TTAO Annual Renewal 2020-2021

It’s May 1, and you know what that means, right? Time to go to and renew your TTAO annual membership, or if you prefer, go for that Lifetime Membership you’ve been thinking about.

If you’ve forgotten your password, you can create a new one using the “Forgot password?” link, and then login at your earliest convenience:!/users/reset/8bedea2ac25ceec7d8dec668029c5c6cb79c07f3

Once you’re logged in, you’ll need to do these 4 things:

  1. Agree to Renewal Statements (important reminders)
  2. Pay Dues (if not a lifetime member)
  3. Update Calendar Availability for 2020-2021
  4. Update Profile

Here’s a video outlining the process:

Once you’ve indicated your availability, please also take a moment to review your profile and make any updates or perhaps upload a new profile picture when appropriate. You can edit your profile at any time.

For Lifetime Members, please remember that you must complete the entire above process, beyond paying dues, as well to maintain your membership.

Important Notes Regarding Dues this Year:

For this year only, in acknowledgement of the extreme financial challenges many are facing due to COVID-19 complexities, TTAO has extended the deadline for payment/renewal to be considered by the UIL State Theatre Director to adjudicate State, Region, and Area contests. So, in order to be considered for these upper level contests in 2021, you must renew your membership/pay dues before August 1, 2020 (as opposed to the “normal deadline” of June 1.) As always, you must be Area/Region/State certified for consideration as well.

Please remember that any TTAO member may renew/update/pay dues at any time throughout the coming year. However, no one will appear on the lists/TTAO Connect as available or be able to be “reserved” for a contest via contractual agreement, etc. until membership is fully renewed and dues paid following the above steps. So, if you would like to appear available whenever many schools begin searching for people toward the end of the summer to serve their contests, you are encouraged to complete this renewal process in full and pay your dues as soon as you can.

If you have any questions, please check out the TTAO CONNECT help area. Thanks for being part of TTAO.

2020 Contest Disruption Updates


UIL Amends Suspension of Activities Due to COVID-19

With the announcement that all Texas school are to remain closed to in-person learning for the remainder of the school year, and in an effort to help protect the health & safety of Texans, the University Interscholastic League is cancelling all remaining 2019-2020 Spring activities and State championships.

Read the full press release.

Message from TTAO on 4/18/20:

TTAO Friends: 

With UIL’s announcement yesterday of cancelling all remaining activities for this academic year, I know that, while many of us anticipated that it could happen, our hearts are all still heavy. For TTAO’s Adjudicators and Contest Managers, the OAP Contest means so very much to us.

Of course, our organization’s main priority is to assure that everyone remains safe and healthy through this COVID-19 pandemic. So, while we are all disappointed, TTAO fully supports UIL in this decision for the good of the whole. 

As the Chair of TTAO, please let me take this time to personally thank you all for your patience and flexibility over the last several weeks in trying our very best to do whatever we can do for the theatre students and teachers in the state of Texas during this uncertain time. Truly, the members of our organization have exhibited a dedication to selflessly serve at every turn, and for that I am so grateful to you. 

Wishing all the best to you and yours,

Carrie Klypchak, PhD
Chair, TTAO


UIL Amends Suspension of Activities Due to COVID-19




As of the time of this update, UIL has decided to try to continue with District contests that have not yet happened and conduct each tier of the contest process through the State Meet. However, UIL has now extended its suspension of all activities, and the earliest any contests may resume as of this writing is May 4.

*No rescheduling is being done at this point. As we all know this is a continually evolving situation due to COVID-19. UIL has not determined a timeline for these contests at this point.*


1. UPDATE AVAILABILITY FOR THE MONTH OF MAY: Adjudicators should get into TTAO Connect and update their availability through the month of May. Paula Rodriguez has already communicated with Contest Managers, and your District or Bi-District CMs should contact you when/if a new contest date is determined, cancel any inapplicable contracts, and issue you new ones in TTAO Connect. So, again, as a judge, the only thing you really need to do in TTAO Connect right now is update your current availability through May, CMs should take care of the rest.

(Note: Please remember that when/if you get a new contest date from a CM, you should not mark that as unavailable in TTAO Connect, as it will not let the Contest Manager send you the newly updated contract for that day; once that contract is accepted, the system will automatically reserve the date for you.)

