Monday, 4 January 2010

Introduction to Adjudicating

Theatre Ontario is proposing to hold an "Introduction To Adjudicating" course for people interested in learning to become adjudicators.  It would be held in conjunction with the 2010 Festival in London.

Here's the proposal:
Dates: May 19-23, 2010 (5 days)

Time: Morning and Afternoon Training Sessions, Evening Attend Plays
Facilitator: To be announced

Application: Applicants would be required to submit a CV and rationale for wanting to take this course, and possibly references.

Participants: At least 5 or 6 would be needed to stimulate discussion. Maximum 12? Varied backgrounds welcome (Community, Educational, Professional). Course should appeal to non-adjudicators who are interested in the process, but also appeal to active adjudicators seeking stimulus.

Outcomes: Students receive a certificate of completion signed by the course facilitator. They may wish to reference this on their CV. Participation in the training week however, does not mean that Theatre Ontario endorses the participant’s qualifications as an Adjudicator. Application to the Theatre Ontario Talent Bank is a separate procedure.

Background: Theatre Ontario ran Training Courses for emerging/potential Adjudicators in the 1980’s as one of the Summer Courses. In addition to general information and overview, participants were able to see 4 or 5 plays as part of the course, and discuss adjudication issues for each play. A mock Awards Ceremony took place on the final day.

Future: This could become an annual event at the Theatre Ontario Festival. A new facilitator each year would mean students could take the course more than once. Practicing adjudicators may wish to take the course as a form of in-service training or to keep active if they have not recently adjudicated. An Adjudicators Symposium could be incorporated at some future date. The 2011 Festival, which will be held closer to Toronto, may appeal to candidates who may be able to stay with someone in the area. Also, The Curtain Club may be able to provide us with a location for the course activities at a cheaper rate than a hotel.

Suggested Schedule:
Wednesday – Introduction, General Principals, View Play # 1
Thursday – Principals of Public Adjudication, Discuss Play #1, View Play #2
Friday – Principals of Private/Detailed Adjudication, Discuss Play #2, View Play #3
Saturday – Principals of Written Adjudication, Discuss Play #3, View Play #4
Sunday – Mock Awards, Compare Results, Optional Attendance at Festival Brunch
Other Possibilities – Meet with Festival Adjudicators (Sears & Switzer), if they agree, to discuss their comments and decisions.

Copies of 4 plays for each student (advance reading required)
Tickets to see 4 plays for each student (Awards Brunch optional)
Facilitator’s fee (should not be higher than Festival Adjudicator’s fee).
Facilitator’s expenses (travel, accommodation, per diem, etc.)
Cost of Meeting Room (not part of festival events).

Ground Rules:
Students may stay for Public Adjudication, but may not attend detailed adjudication the next day.
Students do not engage Festival Adjudicator or participants in discussion about their plays.
Students do not reveal the results of their mock Awards Ceremony.
Course discussions are private.
No appearance of competition with festival adjudicators.

If you are interested in attending, please contact Dennis Johnson, Community Theatre Coordinator, at or 416.408.4556 x.13.


  1. Although I feel this is a GREAT idea for a course, I am a bit concerned that all the participant would receive upon completion is a "certificate". As you will probably find out from people, the cost of this course has the potential to be quite high if the participant level is not there. Is there not anyway that Theatre Ontario could guarentee some kind of trial adjudication for the participant that completes this course? In order to make this a more valuable expieriance as an opportunity to help the student find work and give them a chance to be entered in Theatre Ontario's Talent bank. I have always been fascinated with the adjudication process and would be very interested in this course but to spend a week away from my wife and five children and to cover that kind of expense, I personally would like to have more then a certificate upon completion. Thank-you and keep up the great work at Theatre Ontario. Harry Lavigne

  2. This is an excellent idea. It would be important to emphasize "style", making sure the candidates understand that there's a specific set of criteria that must be met - but that they should be free to investigate their own personal methodology in delivering the adjudication. The most important thing being establishing a rapport with the company. There is no "one way" to deliver an adjudication.

