How are shows “viewed”?

We are often asked, how are shows “viewed”? Here’s a synopsis of what goes in to “viewing” a show for possible nomination for an award at the end of the season:

Viewing in the 2014/2015 season:

Persons desiring to become viewers submitted online applications in July 2014. Follow-up questions were asked by members of a board committee to any with red flags. Potential viewers were voted on by the board, designated member theatre representatives, and the current viewers at the time. A total of 20 different viewers were elected with 15 viewing musicals and 16 viewing plays.

Each viewer is encouraged to see all viewable shows in their category, however 75% is the baseline required amount. If a viewer cannot fulfill this, they are dropped from the list. New viewers were provided personal and group training by President Becky Jascoviak, Vice-President Larry Hinken, or Viewing Secretary Ken Mertens.

An online submission form was created for each type of show (play or musical). It is password protected at the NIETF website. Each viewer is to submit their form within 72 hours of seeing a production. On this form there is a scoring section for technical elements including overall show, direction, sets, lights, sound, and costumes for plays, additionally music and vocal direction as well as choreography are scored for musicals. Each element is scored from 1-5 with 5 being best. Each element score is averaged over the number of viewers and the top 5 end up on the final ballot at the end of the season.

A second section of the form allows viewers to submit acting nominations by listing the actor’s name and character name in one of five categories (principal male, principal female, supporting male, supporting female, cameo). Viewers determine for themselves which category an actor is submitted. Based on the number of viewers at the time, an actor’s name must show up a certain number of times to be listed on the preliminary ballot at the end of the season. For instance if there are 15 active viewers, an actor must be listed on 4 nomination forms in order to appear on the preliminary ballot.

A final section provides places for viewer’s choice nominations, additional nominations that don’t fit on the form, and comments for the director. These are shared anonymously by request only after the show has closed. Either the theatre or the director may request viewer comments.

At the end of the season (usually in early September), a preliminary ballot consisting of all the qualified nominations in each category is presented at a meeting of the viewers. At this meeting the viewers discuss final category placement for an actor. For instance, if 3 viewers nominated an actor in a role as a principal and 2 viewers placed the same actor/role in a supporting category, the viewers would discuss which category they will be placed in before voting. Then each viewer individually selects their top five in each category and submits them privately.

After the acting votes and technical scores are tabulated, a final list of nominees in each category is announced (usually around September 15). At this time, each viewer receives a mailed ballot personalized to them. If they did not see a production, it is not included on their final ballot. They rank each category nominees and send their ballots to an independent tabulator who compiles the votes and prepares the sealed envelopes for presentation the night of the gala. No one but the independent tabulator knows the winners until that night.


Have an idea on how to improve the process? Join us at one of the following discussions:
April 12, 5:30 pm – Viewers
April 12, 6:30 pm – Member Theatres
(Both of the above at Genesius Guild in Hammond)

April 19, 6:30 pm – Board
(Held at 4th Street Theater in Chesterton)

All meetings, while topic specific to the audience they are designed for, are open to the public and welcome for comment. Please join us and help us on our continuous improvement track!

Here is a link to our Viewing discussion document.

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