Judging Criteria

The CONDAs (or The City of Newcastle Drama Awards) is the organisation behind Newcastle’s most prestigious theatre industry honor. The CONDAs encourage excellence and recognises special achievement and advances in the theatre industry.

For a production to be considered for nomination follow these simple steps:

1. Submit an online Eligibility Form and deposit $30 per production

2. Invite judging panel by offering complimentary tickets with good viewing

3. Provide the judges with a copy of the printed production program

4. Attend the Nominations Launch


Costume, Hair and Make-up 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 audiences appreciation of the performance

Set Design

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.


New Play

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.

Theatrical Event

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.


  • Enhances and supports the dramatic action and 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



Musical/Vocal Direction

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.

Online Awards 

The panel of judges will select winners based solely on the written submission. They will seek evidence of: 

  • Positive impact on the theatre community.
  • Opportunity for arts practitioners to demonstrate and develop their skills.
  • Engagement with and contribution to the wider theatre community, audiences and general community.
  • A high standard of knowledge, technique and/or innovation in the online environment
  • Overall production quality.

CONDA Online Awards Outline

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.

CONDA Outstanding Achievement Outline


In any given judging year, the listed categories are referred to according to the productions presented for potential nomination.

If the judges consider that there are no eligible individuals or productions presenting for a particular category in that judging year then that category will not be represented in the award ceremony.

Also, the judges may create new categories if there is a significant theatrical focus emerging that is worthy of recognition and award.