    Mark Schoenberg

  3. Michael Hennessy7 January 2010 at 10:36

    I have often wondered why, in recent years, an adjudicators course was not part of Theatre Ontario's Summer courses. It would be nice to think that amongst the countless people involved in Theatre throughout the Province there lurks 5- 10 potential "new" adjudicators. Most groups today are experiencing a shortage of Directors and this I suspect will undoubtedly result in a scarcity of adjudicators down the road. I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Lavigne's comments. Should the "Introduction to Adjudication" course become a reality (which I hope it will) please, please think a little bigger as to what participants might receive upon completion of the the course. Perhaps an in depth qualifying tutorial for membership in the Theatre Ontario talent bank.
    Michael Hennessy

  4. Thanks for these thoughtful comments. We have discussed the idea of a "Trial Adjudication" and the response has been very positive. Our plan now is that after the course is over, Theatre Ontario would arrange an adjudication for "graduates" who want to do it, at a community theatre relatively close to them, and invite organizers of festivals (WODL, ACT-CO, EODL, QUONTA, SEARS) to observe. The next step would be an application to the Talent Bank if the "graduate" wants to do so. We're becoming very excited about the possibility of this course. Plans are shaping up quickly and will be announced by early February. I'm putting together a mailing list of interested people. Let me know if you want periodic updates...

  5. Some of you have been asking if we have any more information about the Adjudicator’s course in May so hopefully this memo will satisfy for a while…


    There will be two phases to this program…
    (1) The course being offered during Theatre Ontario Festival 2010 in London May 19-23, 2010
    (2) An optional Trial Adjudication which Theatre Ontario will organize for persons who complete the course and who want to gain experience and/or be seen by organizers of drama festivals. This Trial Adjudication will be useful in accumulating references for an application to the Theatre Ontario Talent Bank if you so desire.

    We are pleased to announce that the training course will be led by RON CAMERON-LEWIS. Ron is the “Dean” of Ontario Adjudicators, having been in the field for almost 40 years. He has extensive experience adjudicating both here and in the USA. You can read his bio at – click on “Training” then on “Talent Bank”.

    The cost of registering for the 5-day course (and follow-up Trial Adjudication) will be $450 plus tax. This will include all 4 theatre tickets, tuition, daily sessions with Ron at the hotel, and lots of practice. The meeting room at the hotel will be available all day for students to meet and/or practice. Meals and accommodation are not included in the fee. Theatre Ontario will facilitate finding copies of the 4 scripts for you to read before you arrive in London, but you are not required to buy the scripts from us. Attached to this document is a partial list of plays being entered in the various regional festivals so you get an idea of the sort of plays you may be asked to evaluate.

    An effort is being made to keep this training course separate from the formal Festival Adjudication. Students in the course are encouraged not to stay at the Delta Armouries Hotel where the Festival is located. Our classes will be held at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel in Downtown London, about a block away from the Delta. Course participants can register at this hotel for $109 plus tax which includes parking and a hot breakfast. The hotel is reserving some rooms with two queen beds so that people can share a room if they want. You may find your own accommodation if you like.

    Wednesday through Saturday daily sessions from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm (at the latest)
    Wednesday through Saturday plays start at 8:00 pm at the Palace Theatre (London Community Players)
    Wednesday through Saturday participants will return to the Holiday Inn for practice sessions in Public Adjudication lasting very late. Be prepared for “Adjudicators Hours” – late nights and late mornings.
    Sunday hours to be announced. Time will be available for participants to attend the Awards Brunch where the Festival Adjudicators will reveal their decisions.

    Some people have asked why the course does not include time to observe the Festival Adjudicators – the Public and Detailed Private Adjudications. The reason is that there is not enough time. Also, this is not a do-it-this-way training course in which you observe and imitate. The idea is for you to develop your own voice via practice and feedback. If you are more interested in observing excellent adjudicators at work, then you can easily plan to attend the festival week in London and its fringe events. Go to and click on “Visit the official website” for more information on Festival 2010. You may also be interested in attending one of the regional festivals in March – EODL, QUONTA, WODL. Visit their websites for more information.

    Application Procedure. Do not send resumes yet.
    Contact information for Holiday Inn Express.
    Exact Schedule and topics to be covered.
    Preparation and equipment needed.