Why do we need English theatre awards in Montreal?
The METAs are a set of peer-juried awards established to recognize and celebrate the outstanding achievements of professional artists working in English Theatre in Montreal. The Montreal theatre community will benefit locally, nationally, and internationally from these awards. The METAs will generate media attention by announcing Nominees and Recipients in local and national media, and they will benefit artists and companies when they are applying for grants or festivals, both here and abroad. Most major cities across Canada have their own regional theatre awards, and Montreal should be no exception. As an English speaking minority evolving within a French speaking minority, our community needs the pride and recognition generated by the METAs.
Who runs the METAs (what is the METAC)?
The METAs are run by the METAs Committee (or METAC), a group of 10 volunteers who are professionals from the Montreal English theatre community. These administrators do not evaluate the registered productions or choose the METAs Nominees and Recipients (the METAs Jury does that), but they do select the Jury Members, produce the Annual METAs Ceremony, and ensure that the METAs successfully fulfill their mandate, as a project run by the community, for the community. METAC Members serve for a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 3 years.
How are the METAC Members selected?
When a METAC Member has finished their 3 year term, the METAC looks to fill that position by soliciting members of the community who have the skills they need. If you would like to volunteer to join the METAs Committee, please contact the METAC by clicking here.
How are the Jury members selected?
The METAs Jury is composed of 25 professional peers from all theatre disciplines in the Montreal English theatre community. Members of the METAs Jury can serve for no more than 2 consecutive years, and more than half of the Jury is renewed each year. Though anyone can apply to become a METAs Jury member, the METAs Committee must ensure that the Jury is a balanced representation of all theatre disciplines, and that it reflects the full diversity of our city (age, gender, ethnicity). A separate Community Jury assesses the “Outstanding Community Production” Award, and independent juries are assembled for each Honorary Award.
How can I become a METAs Jury member?
METAs Jurors are usually recruited in July to evaluate productions registered in the following season (September 1 to August 31). Each Jury member is allowed to book one complimentary ticket for each registered production. There are usually between 30 and 40 professional productions registered in a given season, and jurors must attend 2/3rds (or 66%) of all of them in order to participate in the selection of Nominees and Recipients. Please visit metas.ca/become-a-juror to find out how you can apply to be on the METAs Jury.
Why are there 25 people on the METAs Jury?
The Jury is composed of theatre practitioners from across all disciplines, so this number allows for a good variety of people. Having an average of 15 to 20 jurors see each registered production ensures balanced deliberations and enlightening debates. This also allows each show to get its fair share of attention and consideration.
How does the Jury select the Nominees and Recipients?
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. Please visit this page for an overview of the process.
How are the Recipients of the Honorary Awards chosen?
Anyone can nominate an individual or a company for one of the Honorary Awards bestowed by the METAs. The METAC assembles ad hoc committees to evaluate the submissions and select the Honorary Recipients of each Award. These committees are usually comprised of six to eight (6 to 8) community consultants: professional peers who have exhaustive knowledge of the disciplines and/or issues at stake. Previous Honourees may also be asked to join these committees.
How does the METAs deal with conflicts of interest?
As expected with peer-juried awards, some of the members of the METAC and the METAs Jury may be involved in a registered production, be nominated for, or even receive an award. The METAs takes conflicts of interest very seriously, and has adopted an official Conflict of Interest Policy to protect the integrity of the awards process and the Jury.
During Quarterly Meetings
Members of the Jury and the METAC must leave the room while the Jury discusses a show if a) it was produced by a company they work for, b) they were involved in the production, or c) they are the direct family member of someone who was.
For Final Vote
Jury members are not allowed to vote in a category where a) they are personally nominated, or b) the company for which they work for is nominated.
How were the categories of awards determined (Outstanding Lead Performance, Supporting Performance, Ensemble, Contribution to Theatre, etc.)?