2. TRY TO CANCEL PERSONALLY PURCHASED TRAVEL: If you purchased a flight, etc. for a contest out of pocket for reimbursement that you know will no longer be applicable because of changed contest dates, Ms. Rodriguez has stated that you should try to cancel those flights, etc. and that many airlines are offering refunds.

3. IF YOU KNOW YOU HAVE TO WITHDRAW: If a judge already knows they need to withdraw from a District or Bi-District contest that could be scheduled in the future due to COVID-19 concerns and/or scheduling/site change, etc. concerns, they should go ahead and inform their CM for that contest. Right now, Ms. Rodriguez has stated that she is keeping all Area, Region and State judging assignments as is. Should an adjudicator need to withdraw from any of those, they should contact her directly at:

This is all an incredibly fluid situation at this point. It is important to reiterate that no rescheduling is occurring at this time. All decisions remain flexible as UIL continues to monitor and reassess this ever-changing situation. As well, Ms. Rodriguez has also said that if you have specific questions you may contact her as the UIL State Theatre Director. Thank you for your continued flexibility and understanding.


TTAO Friends: 

Our team has been working to find the most straightforward way to change dates, sites, judges, etc. etc. in TTAO Connect for Adjudicator Contractual Agreements when need be. As we all know, the present circumstances offer challenges that no one could really anticipate, and the Connect system didn’t anticipate it either! So, what has been determined is that the original Contractual Agreements/Events will need to be canceled/deleted in Connect BY THE CONTEST MANAGER if there are changes, and new events/Contractual Agreements will need to be created/distributed to Adjudicators (for any changes… dates, sites, etc. etc.)

*ADJUDICATORS: Please anticipate communication from your Contest Managers about any contest shifts/new Contractual Agreements coming your way. Also, *all* Adjudicators need to remain aware that you may be receiving new offers to judge during this period of time if the originally slated judges can no longer serve given shifts, health concerns, etc. See below regarding how Contest Managers are being asked to approach all of this, and please remain diligent about checking your emails regularly – including your “spammy” folders. This is very important, as you will again have that 72 hour window to either accept or reject a contract through Connect, but *please* do this as soon as possible! Your Contest Managers are working hard doing *all the things* right now!

*CONTEST MANAGERS: Please approach new Contractual Agreements in the following way:

1. Make sure that you get the currently slated judges’ contact information from the existing contract in Connect before you cancel it so that you have their direct contact information handy.

2. Directly contact the originally slated judges and communicate to them the proposed changes. Please try to be as thorough as possible in your communication with them about any changes (date, site, travel accommodations/reimbursement approach, number of schools, pay, etc. etc.) and understand that some of those judges may or may not be able to continue to serve given those changes and/or their own circumstances (i.e. if they have health concerns regarding the coronavirus, etc.). Also, make sure that they know when you are going to cancel the existing Contractual Agreement and issue the new Contractual Agreement so they remain on the “look-out” for it coming to them via email once you have created it in TTAO Connect. This will be important, as they will still have the 72 hour window to accept or reject the new Contractual Agreement.

3. Create the new Event/Contractual Agreements in Connect with the appropriately changed dynamics of the contest and issue it to appropriate judges (be those the originally slated ones or new ones).

All of the above approach will need to be done in the future as well by Contest Managers if the specifics of a contest change again (hopefully, that won’t be the case, of course, but as we all know, we are in uncertain times right now).

***Again, if Contest Managers have questions about shifting a contest in any way, please contact Paula Rodriguez as the UIL State Theatre Director directly. As well, if a contest date, site, etc. is shifting, please make sure that she knows that. (Just fyi: Ms. Rodriguez has already recently communicated that at this time, there is no need to open/edit the Spring Meet entry system for District Competitions.)***

As always, thank you to you all for your patience, flexibility, and hard work! Obviously, this is not where any of us wanted to be, but here we are… and we will “make it work” for those kids.

Best to you and yours-

Carrie Klypchak, PhD
Chair, TTAO


Paula Rodriguez again gave me permission to share the below with you all that she just posted on the One-Act Play Director’s Facebook page from UIL. I know that everyone will have many questions regarding contractual agreements, scheduling, etc.

Adjudicators: Please stay in close communication with your Contest Managers regarding any shifts. Also, please make sure that your availability is completely updated on TTAO Connect, as shifts will undoubtedly need to happen.

Contest Managers: If you have any questions regarding the re-scheduling of a contest, adjudicator assignments, etc., please contact Paula directly using her contact information that she provides in her below message.

