TTAO Winter Newsletter – Feb 2021

To view the newsletter in its original form use this link: https://www.smore.com/a0f1q

TTAO Sends Support as Our Members Recover from the Winter Storm

Please know that TTAO is sending you all care and positive energies as you are coming out of dealing with the storm. It’s been so hard for so many, and we hope that this newsletter communication finds you safe, warm, and being able to start turning the corner on all of this in your neck of the woods. We know many of you are recovering from damage to your homes and we send our very best to you and yours.

Congratulations to Our TTAO Legacy and Service Award Winners

About the awards:

The TTAO Service Award shall be bestowed on a member or members in recognition for outstanding service to the organization beyond the duties of a particular office, role or assignment. The TTAO Service Award will honor a member of TTAO or continuous and significant service to the TTAO organization.

The TTAO Legacy Award shall be bestowed upon a member or members in recognition for substantial history of contributions and advocacy for educational theatre in Texas and particular support and development of the UIL One-Act Play competition. Recipients may not be current Board or Standard & Practices Committee members. Recipients should be retired Adjudicators and Contest Managers.

Special Recognitions may be recommended by the Board or Standards and Practice members for individuals completing terms in office, donation of time or services to TTAO, completion of specific tasks or other achievements. Recipients may be current Board or Standards & Practice Committee members.

2021 C. Lee Turner Real Change Award

TTAO is humbly honored to share that we are naming our 2021 Real Change Award the “2021 C. Lee Turner Real Change Award” in loving memory of such an influential theatre artist and teacher who truly embodied *real change*. As a member of TTAO, if you have not already done so, you may donate to this award by going to https://www.ttao.org/real-change/ 

What is the Real Change Campaign?

Real Change is TTAO’s fundraising campaign to place needed dollars into our socio-economically disadvantaged schools and communities.

Money raised will be used to fund:

  • TxETA convention attendance
  • Summer Drama camp tuitions
  • Clinics
  • Guest artists

We believe these activities change lives and helps expand theatre in our communities which affects our society as a whole.

Amazing Black Playwrights

In celebration of Black History Month, Sharron Jenkins graciously shared with TTAO members amazing Black playwrights who you should know about and read. Thank you, Sharron!

Click here for the list of playwrights.

Renewal Statement Reminders

I know the best place to send any TTAO related question regarding any aspect of the contest or TTAO Connect is support@ttao.org.

I understand that according to UIL rules I must critique the shows assigned by a blind draw overseen by the Contest Manager. I know that each Adjudicator should draw at least 1 advancing and 1 non-advancing show (at region the alternate school is treated as an advancing school in this instance). I also understand that if there is an uneven amount of shows at a contest that the Acting Awards Judge critiques fewer shows than the other Adjudicators. I know I that may not exchange or swap critiques with other adjudicators on a panel.

I understand that it is my responsibility to make sure that the clinic conflict form is complete and turned into the UIL state office. I understand that it is an ethics violation if I fail to turn in a clinic conflict sheet for any clinic in which I take part.

I will not participate in another adjudicator’s oral critique.

I understand that I am to only orally critique the shows that I drew. I will use the written critique to communicate anything to the other companies I do not speak to.

I will not use other adjudicators’ written evaluations as the basis or part of my oral critique. I understand that I am to deliver my own thoughts and ideas to the company and not read my colleagues’ work to companies during this time.

I understand that it is my responsibility to report to the Contest Manager immediately if I believe a member of the panel I am serving on is not of sound mind to carry out their duties as an Adjudicator. I further understand that if I wait to report an incident after the contest is over, that it may be too late for appropriate action to take place.

I understand that I may NOT be listed as a director on any official OAP entry (High School or Middle School) this coming school year in order to be eligible to judge.

I understand that there is NO LONGER a Best Actor or Best Actress Award at any UIL contest. These awards have been replaced with two Best Performer Awards that can be awarded to any gender combination of two actors.

I understand that UIL continues to limit the company size (actors and technicians) to 20 total; however, schools may now use any combination of actors and technicians to reach the total of 20. For example a show could have 18 actors and 2 technicians or a school could have 5 actors and 15 technicians. Students listed as technicians cannot appear onstage in a role (Townsperson, etc.); however students listed as actors may assist in running tech offstage.

I understand that TTAO has a defined process for an Adjudicator to follow regarding payment issues after a contest that can be found in the Manual of Operations at www.ttao.org.

I understand that TTAO has a thorough and defined Conflict of Interest Policy for Adjudicators, which can be found at www.ttao.org. I further agree to familiarize myself with and adhere to that Conflict of Interest Policy.

I understand that the UIL State Theatre Director chooses and assigns all upper level judges (Area, Region, and State adjudicators) each year.