The METAs Committee was inspired by other Canadian regional theatre awards, and these awards categories seemed to be the most obvious choices, but this will keep evolving over time. The METAs Jury can propose the addition of an award category if they feel there is another discipline that deserves recognition any given year.
Why are the performance awards divided by gender (Actor / Actress)?
While some awards organizations have boldly moved forward, eliminating gender split categories, the METAC fears that having gender neutral awards would disadvantage performers who identify as women, as there are fewer roles for women in the theatre. As we continue to search for a better way to celebrate artists who do not identify with the cis-gendered categories, the METAC has decided that nominated gender-fluid performers, as well as actors / actresses nominated for gender-fluid performances, may choose to be nominated in the category of their choice: alongside women, men, or in the gender neutral cross-disciplinary category Outstanding Contribution to Theatre.
What is the Outstanding Contribution to Theatre Award?
The Outstanding Contribution to Theatre Award was created to celebrate the rare theatre disciplines that do not have an award category of their own. Artists in this category could be nominated for:
– Live musical performance
– Movement coaching
– Fight choreography
– Make-up design
– Puppet design
– Properties design
– Dialect coaching
– Chorus work
– Special effects
– Graphic design (for an outstanding poster or program)
… or any other outstanding element for which a person has received a credit.
Why are there three Outstanding Production Awards (PACT, Independent, and Community)?
These categories were determined in order to reflect an understanding of the conditions under which different companies work, not the quality of the work they produce. They are defined as follows:
– A PACT Production is one that is produced by a company who is a member of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) or an equivalent Francophone association.
– An Independent Company is one that is not a member of PACT but is primarily comprised of theatre professionals, that pays its creative and production team (even if this payment takes the form of a profit-share or honorarium), so long as a minimum of 2/3rds (66%) of all company members (including production team) are paid professionals who intend to, or already make theatre their career.
– Community productions are those produced by community organizations who do not have the intention of becoming professional companies.
Why can’t a company register their production less than one month before the opening performance?
The 25 members of the METAs Jury attend over 30 productions throughout the season, sometimes seeing 2 or 3 shows per week, on top of their own professional work. Out of respect for these volunteers, the METAC agreed to notify them of each registered production 30 days before it opens. This also guarantees that all registered productions get the same attention and consideration from the METAs Jury. Companies can register online as early they want, even without all of their credits, and email the METAs Company Liaisons to update their registration at a later date.
Why do there have to be 9 performances over two weekends for a professional production to be eligible?
This number of performances was chosen to make sure that the professional companies considered for the METAs had the means to produce fully realized productions. Also, this guarantees that a significant number of jurors can evaluate the production, so that all companies registered for the METAs receive the same consideration.
What do the registration fees cover?
Registration fees go towards administration costs incurred by the Committee. This project (including the Annual Awards Ceremony that takes place in October) is a huge undertaking, and the registration fees only cover a small percentage.
What are the METAs main expenses / sources of income?
The METAC Members are volunteers, as are the members of the Jury, and so none of these professionals are paid for the time and efforts they invest in the METAs. There is no paid staff and no office space. The biggest expenses are:
– Production of the METAs Ceremony: venue, catering, and honoraria for creative talent (approx. 50% of all expenses)
– Trophy fabrication (20%)
– Graphic Design and printing of the Ceremony Programme (15%)
– Web, photography, video, and marketing (10%)
– Other administrative costs and supplies (5%)
– Sponsorships (approx. 40% of all revenue)
– Ticket sales for the Awards Ceremony (30%)
– Ad sales in the Ceremony Programme (15%)
– Donations (10%)
– Registration fees (5%)
Why are the METAs sponsored by the Caisse de la Culture?
The Caisse de la Culture is a financial cooperative administered by cultural representatives. It was established in 1994 to provide artists and cultural businesses with the means to fulfill their aspirations. All of its profits are redistributed within the artistic community. The Caisse is owned by its members, and the METAs are proud to be among them. If you are an artist looking for a financial institution offering personalized services tailored to your specific needs as a self-employed cultural worker, you should consider becoming a member as well.