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Background
To give recognition to distinguished local theatre works and projects, facilitate exchange among theatre critics, as well as to give a more forward-looking definition of Hong Kong theatre, the International Association of Theatre Critics (Hong Kong) has presented the IATC(HK) Critics Awards (the Awards) since 2016. From 1 January to 31 December each year, all theatre works and projects showcased publicly in Hong Kong — including premieres and re-runs — will be included in the list of assessment for the Awards.

Adopting a broader definition of theatre works and projects, the Awards include various forms of theatre such as musicals, music theatre, multimedia theatre, interactive theatre and museum theatre etc., as well as all kinds of performance venues such as unofficial theatres, outdoor theatres and community performances etc. The Awards also recognise different scales of performance and audiences, including free admission shows, theatre projects and activities, and research projects. As long as the work or project contains a substantial element of theatre, it can be included for observation, discussion and assessment. The Awards also embrace different interpretations of theatre reruns which, in general, can be considered for assessment by the panel as long as they have not received the Awards before.

First and foremost, the Awards give recognition to local works and theatre practitioners. Therefore, all kinds of local productions or works staged locally, as well as locally-based theatre practitioners, are eligible for assessment. However, commissioned artists-in-residence or non-local productions are not eligible for the Awards. In addition, other than original works, adaptations or works with a considerable degree of innovation or creativity can be included. To ensure fairness, panel members who are part of the production team of the nominated work cannot take part in the nomination and assessment of that work.

Preliminary discussion is carried out mid-year by the panel, to assess works / projects showcased in the first half of the year. At the beginning of the following year, the panel carries out the second round of discussion to evaluate on all works / projects showcased in the year, and to vote for the finalists and the winners. Full record of the discussions are archived internally and excerpts of the record are then released publicly.

Guidelines
Objectives
  • The Awards are established to give recognition to distinguished local theatre works and projects, and to give a more forward-looking definition of Hong Kong theatre from the frank exchange of opinion among theatre critics and their vision.

The panel
  • The panel consists of no more than 15 theatre critics.

Awards
  • The Awards are based primarily on artistic merit. There are altogether five awards as follows
    1. Performance of the Year
    2. Script/Playwright of the Year
    3. Director of the Year
    4. Performer of the Year
    5. Scenography of the Year
  • Except three awardees are recommended for Performer of the Year, there will be one awardee each for the other awards. Nevertheless, the actual number of awards that year will be subject to the discussion of the panel and the voting result.
  • The awards for individuals is based on a single work by that individual.

Nomination criteria
  • "Work of the year" is defined by a premiere, a piece of work or a project taking place between 1 January to 31 December that year.
  • The performances of all the nominated works must be viewed by no less than 4 panel members. The IATC(HK) will obtain the performance video from the relevant parties for reference if needed.
  • All the local productions, works presented locally, or locally-based theatre practitioners (not necessarily Hong Kong permanent residents) can be nominated, but artists commissioned from overseas or works produced overseas are not included.
  • The Awards adopt a broader definition for theatre works or projects. Works of various forms, such as musical, music theatre, multimedia theatre, museum theatre, can be accepted. Also, all kinds of performance venues, such as unofficial theatres, outdoor theatres and community performances, are included. Different performance scales or targets, including free performances, theatre projects and activities, and research projects, can be considered. As long as the work contains a sufficient element of theatre, it can be considered for assessment.
  • The Awards embrace different interpretations of theatre reruns. In general, works that have not received any of the Awards before can be nominated. An individual can also be nominated for more than one award.
  • The assessment is not limited to original works. Adaptations or works with a considerable degree of innovation or creativity can be nominated.
  • Panel members who are part of the production team of the nominated work cannot take part in the nomination and assessment of that work.

Assessment process
  • Panel members will hold three rounds of discussion to assess the works of that year. In the first meeting, the panel will discuss the works and projects performed or held from January to June of that year, or the artists of that period, and then come up with a shortlist. In the second meeting, the works and projects performed or held from July to December of that year, as well as the artists of that period will be discussed and shortlisted. In the third meeting, the panel will summarise and discuss the preliminary shortlist, as well as to select the finalists and the winners in each category.
  • The nomination(s) of each category by each panel member cannot exceed the number of awardees available. In other words, there cannot be more than three nominations for Performer of the Year while there cannot be more than one nomination for the other categories (abstention is possible). The number of seconded nominations cannot exceed double of the number of nominations of the category. This means that there cannot be more than 6 seconded nominations for Performer of the Year. Each nomination must be supported by at least one panel member and seconded by another panel member.
  • Each panel member can cast one vote. If the panel member is part of the production team of the nominated work or project, he or she must declare his or her conflict of interest prior to the nomination and assessment of that work. For each category, the total number of votes obtained, after deducting that particular member's vote, will be the total number of valid votes.
  • Each finalist of the award needs to be supported by the valid votes of at least three or more of the panel members. In deciding on the shortlist, the panel members have at most five votes for each category (abstention is possible). Other than Performer of the Year - which does not have a maximum limit to the number of finalists - all the shortlists will be no more than five finalists. Therefore, those preliminarily shortlisted for the Performer of the Year who have three valid votes or more will be automatically included in the subsequent assessment. For the other awards, nominees with the highest number of votes in the preliminary round (at most five) will be included.
  • The recipient of each award must have obtained at least half or more than half of the valid votes from panel members. Panel members can choose to abstain from voting. If, in the final round of assessment, the one with the highest number of votes cannot obtain half of the total number of valid votes, the panel may decide whether it is appropriate to not give any award in that category. If, however, it is decided that the award will be given, then another round of voting will be conducted to finalise the results.

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