The point of the Offies is to help raise the profile and status of independent theatres in London by giving them greater power to promote their work individually and collectively and to reward the new talent that they nurture and that is essential to the future of our theatre industry.
The Offies are awarded in a number of categories that include individual and ensemble performances, writing, direction, design and technical production. Awards cover plays and musicals, as well as opera, theatre for young people, and new theatre forms such as devised, immersive and experiential work.
Theatres and companies with shows that are nominated for awards receive badges to help publicise the fact, and all nominees are listed on the Offies website, with an image of the show or the nominee.
The Offies cover a calendar year. Early the following year, the finalists in each category are announced, and then the winners are announced at an awards ceremony in Feburary/March.
As well as the publicity and prestige associated with an Offies award, winners are offered the opportunity of mentoring by a Patron Saint, an established figure in their field in the theatre world.
From 2010-2017 inclusive, the statistics are impressive:
- There were 2,500 nominations, of which 520 were selected as finalists, and then 180 as winners.
- There were 51 theatre venues with 10 or more nominations, including winners and finalists, and a further 58 with 2-9 nominations, including winners and finalists, and then 41 with 1 nomination.
- 46 venues had at least one winner and 87 venues had at least one finalist (some of whom were winners).
- There were over 130 theatres and other venues which were visited for an assessment, of which 81 are in the latest OffWestEnd Theatre Venues Directory (which lists a total of 101 theatre venues).
These theatres and venues are not just in central London – they include venues located in Bromley, Enfield, Greenwich, Havering, Haringey, Kingston, Lewisham, Merton, Newham, Richmond, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, and Wandsworth.
New and information on OffWestEnd theatres and their productions can be found at www.offwestend.com