Awards in a total of 22 categories
Criteria & Categories
- Outstanding Achievement & Contribution to Theatre
- Best Dramatic or Comedic Production
- Best Musical Production
- Best New Play or Musical Written for a Newcastle Company
- Best Special Theatrical Event
- Excellence by a Director (Drama or Comedy)
- Excellence by a Director (Musical)
- Excellence by a Choreographer
- Excellence by a Musical Director or Vocal Director
- Excellence in Costume Design
- Excellence in Hair, Makeup and Wigs
- Excellence in Set and Props Design
- Excellence in Lighting and Audio Visual Design
- Excellence in Sound Design
- Excellence by a Performer in a Leading Role in a Musical - Drama
- Excellence by a Performer in a Leading Role in a Musical - Comedy
- Excellence by a Performer in a Leading Role in a Play - Drama
- Excellence by a Performer in a Leading Role in a Play - Comedy
- Excellence by a Performer 18 & Under in a Musical
- Excellence by a Performer 18 & Under in a Play
- Best Ensemble Acting
- Best 18 & Under Ensemble
a) In any given judging year, the listed categories are referred to according to the productions presented for potential nomination.
b) If the judges consider there are no eligible individuals or productions presenting for a particular category in that judging year, that category will not be represented in the award ceremony.
c) The judges may also create new categories if there is a significant theatrical focus emerging which is worthy of recognition and award.
Terms for Production Submission
Eligibility for Nomination
(a) For the CONDA judges to determine a production is eligible for nomination for a CONDA Award, all of the following requirements must be satisfied:
i. The production must, in the judgement of the CONDA judges, be a legitimate theatrical production, which officially opens after the final eligibility date for the prior season and on or before the final eligibility date for the current season. The CONDA season generally opens on 1 November each year and runs through to 31 October the following year.
ii. The producer of the production must, in a timely manner and free-of-charge, invite each of the eligible CONDA judges, providing up to two tickets per judge, to attend one of the performances. The producer must do this by filling in an online Eligibility Form (located on the CONDA website: conda.com.au). The producer should provide the judges with three (3) weeks’ notice in advance of the production's opening. Giving less than 3 weeks’ notice means the production may not be seen by the minimum required number of judges, which may limit opportunity for CONDA consideration.
iii. Any show which does not submit their production prior to opening night will not be eligible for nomination.
iv. The producer must accept the authority of the judges to make all decisions or determinations concerning nominations for the awards, with the effect of any such decision or determination being final, binding and conclusive for all purposes.
v. The producer must provide each of the judges with a copy of the printed production program.
vi. The producer must provide the judges (and their accomplices, where applicable), with good seats – no restricted viewing.
vii. A production requires the attendance of at least three CONDA judges to be considered eligible for nomination. If fewer than three judges attend, the production will be deemed ineligible.
viii. The producer must email production images to email@example.com within 14 days of the final performance. These images may be used on the CONDA website as well as in the awards ceremony program and/or visual presentations.
ix. The producer, or their representative, must attend the Nominations Launch (generally held mid-to-late November) and encourage cast and crew to also attend.
(b) For a production to be eligible in the category of Best New Play or Musical Written for a Newcastle Company, the production may contain elements which substantially duplicate elements of productions previously presented in an eligible production only if the duplicated and the original elements, in their totality, create a new play or musical. This decision is to be made at the discretion of the judges.
(c) Return seasons: productions which have previously been considered and may have received CONDA Awards are still to be considered, however, return seasons cannot be judged in the same context as their initial run. They generally need to show a substantive change or adjustment in impression which recontextualises or expands upon the original season.
(d) If a CONDA judge has an interest of any nature in a particular production, the judge shall disclose such interest as early as possible. The production is still to be considered for nomination. However, precautions are to be taken in each round of discussion to eliminate the opportunity of bias on the part of an ‘involved’ judge. In the Nomination Discussion Round, any ‘involved’ judges cannot be present when the production in question is being discussed. In the Finalising Nominations Round, any ‘involved’ judges cannot discuss or advocate for the nomination of the show in question – the inclusion of said show is left to the remaining judges. In the Finalising Winners Round, ‘involved’ judges give their votes first, to minimise the possibility of strategic voting. Additionally, ‘involved’ judges cannot advocate or vote for their own production, reducing that production’s likelihood of winning. This reduction in likelihood proportionally scales with the number of judges involved. In turn, the area the CONDA judge is involved in must not be considered. For example, if the judge performed in the show, they cannot be considered in the performer category. If the judge is the director, the show cannot be considered in the Best Play or Best Musical categories.
(e) To be considered for an award in the relevant category, production elements such as set, technical and costumes must be purpose built for the production. Elements which are hired from another company and are not significantly altered, will not be considered. This information must be disclosed to the judges when submitting the Nomination Form.
(f) Determination of Eligible Candidates for Nomination:
i. There shall be no more than eight nominees in each category.
ii. Where there are two or fewer eligible nominees, it is up to the discretion of the judges whether the category runs.
iii. In determining in which award category any eligible candidate (person or production) shall be placed, the judges shall use the form submitted by the company and the opening night program as its guide.
(g) If the producer of a production wishes to propose a nominee be placed in a category other than the one most likely to be chosen by the judges, the producer must send a written request to CONDA via the CONDA Secretary: firstname.lastname@example.org. The email must set forth their reasons for asking the judging panel to consider such a change. The CONDA judges will consider and vote on the requested change. The outcome will be advised in writing to the producer.
