The METAs Jury is selected by the METAs Committee (METAC) and is comprised of 25 Montreal-based, professional theatre artists from varied disciplines. All jurors must sign a confidentiality agreement, as well as the METAs Conflict of Interest Policy. The producing companies provide a complimentary ticket for each juror, which are booked through the company’s box office, subject to availability.
The METAs are one of the few regional theatre awards where the Jury is convened to deliberate and discuss each registered production before casting their votes. Here is an overview of the process.
After attending a registered production, jurors submit an online evaluation to assess the quality of each design, performance and production element of the show. The average scores will only be used by the Jury Moderator, to steer and fuel conversations during the Jury’s Quarterly Meetings.
The Jury is convened quarterly during the season to discuss the merits of the productions they have seen. These meetings are facilitated by an impartial moderator, and jurors with a conflict of interest leave the room while the Jury deliberates the production they were involved in. After each discussion, jurors are asked to secretly “flag” the elements they might want to reconsider later as “outstanding”. At the end of the season, the Jury is presented with the complete list of their “flags”, in order of “flagging percentage”. The Jury then discusses the optics of each category, and may add any missing flags to these lists.
Only jurors who have seen 2/3rds (66%) of all registered productions may participate in Nominee selection, by secretly voting for their top three (3) flags in each category. Points are allocated hierarchically, and the METAC tabulates the scores to form a long list of nominees. The METAC convenes an Executive Jury by selecting five (5) members of the Jury from varied backgrounds, and who have a good attendance record. This Executive Jury is presented with the tabulated scores, and then decides how many nominees to include in each category. The Executive Jury normally selects the top five (5) scores, but may decide to have only four (4) nominees, or to include a sixth (6th) nominee in any given category, if the scores show a clear delineation, or in the case of a tie in scores, for example.
The Jury is presented with the final list of Nominees, as determined by the Executive Jury, and asked to vote for one recipient per category, by secret ballot. Only jurors who have seen 2/3rds (66%) of all registered productions may participate in this Final Vote. Some ballot sheets are personalized to avoid conflicts of interests: if a juror is nominated, they cannot vote in that specific category. The ballot sheets are tabulated by an independent accounting firm, and any ties are immediately submitted to a tiebreaking vote. The accounting firm provides the METAC with a sealed envelope for each category, containing the name of the Recipient, to be opened during the Awards Ceremony.
Community Theatre Award
A separate Community Jury assesses registered community productions. Each Juror must sign a non-disclosure agreement, and votes by mail-in ballot at the end of the season by choosing his or her top three (3) choices. Scores are tabulated by the METAC, and the recipient of the Outstanding Community Production Award is unveiled during the Awards Ceremony.
The METAC forms independent ad hoc committees for each honorary award. These committees study all submitted materials for each nominated individual or company, and choose a recipient by deliberating and then voting secretly. The METAC may choose to inform the honourees before the ceremony to ensure they will be present and to allow them to prepare an acceptance speech. The METAs currently have two (2) honorary awards: