Frequently Asked Questions


When is the TBA Awards season?

Each season of the TBA Awards runs from September 1 through August 31 and is named for the years it straddles. For example, the 2016/2017 TBA Awards season will run from September 1, 2016 through August 31, 2017; the ceremony will be held in November/December 2017.

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Who can participate in the TBA Awards?

Any current Theatre Bay Area member company in the counties served by the TBA Awards program may apply to participate. Currently, the program serves the following counties: San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Marin, Napa, Sonoma and Solano. See "What are considered eligible productions?" below for more specifics on the types of productions that are eligible.

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What is the application process?

In order for a company to be considered for participation, a company representative will need to fill out and submit a complete TBA Awards Producer application no later than 30 days before the first production to be adjudicated.

There are three parts to the TBA Awards Producer application

  •  1. The Company Registration form
  •  2. Adjudicator Data Sheet and Conduct Agreement (pages 2 & 3 of the Company Registration form) for each of up to 3 Company Adjudicators
  •  3. A non-refundable participation fee per season (between $125 and $250, depending on company tier)

The application will ask for the following information:

  • Primary contact (who TBA should contact with any questions about your enrollment)
  • Annual budget
  • AEA contract type
  • Participation tier (see “What are the tiers?” section below)
  • Marketing/PR contact information (who TBA should contact to alert of any TBA Awards Recommendations or other awards results).
  • Ticketing/Box office information (who TBA should contact with any ticketing questions).
  • Box office response time (how long adjudicators should wait to hear the results of any ticket requests).
  • The names of the one to three people who will fill your company’s adjudicator seat(s), noting any changes in these names from last year (see details below).

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What if our company membership expires during the season?

A company participating in the TBA Awards must remain a member of Theatre Bay Area for the duration of the TBA Awards season. Productions running during a lapse in company membership will not be eligible for adjudication. If a participating company allows its membership to expire, and does not renew by the end of the season, then the productions submitted by that company are no longer eligible for the TBA Awards.

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Why (and how) do companies provide adjudicators?

Because the TBA Awards are peer based, and because the program goal is to celebrate our community of artists, producers, creators and theatre lovers, all companies participating in the TBA Awards program commit to filling one seat in the adjudicator pool. The duties of this single seat can be shared between up to three individuals, who can be company employees, board members, company members, resident artists or volunteers. Each person must commit to help meet the adjudication requirements of that seat until the end of the season. If, for any reason, a person needs to give up adjudicator duties, a company representative needs to contact Theatre Bay Area right away.

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How many productions are our adjudicators required to see?

Your company adjudicators are collectively required to submit an aggregate average of three ballots every two months. Therefore, a full year’s participation would require a minimum of 18 ballots by August 31. If three representatives share the responsibility equally, then each person would be expected to attend a minimum of six performances and submit six ballots by August 31. Multiple adjudicators from the same company may attend and evaluate the same production.

There is no maximum to how many ballots may be submitted in a year, though an individual adjudicator will be limited to requesting reservations to 36 productions over the course of the year. After they reach this limit, they will still be able to self-activate and attend assigned productions. 

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What happens if the adjudicator seat doesn’t submit the required number of ballots?

If the company representatives fail to fulfill the duties and obligations of the company’s adjudicator seat, that company’s submitted productions will be eliminated from consideration for that season’s TBA Awards.

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What are the tiers?

The TBA Awards program has defined a set of three evaluation tiers in most award categories, in order to create an equitable system of evaluation for production aspects that can be influenced by levels of professional development and/or available resources.

Tier III: Productions in this tier have no Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) requirement and operate on an annual budget below $400K. Tier III productions must be seen by a minimum of (6) six adjudicators.

Tier II: Productions in this tier operate on some AEA contract and/or an annual budget of $400K or above. Companies operating under some AEA contract and an annual budget of below $400K may choose to participate in either Tier II or Tier III. Tier II productions must be seen by a minimum of (9) nine adjudicators.

Tier I: Productions in this tier operate under LORT or BAT contracts with AEA. Companies operating with LORT or BAT contracts with an annual budget in excess of $1M must participate in Tier I. Companies operating with LORT or BAT contracts with an annual budget below $1M may choose to participate in Tier I or Tier II. Tier I productions must be seen by a minimum of 12 adjudicators.

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What are considered eligible productions?

To be eligible for the TBA Awards, a production must be:

  • Professionally oriented
  • Scripted
  • Open to the public
  • Publicly presented with no fewer than six performances over two consecutive weeks

The following production types are not currently eligible at this time:

  • Staged or table readings; workshops; children’s, camp or youth theatre productions; student productions; corporate or industrial performances or recreational community theatre productions.
  • Standalone presentations such as concerts; benefits; dance; performance art events; and unscripted and/or non-repeatable performances.

Please note: productions that were adjudicated in one TBA Awards season (remounts/revivals) are eligible to be adjudicated only for “Overall Production” in the following season—and solely for the purposes of the TBA Awards Recommended productions feature of the program.

Exceptions to these guidelines are rarely made. If you believe your production is under exceptional circumstances, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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New Genres/Mediums for the 2017-18 Season

Beginning with the 2017-18 Awards season, the TBA Awards program will be open to Drag, Cabaret, Burlesque, Magic, Improv, Sketch, Storytelling/Lit, and Variety Show productions. The rules of eligibility for these productions are slightly different, as are the awards categories for which they are eligible.