(h) Only productions produced by a theatre company local to the Newcastle NSW Region, within a 50km radius of the Newcastle CBD, are eligible for the CONDA Awards.
All producers, cast and crew should:
- Acknowledge that CONDA judges are volunteers who give their time freely and receive no remuneration for their services.
- Understand the judging panel is independent of the CONDA committee.
- Be encouraging of the judging process and supportive of the judging decisions.
- Acknowledge that for each individual category, there is a criteria judges must adhere to, in order to remove subjectivity from their assessments.
- Understand that, even if a production is eligible, it does not guarantee nominations.
- Accept the CONDA philosophy of being encouraging and supportive of all local theatre.
Category requirements for nomination
Costume Hair & Makeup Design
An original, imaginative and unified design that reveals a strong and original concept /vision that enhances and supports the characters and the themes from the play as evident from the directorial vision.
- Detail and finish in construction and use of materials, colour, line, texture and shape.
- Clear understanding of the characters/roles in terms of social standing, period and place
- Suitability to the dramatic and technical needs of the characters/roles.
- Realisation of and unity with the overall design concept for the show.
Lighting and Sound Design
Effective and creative lighting or sound that contributes to and enhances the dramatic impact of the production in terms of style, mood, atmosphere, place, focus and meaning.
- Lighting/sound that works effectively with the set elements to support and clarify the use of the space and the symbolism inherent in the text.
- Lighting supports and enhances the colour, texture and shape and meaning of the costumes and other production elements such as projections and use of props.
- Sound promotes emotional engagement and enhances the themes/historical context/significant moments of the production in a manner that significantly improves the audience’s appreciation of the performance.
Demonstrates a sophisticated interpretation of the dramatic practicalities and themes of the play in terms of space and meaning.
- Creates a sense of stage space and atmosphere with effective use of colour, shape, texture and composition.
- Provides a multifunctional platform for the dramatic themes of the play in a way that is subtle and efficient for all the practical demands of the text without being dominant, intrusive or requiring elaborate changes.
- Provides a practical realisation of the scenic requirements of the play for both performers and audience in terms of sightlines, entrances and levels.
Communicates a sophisticated and effective directorial concept/vision demonstrating originality, integrity and practicality.
- Integrates key dramatic and theatrical elements to create clear theatrical meaning for the audience.
- Demonstrates application of insightful research and analysis to the creative ideas of the production.
- Presents an integrated design appropriate to the vision and intended audience experience.
- Evidence of highly effective rehearsal techniques.
Demonstrates excellent performance skills appropriate to the style or dramatic form.
- Vocals – pace, pitch, projection, emphasis, clarity,
- Movement – control, energy, spatial awareness.
- Timing- response to cues, awareness of rhythms.
Develops and sustains role and character demonstrating:
- Belief, conviction and energy.
- Complexity and dimension.
- Clarity and focus.
- Interaction with other roles and characters.
Excellent manipulation of performance elements to create a coherent theatrical performance that evokes a strong audience response by:
- Establishing and maintaining a clear intention and appropriate relationship with the audience in the context of the performance space and theatrical form.
- Showing integrity, originality and clarity in analysis, interpretation and presentation of the role/character.
Presents an original and innovative script that demonstrates flair, a sustained theatrical vision and clarity of purpose with strong stylistic, structural and thematic elements that effectively engages the target audience.
- Effectively incorporates subtextual , symbolic and thematic meaning.
- Creates clearly defined and convincing characters and relationships.
- Has appropriate and effective visual and/or aural imagery.
Creates an engaging and innovative environmental or community theatrical event that may be site-specific. The performance/s may be linked thematically and/or stylistically.
- There is a clear and interesting through-line of action and/or narrative.
- Utilises and showcases the performers’ particular skills, talents and expertise in a way that may be unique, unusual and sophisticated.
- Shows strong artistic integrity and flair in the chosen genre.
Demonstrates a skilled, personalised manipulation of the elements of dance that clearly supports the concept/intent/style of the production.
- Uses the performance space in an original and innovative manner.
- Creates an energy and dynamic that is appropriate to the style of the production.
- Demonstrates evidence of technique, rigour and effort in rehearsal and performance.
There will be a demonstration of technical skill in the stylistic repertoire with a sense of musical expression and presentation of the chosen repertoire. The musical/vocal director works in harmony with the production to enhance, support and further the atmosphere and dramatic action in a manner that is skilled and balanced. There should also be:
- Sophisticated management of the music/vocalists, demonstrating technical skill and rigorous practice.
- Awareness of sound levels and nuances of ambience and emotion.
- Creation of an evocative and emotional atmosphere that creates an engagement for the audience that is appropriate to the style/genre of the production.
There will be demonstrated a consistently high standard of purpose, commitment and performance from all members of the cast according to the style/genre of the production. All members of the cast, from 4 onwards will demonstrate;
- A high level of performance energy and focus.
- A clear and demonstrated understanding of the intentions and purposes of the production.
- Complexity, belief and conviction.
- Appropriate relationship with the audience in the context of the production and the performance space.
- Precise, coordinated and effective physical dynamics/choreography and use of the space.
CONDA Inc. Award
This award is chosen by the panel of judges at the end of the judging process. The recipients demonstrate the following:
- A consistently strong contribution to the theatrical community of Newcastle in one or more of the above criterion for a number of years.
- In the judging year they have made significant contribution to the theatrical community of Newcastle in terms of their body of work.