This webpage is about the Offies awards which are mainly for “full run” shows of at least 10 performances – at the end of this webpage, there are links to information about the Offies Commendation awards: OffComm / OffFest / OnComm.
Offies awards are open to independent, alternative and fringe theatres. It is up to the theatre and/or their visiting companies to decide whether or not to invite Offies assessors to their shows.
ELIGIBLE VENUES / LENGTH OF RUN / CATEGORIES
There are around 100 venues eligible for the full run Offies awards – CLICK HERE for a list and also for information on those theatres which are not eligible (as their shows are eligible for the Olivier awards).
The Offies are primarily for full run shows – i.e. shows with a minimum of 10 performances.
There are a wide range of Offies awards categories, covering performance, music, direction, design, technical and the overall production – CLICK HERE for a full list of categories.
There are separate categories for plays and musicals and there are several other Offie award categories where the show may have a shorter run:
- IDEA – for Immersive, Devised, Experiential or Atypical performances (formerly the TBC Award)
- Performance Piece – where the story is from the life of the lead performer – often a solo show
- YPT – for shows aimed at young people (there are 3 categories here: for ages 0-7 / 8+ / 13+)
TO SUBMIT YOUR SHOW
Simply send an invitation to your press performance or opening night to the Offies Administrator (email@example.com), along with a press release about the show. There is no application form and no fee.
This email / press release should include details of the venue, the production company (if different), the date & time of the press night, and the start and end dates of the show’s run. If you wish to be considered for the IDEA / Performance Piece / Opera / YPT categories, please state this in your email (and if it is for a YPT show, please indicate the relevant target age range: 0-7 / 8+ / 13+).
Invitations can be sent by the theatre venue, the production company or a publicity agency working on their behalf.
Invitations should be sent at least three weeks in advance of the press performance (or opening night) to ensure that the show can be included in the schedule of shows to be seen by members of the Offies assessment team.
Once notified of a show, the Administrator will arrange for two Assessors to see the show. Theatres will be expected to offer a complementary ticket to the two assessors. Each assessor will collect their ticket from the theatre box office prior to the performance, together with a programme (or information sheet) giving details of the creative team.
Please note that the arrangements may be slightly different for the IDEA / Performance Piece / Opera / YPT categories – most of these have a separate Offies co-ordinator.
In exceptional circumstances, one or even both assessors may not be able to attend on Press Night – in such cases, the Offies will make every effort to ensure that shows are seen promptly – but cannot guarantee that this will happen.
If the Assessors consider that any aspect of the production is worthy of a nomination, the contact who sent the Press Night invitation will be notified as soon as practicable, and the nomination(s) tweeted and added to this website. Official Offies badges will also be sent for marketing and promotional purposes. At this time, an image for each nomination should be sent to the Offies Administrator, which will be included in the database entry on this website.
If there are nominations, the Offies will need to send members of its judging panel (referred to as Super-Assessors). There are two Super-Assessors for each category. Theatres will be expected to offer complementary tickets and creatives’ details to each Super-assessor. Normally the Super-assessors will make contact directly to arrange tickets but in cases where there are four or more nominations, the Offies will attempt to co-ordinate requests and to limit the number of complementary tickets that are requested.
It is important to the judging process that Super-Assessors for a particular category should see the shows nominated in that category so that they can be consistently judged – if the Super Assessors do not have this opportunity, this could impair the chances of the nominations being shortlisted.
Super-Assessors or members of the critics’ panel may occasionally add further nominations if they feel these are merited, and these will also be the subject of a tweet, and added to the Offies webpage.
ASSESSING AN EXTENDED OR RE-PRESENTED SHOW
There are specific guidelines regarding the possible re-assessment of a show that has recently been assessed but which is being re-presented with some changes to cast members or other personnel – these guidelines can be found by clicking HERE.
FINALISTS AND WINNERS
Judging of the nominations made over a calendar year is carried out at meetings in early January of the following year, where the finalists and winners are decided.
For the Offies awards for full run shows (and including Performance Piece), there is a meeting of the Full Run Awards Judging Panel, consisting of the Super-Assessor team, plus members of the panel of professional critics who support the Offies.
For the Offies awards for IDEA / Opera / YPT, each co-ordinator will meet with their assessor teams.
There will usually be three or four finalists in each category, and finalists will be announced as soon as possible after these January meetings.
The winners in each category will be announced at the annual Offies Awards ceremony, which is normally held in February/March.
The decisions of the judging team are final.
The Offies does everything in its power to ensure that the assessing and judging of shows is carried out fairly and impartially. The Assessors are all enthusiastic volunteers who give their time for free, and pay their own travel costs. Entrants for the Offies are asked to respect the confidentially of the process, and not to seek to influence the process in any way. Any correspondence should be sent to the Offies Administrator only.
THE OFFIES COMMENDATION AWARDS
The Offies also offers a number of Offies Commendation awards that may be relevant if your show is less than 10 performances or if your show is online. These are listed below (click on the name of the award for more information):
- The OffComm which is an Offies Commendation for shows with short runs of no more than 2 weeks, and usually at least 4 performances (this has been reduced to 3 performances during Covid-19 lockdown)
- The OffFest which is an Offies Commendation for short run shows presented during a festival (e.g. Camden Festival)
- The OnComm award which is an Offies Commendation for online shows
News & information on OffWestEnd theatres and their productions can be found at www.offwestend.com