I understand that Adjudicators shall accept only 6 official UIL contests unless the State Theatre Director approves additional contests for emergency/just cause. A district’s zone contests are considered 1 official contest (Note: This does not restrict the number of workshops, clinics, or festivals in which the adjudicator participates, AND does NOT include junior high/middle school contests, non-UIL contests, or the UIL State Contest.) I know that it is my responsibility to assure that I do not exceed the six contest limit as outlined above in a given season.

I understand that TTAO’s official Core Values are as follows: EDUCATION – Our priority is theatre education for students and their teachers. Our policies serve to improve theatre training within the UIL contest framework. DIVERSITY – We celebrate differences and include all the varied voices that represent students and the communities we serve. INTEGRITY – We hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards. We expect and practice personal and professional integrity. TRANSPARENCY – We commit to open communication and access to information, including governing documents. This instills trust and insures accountability. SERVICE – We serve our learning community by bringing our knowledge, experience, and leadership to students and teachers through professional training that instills confidence and provides growth.

I will not speak about any contest show to other adjudicators on a panel until all judge rankings have officially been submitted to the Contest Manager.

I understand that an ensemble All Star Cast or Honorable Mention All Star Cast award is reserved only for a group of actors who cannot be identified as individuals.

I understand that a Contest Manager will send me a new Region contractual agreement for the coming year, if applicable — even if the UIL State Theatre Director assigns me to judge the same contest in 2021 that was not able to be realized due to COVID-19 cancellations in 2020.

Tips for Approaching Your Critique

  • Please refrain from saying that you have directed, performed in, or seen the play before in a critique. A common complaint from directors in their evaluations is that a judge mentioned they have directed, performed, or seen the play before and they feel they were not given a fair evaluation. Even advancing directors have complained of this. Steer clear!
  • Read your scripts! (if they arrive on time) The contest is paying for you to be prepared for the contest as well as your feedback. You are supposed to be an expert audience member, not just another audience member. Even if you have seen the play before review the cutting to be familiar with what that school is attempting to create. We receive a lot of complaints in director’s evaluations where the directors feel like judges have not read their cutting–the evidence is that judges mention scenes or characters that are not in their cutting.
  • Focus on acting and directing in the critique. While comments on technical shortcomings are warranted sometimes, more than likely they weren’t the deciding factor in the contest. We get a lot of complaints from directors mentioning that a judge spent too much time focusing on inconsequential tech issues and not enough on acting and directing. Let students and directors go home feeling they didn’t advance because they need to improve their acting and directing, not because they didn’t have the period shoes necessary to produce the play. Technical comments can help advancing shows prepare for the next round, however, its best practice to limit tech notes for non-advancing plays.
  • Win your audience over early. Early praise for the director and students allow them to trust you as a messenger of feedback. Think of ways to start the critique to celebrate their work. What are some ways you win your audience over when giving critiques? Also note that the use of humor can be very effective, but it can also be misunderstood by your audience (directors, students, parents, etc.) Just be aware of what you are saying and how it is being received and interpreted.
  • Avoid saying such things as: “When I directed this play…” “I’ll see you at State!” (Unless it is for someone advancing to the State Contest from a Regional Contest.)

On Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Texas Theatre Adjudicators and Officials Organization supports and promotes the diversity of plays, directors, and students in today’s UIL One Act Play competition. As advocates for all forms of educational theatre in the state of Texas, Contests Managers and Adjudicators shall not knowingly make discriminatory statements or decisions, ensuring that personal bias is removed and that each performance evaluation is aligned with the official UIL rubric.

TTAO Connect Systems Updates

  • New statements have been added to all adjudicator agreements regarding payment:
    • TTAO requests that the school responsible for payment handle reservations and payment for travel and lodging directly with vendors (hotels, airlines, etc.).
    • TTAO requests that if any travel reimbursement needs to be distributed to the adjudicator, that the reimbursement be paid separately from judging fees for IRS income purposes.
    • If a contest is cancelled, TTAO requests that the school responsible for payment reimburse the adjudicator for all non-refundable out-of-pocket expenses that were agreed upon in the contractual agreement (hotel, airline ticket, etc.).
    • All payments should be issued to the adjudicator following the critique or no later than thirty days following the contest, unless this contractual agreement is modified to reflect the adjustments.
    • Failure to adhere to the above conditions may result in notification of the State Executive Committee.

Evaluation Reminders

We all know evaluation forms are important. Which is why adjudicators also have the opportunity to evaluate each contest. Find your specific form here.

Join TTAO on Facebook

Did you know that TTAO is on Facebook? Join us one of our groups for the latest updates and tips related to One Act Play!

If you are an adjudicator, join us here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/681476041915336/

If you are a contest manager, join us at the new site here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/561273894440216/?ref=share

Issues or Questions?

Contact support@ttao.org for the fastest way to get problems alleviated.