The Montreal English Theatre Awards, or METAs, are a set of peer-juried awards that have been established to:
- Recognize and celebrate the artistic work that is outstanding in Montreal English Theatre,
- Promote professional and emerging English theatre artists and companies in Montreal, and heighten their visibility on a provincial and national and international level,
- Encourage and facilitate a level of critical discourse about theatre in Montreal, both among artists and with the larger community
The METAs are supported by the Quebec Drama Federation, a non-profit incorporated entity mandated to provide support and resources to the English Language Theatre Community of Quebec.
A word from the METAs Founding Chair
Just like the Greek prefix meta meaning “beyond,” the METAs were designed to highlight theatrical work that is outstanding, that exceeds the everyday and inspires all of us to keep striving for excellence. This is something that many in this theatre community have been yearning for, for a number of years. Defining what is Outstanding is, of course, not simple, nor is it always universal. But just because it isn’t easy doesn’t mean it isn’t important.
The Montreal English Theatre Awards are peer-juried awards, meaning that the work is being evaluated not by critics nor the general public, but by theatre practitioners – by our peers. The Merriam-Webster definition of peer is someone who is “of equal standing with another.” Each year, the METAs Committee chooses a Jury of theatre practitioners from various disciplines, and at various stages in their careers. Each one of them brings a particular kind of theatrical experience to the jury, and therefore brings a particularly important viewpoint to the jury’s discussions. Collectively, the jury represents a wide range of knowledge and experience that allows for a particular kind of insight into the work that is being examined.
Interestingly, the verb peer is defined as: “to look narrowly or curiously; especially : to look searchingly at something difficult to discern.” This definition is my personal favourite, because it alludes to the very real challenge that faces each jury member – to look searchingly at something difficult to discern. Deciding which performance or design is the most outstanding amongst what is hopefully a long list of outstanding work is not easy, but it I believe that it is this very act of looking searchingly, of trying to discern, that will keep us growing as a theatre community – both inside and outside the jury room.
I’m honoured to be working on this project with so many wonderful and committed theatre people, and look forward to the METAs continuing to grow and deepen as an important part of the Montreal English Theatre community.