Vancouver’s theatre industry has undergone rapid changes in recent seasons. With a sudden growth in equity collectives and professional productions under the Indie 2.1, or other similar contracts, as well as a reduction in Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) productions and companies, the Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards Society seeks consultation from its membership and the community at large:
The Jessies believes that the segregation of TYA and what we have deemed Large and Small Theatre represents the Vancouver theatre community of a different era, and it makes sense to shift configuration.
The Jessies recognizes that within both Large and Small Theatre a person can see a wide spectrum of styles of theatre and subject matter. We believe our juries are astute enough to identify “outstanding” content and craft, regardless of whether it is aimed towards a younger audience or an older one.
With this, and the current make up of the small theatre category in mind, the Jessies would like to fold TYA into Large or Small Theatre, depending on where they sit with the other criteria and creating a new category for Independent Theatre. Independent Theatre would consist of collectives, shows engaging artists under the Indie 2.1 and other similar contracts.
As the TYA category held five awards: Outstanding Production, Outstanding Performance, Outstanding Design, Outstanding Artistic Creation, and Significant Artistic Achievement, so the Independent would maintain the same number of awards, with potential restructuring to better reflect the elements of Indie shows.
While details of category cut-offs and award make up are yet to be determined, this shift would even distribution of productions among the categories, making space for each production to stand on its own merits and better reflecting the current make up of the industry. The Jessies believes that this move will lift up the perception and standing of both TYA and Independent productions to the public.