The aforementioned genres, along with theatrical Anthology productions, will all be eligible for Overall Production awards in the “Special Performance” category. If a specific genre has enough entries in a given season, that genre will merit its own category (e.g. if there are enough Drag productions, there will be an Outstanding Drag Production category).

Many of the new performance genres are presented in a Showcase format. For the purposes of the TBA Awards, a Showcase is defined as a production that meets the following criteria:

  • Regularly occurring
  • Have a repeatable format
  • Run for at least six performances over six months
  • Open to the public

Individual Showcase performers, directors, and designers will not be eligible for individual TBA awards. Instead, the overall showcase will be eligible for an Outstanding Production award. Showcases are eligible for awards for an indefinite number of seasons (i.e. each season, they will be considered a new production).

Showcases will also be eligible for TBA Awards Recommended status. A TBA Awards Recommended Showcase will remain Recommended throughout the entirety of that awards season.

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What are the award categories?

A complete list of award categories can be found here.

Note: It is the company’s responsibility to properly assign such distinctions as to whether a role is “principal” (a.k.a. “leading”) or “featured” (a.k.a. “supporting”), based on the current list of award categories. 

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When and how does our company submit a production for consideration?

Productions must be submitted online to the TBA Awards website no less than one week prior to opening.

The company’s primary contact, marketing contact or other designated TBA Awards program liaison should log into the TBA Awards website and enter the production information under EVENT LISTINGS.

To do this, the company’s primary contact, marketing contact or other designated TBA Awards program liaison must:

  • List all performers and other creative staff who should be evaluated for TBA Award consideration. These should be the opening night credits. Before entering each name, all company representatives must make sure to use the dropdown menu function to look for names that are already in our system to avoid duplication and possible voting errors.
  • Enter all information accurately. Ballot information cannot be changed once the first performance has begun that has a confirmed adjudicator in attendance. Also, all TBA Awards data is pulled directly from the information submitted by the company representative, so accuracy is crucial.
  • Allocate the appropriate number of complimentary adjudicator tickets for your company’s tier. The maximum number of adjudicator tickets that can be allocated is twice the minimum per the appropriate tier. We encourage producers to offer companion tickets wherever possible.
  • List all performance dates, being sure to mark previews (not available to adjudicators) and "sold out" or “black-out” dates (performances that are unavailable to adjudicators because, for whatever reason, you do not wish adjudicators to attend).

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What if there are changes after we submit our production?

Companies should log in and update production dates immediately if a performance sells out, performances are canceled, or the show extends. Neglecting to update this information will result in adjudicators continuing to request tickets for performances that are not available. Other than production dates, the rest of the information becomes locked so that the listings editor and the awards manager can review the data; if problems arise, these staff members can unlock the submission on request. Ballot information cannot be changed after once the first performance has begun that has a confirmed adjudicator in attendance.   

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How does complimentary ticket allocation work?

Each company may offer no fewer adjudicator tickets than the minimum for that company’s tier, nor more than twice that number. For example, Tier I companies must offer at least 12 adjudicator tickets and no more than 24. Companies may (but are not required to) offer adjudicators companion tickets; if they decide to do so, they must offer an equal number of companion tickets and adjudicator tickets.

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How do adjudicators request their tickets?

Adjudicators request tickets through the TBA Awards website. Participating companies will receive an email from the TBA Awards system at the time of the request. Companies must respond to adjudicator ticket requests within two business days. If an adjudicator needs to cancel a ticket request, s/he can do so through the TBA Awards system. Adjudicators should only contact the participating company if they must cancel with less than 48 hours’ notice, or if they require ADA compliant seating.

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Can our company deny an adjudicator ticket request?

Yes. These are a few potential reasons for denying a ticket request:

  • The adjudicator requesting the ticket has a bias/conflict of interest with the production.
  • The performance in question will use an understudy, or will reflect some other significant change resulting in a performance substantially different than what is recurring/repeatable in other performances.
  • The performance is sold out or canceled.

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Can adjudicators see preview performances?

No. Preview performances are considered rehearsals and are not available for adjudication. When production information is submitted online, a company must indicate which performances are previews so that those performances will not be made available to adjudicators.

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What if a performance sells out?

Companies should log in and update production schedule immediately if a performance sells out, performances are canceled, or the show extends.

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What is a “TBA Awards Recommended” production?

In addition to annual recognition, the TBA Awards program provides a means for alerting the theatre community and the public to outstanding achievement while a production is still running by designating it a TBA Awards Recommended production.

At the start of each TBA Awards season, the program’s steering committee reviews and sets the adjudicator ranking threshold required for a production to be deemed a TBA Awards Recommended production.

Each Wednesday during the season, Theatre Bay Area publishes a notice naming all productions that have achieved or surpassed this threshold as a result of the prior week’s adjudicator activity, conferring upon them the designation of TBA Awards Recommended productions. Theatre Bay Area staff then notifies the producing companies of the TBA Awards Recommended productions and supplies a logo that may be used in marketing communication.

At least 50% of the minimum number of adjudicators required in each tier must have submitted evaluation ballots on the production in order for a production to be eligible for TBA Awards Recommended status.

TBA Awards Recommended status can be achieved at any point during a production’s run. Once conferred, TBA Awards Recommended status is not rescinded, even if overall scores drop.

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