PerformInk is Chicago's entertainment industry trade publication.
Editors note: A previous version of this article erroneously noted that the committee is dropping a 3-year waiting period for eligibility. The eligibility requirements as listed remain. Companies who are not “recommended” in three years of productions no longer are required to go on a hiatus.
The Joseph Jefferson Awards have announced they will eliminate the hiatus rule for non-Equity theaters that do not receive a “recommended” designation for a production from the committee in three years. This new rule goes into effect on April 1st.
In a membership meeting held January 29th, the committee approved this and other new initiatives in response to the 2017 survey conducted by Taproot+, including making rotation available immediately for new members in hopes of attracting younger members by reducing the time commitment. According to the press release, this rotation will allow a member to focus on one of the two theatre wings — Equity and Non-Equity — in a season, rather than judge all Jeff-eligible productions. The Jeffs will also form a committee to examine voting procedures and the final ballot.
“This is a good start to addressing issues revealed in last year’s research project,” said David Liesse, Jeff Awards Chair. “Some initiatives will begin quickly while more complex issues will take longer as they are studied and feedback gathered on recommended solutions.”
The press release goes on to address the diversity and age issues that have plagued the Jeffs in recent years, “the Membership Committee is proactively recruiting younger and minority candidates to address the diversity issue. Five new members have recently been approved and are on a ‘waiting list’ for when openings on the 55 member roster occur.”