As we continue to evolve the Barrymore Awards with our values of accessibility and inclusion, we are excited to announce initial changes for our adjudicators to begin in the 2019-20 season.
Currently, a single group of 12 judges attend all Barrymore-recommended productions to select our final nominees and recipients. For 2019-20, we will separate our judges into four distinct panels focused on Plays, Musicals, Design, and New Work.
Our impetus for this change came from the need to reduce the burden of time and travel on the judges, who are currently assigned upwards of 80 productions each year. We expect the total number of Barrymore-recommended productions to grow as our theatre community thrives and as we adjust eligibility requirements. Simply put, asking 12 working professionals to attend this many productions is no longer tenable.
Moving to judging panels will also increase the focus of our judges - allowing areas of specialization in the panels. Producers of recommended work will also be informed of which panels will attend, offering more transparency on why a production is recommended by our nominators.
On average, a judge will now attend 20 - 50 plays per season, depending on which panel they join. We are asking applicants in their applications to indicate their preference of what type of work they feel best fit to adjudicate, and ultimately the Barrymore Oversight Committee will assemble panels that reflect diverse backgrounds. We will select a total of 28 Judges and 75 - 90 Nominators for the upcoming season.
For the coming season, Theatre Philadelphia plans to offer two sets of stipends to adjudicators in recognition of their time and expertise offered to this program. These crucial roles have long been served by volunteers, and by offering monetary stipends in the coming year, we seek to acknowledge that work but reduce barriers to participation. Additionally, we consider this one of the many necessary steps to building an ever more inclusive and equitable program that supports artists of diverse backgrounds and celebrates their stories on stage.
Seeing productions, often traveling around the region, attending meetings and trainings, and self-education and conversation are all meaningful and necessary contributions to the long-standing Barrymore Awards program. As such, we wish to acknowledge this work with a monetary stipend. Thanks to an anonymous donor, we have a seed gift that will allow us to offer $200 per judge in the 2019-20 season. We are extremely grateful to all of our current and former judges and nominators!
We are a family-friendly organization recognizing that parent needs such as childcare can create access to fulfilling adjudication obligations. To that end, we are actively partnering with Parent Artist Advocacy League for the Performing Arts (PAAL) to pursue resources for providing supportive measures to our adjudicators in the coming season. Our aim is to build a pool of funds dedicated to childcare that can be shared by nominators and judges. Exact amount of support and process for receiving such funds will be announced later this spring.
Thank you to our staff, Board, Barrymore Oversight Committee, and the many volunteers who have offered their time and insights at forums, through surveys, and at many meetings to help inform these next steps. We look forward to sharing further updates throughout the spring as we gear up for our 25th Season of the Barrymore Awards!