                               Baily Seretonin

                                       then                               Hulla Ballloza

                                       then                               Hulla Ballloza

The Special Awards are decided by consensus at a meeting of the Panel on the Saturday prior to the awards.

  • This meeting is facilitated by PLan D
  • There is no requirement to award any of the Special Awards in any given year.
  • In extraordinary circumstances the Panel may award more than one or each award.


The Dunedin Theatre Awards Schedule for 2012


       23rd      Friday       5pm

  • Deadline for Theatre Providers to deliver category specific personnel information for awards
  • Any discrepancies are checked
  • Information is collated into the General Awards Consideration Document
  • Nominations for the Special Awards are checked and collated into the Special Awards Consideration Document

       26th      Monday

  • The General and Special Awards Documents are emailed to the Panel members and the Scrutineer.

       30th      Friday       5pm

  • Deadline for Panel members votes both to PLan D and the Scrutineer
  • All Panel votes are added up at PLan D.
  • The three contenders scoring the three highest amounts of votes are the nominees with the top contender winning that category.
  • The results are confirmed with the Scrutineer.
  • The Panel are not informed of the results.


       2nd        Sunday

  • A press release is sent to the media and embargoed until midnight Sunday 2nd December
  • Nomination letters are sent to Nominees and Theatre Providers via email.

       3rd         Monday

  • The list of nominations are released to the public.

       9th         Sunday    10am

  • The Panel meet to discuss nominations for Special awards.

       10th      Monday   7pm

  • Award ceremony
  • On a Monday to avoid both the Fortune Theatre performance nights and businesses Christmas functions.

       11th      Tuesday

  • Award results released

The deadline for comments and feedback to be sent to
is 5:00pm Friday, 2nd March 2012.

[1] For the General Awards

[2] The Best Visiting Production Award is the only award for non-Dunedin sited theatre providers.

[3] If a ‘Festival’ categorisation would place you within Dance or Music you are not eligible.

[4] Both production and artistic personnel

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