Revived Po‘okela Awards
have new rules

The Hawaii State Theatre Council is bringing back its popular but controversial Po'okela Awards for the 2005-2006 theater season, but with substantial changes in the way that honorees will be selected.

» Adjudicators will be volunteers from outside the theater community. The council will offer training in how to evaluate theatrical presentations, but the adjudicators will be allowed to define "excellence" as they see fit.

» Adjudicators will be allowed to skip 25 percent of the shows eligible for wards; the only requirement is that every show must be seen by at least two of them.

» Each adjudicator will be allowed to name as many honorees as desired in every category. Although there may be some overlapping in choices, the new system allows for the possibility of 20 or more honorees in every category.

» The Po'okelas will be returning to the neighbor islands. Separate groups of adjudicators will evaluate shows on their home islands.

Theatre council president Deena Dray admits that the changes won't please everyone.

"There were people who wanted to keep things as they were, and people who opposed having any awards at all, but when we commissioned a survey we found most respondents were in favor of keeping the awards, but wanted changes. This is what was agreed on by the board. In a year or two we'll see if we need to revisit (the process)."

The number of adjudicators has not been set, but the season on Oahu begins with the opening of The Actors Group production of "Boston Marriage" on Friday and continues through July.

Adjudicators receive free tickets to shows, but receive no other compensation. Anyone interested in being an adjudicator should call Dray at 733-0277, ext. 301, or Dwight Martin at 988-6131.

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