There are three groups of Offies awards:
The first group is the FULL RUN awards for which a show needs a minimum of 9 performances over at least 3 weeks – CLICK HERE for a full list of these FULL RUN awards
The second group is for shows with SHORT RUNS – but there must be at least 4 performances over 4 days – at present this group includes the following sub-groups, and there is generally one award in each category:
- IDEA Award – for Immersive, Devised, Experiential or Atypical performances (formerly the TBC Award)
- Opera Award
- Performance Piece Award
- YPT Awards – for shows for young people’s theatre (there are 3 awards here, for ages 0-7, 8+, 13+)
Discussions are currently being held about possible expansion of these sub-groups from 2019/2020.
The third group are the PEOPLES AWARDS where the public can vote for their favourite theatre venue in a range of categories. Voting for the Peoples Awards usually opens in November.
The Offies awards are open to all independent, alternative and fringe theatres across London. It is up to the theatre and/or their visiting companies to decide whether or not to invite Offies assessors to their shows. There are around 100 venues eligible for the Offies – 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).
SUBMITTING A SHOW
Any eligible production can be entered for an Offies award by notifying the Offies Administrator (email@example.com) specifying the award group or sub-group (see above) for which the show would like to be considered, along with a press release about the show. This 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. Notifications can be made by the theatre venue, the production company or a publicity agency working on their behalf.
Notifications should be made 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.
The NOMINATING Process – FULL RUN awards
The process for SHORT RUN awards is detailed in the following section.
Once notified of a show, the Administrator will arrange for two Assessors to see the show on Press Night. 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.
In exceptional circumstances, one or 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 the Offies website. Official Offies badges will also be sent for marketing and promotional purposes. At this time, an image for each nomination must be sent to the Offies Administrator, which will also be added to the Offies website.
If there are nominations, the Offies will wish 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 (see below) 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.
The NOMINATING Process – SHORT RUN awards
Each sub-group of short awards has their own co-ordinator. Once notified of a show, the co-ordinator will arrange for one-two assessors to see the show. Theatres will be expected to offer a complementary ticket to any assessors, and for these to be put aside in the name of John Offie. 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.
If the Assessors consider that any aspect of the production is worthy of a nomination, the contact who sent the invitation will be notified as soon as practicable, and the nomination(s) tweeted and added to the Offies website. The official Offies badge will also be sent for marketing and promotional purposes. At this time, an image for each nomination must be sent, which will also be added to the Offies website.
THE JUDGING PROCESS
Judging of the nominations 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 FULL RUN awards, there is a meeting of the Core Awards Judging Panel meeting, consisting of the Super-Assessor team, plus members of the panel of professional critics who support the Offies.
For the SHORT RUN awards, each co-ordinator will meet with their assessor teams.
There will usually be three to four finalists in each category, and these will be announced as soon as possible after the 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.
News & information on OffWestEnd theatres and their productions can be found at www.offwestend.com