Continuing thanks to you all for your flexibility, patience, and commitment to working together for the good of the students. And, again, please know that whatever I find out, I will continue to let you know as soon as possible (in the end, you may get tired of hearing from me… but I’ll definitely let you know when/if info. comes my way:)!

Carrie Klypchak, PhDChair, TTAO


UIL One Act Play Directors,

As we continue to monitor the rapidly changing status of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and how it is impacting students and their activities we have the following updates regarding the remaining UIL One act Play Contests for the 2019-2020 school year.

All UIL events scheduled March 16-29 are to be suspended. Rehearsals and practices during the time of suspension may be held with approval from the local school district. Beginning on March 30th events may resume with the considerations that follow. Any changes to these dates will be communicated as they become available.

One-Act Play

Note: Sunday competitions are allowed.

  • One-Act Play District/Bi-District certification deadline, originally scheduled March 26, has been extended to April 7.
  • One-Act Play Area certification deadline, originally scheduled for April 4, has been extended to April 14.

We ask that schools and local District Executive Committees work collaboratively and reasonably with one another in rescheduling district and bi-district one-act play. Area one-act play will be scheduled based on host site availability and will be communicated via the UIL website.

Regional Academic, Speech and One-Act Play

Academic Regional Meets are still scheduled for April 17-18 and One-Act Play Regional dates remain April 15-18. Current sites are subject to change.

District Competition

Scheduling your district competitions remain at your local administration’s discretion. We ask that schools and local District Executive Committees work collaboratively and reasonably with one another in rescheduling district competitions, as well as bi-district one-act play. Area one-act play will be scheduled based on host site availability.

Our office will work with contest managers and contest sites to reschedule as school districts allow. One Act Play directors, please have your contest managers update the State theatre director, Paula Rodriguez,, with any changes in contest dates and locations. If you have immediate concerns, do not hesitate to call (512) 471-4517.We appreciate your cooperation and all that you do for UIL member schools.

Thank you,
Paula Rodriguez

How TTAO Recommends OAP Judges to UIL

We are so very excited to announce that TTAO has grown so much over the past several years as a dynamic independent non-profit organization that the Board has recently voted to create a new, rotating committee in our organization… the Area/Region/State Recommendation Committee!

This new committee will be made up of each year’s State judges, and they will make recommendations for new upper-level judge status designations, as well as provide recommendations to the UIL State Theatre Director for her consideration in her assignment of Area, Region, and State judges!

Below is a short video for all of our members that will explain the process in more depth. This new committee has been under discussion by Board members for several years, however, and we would like to take this opportunity now to extend our overwhelming gratitude to the State judges this year who have jumped on board and helped us make this happen!

Winter 2020 Newsletter

Board Updates & Announcements

Board of Directors Meeting Notice

Date: January 26, 2020
Location: Virtual
Focus: Regular Board Meeting for TTAO Business

Payment Issues Process

There is a new process in place for adjudicators who are not paid within 30 days of a contest. Please be sure to read over the steps outlined from our summer board meeting.

The payment issue process can be found on the TTAO website under “Issues and Grievances” as well as in the update Manual of Operations.

Updated Manual of Operations:

New OAP Rules for 2020:

  1. Best Actor and Best Actress will now be awarded to the 2 Best Performers, regardless of gender. The new ballot can be downloaded from the website here:
  2. Each school can now have a company of 20 that can be divided however they wish. However, in order to be considered for an acting award the cast member must be listed as an actor /actress in the program.

Grievance and Issues

Do you have a suggestion, question, concern or grievance that you would like for the TTAO Board to address during their June meeting? Any recommendations for actions are welcomed and considered by the Standards and Practices Committee.

The Grievance Form is on the TTAO website at

December Election Results

Welcome to the new Board and Standards & Practices Committee Members!

Mandy Epley – Board of Directors – Communications Director-Elect

Karen King – Board of Directors – Treasurer-Elect/Historian

R. Scott Allen- Board of Directors – Director-at-Large

Jim Mammarella- Board of Directors – Director-at-Large

Aimee Kasprzyk- Standards & Practices Committee – Region 3/Contest Manager

Freddie Buckner – Standards & Practices Committee – Region 3/ Adjudicator

Upcoming Contest Season Reminders

TTAO Code of Ethics

Please review the TTAO Code of Ethics and Professional Standards for both Adjudicators and Contest Managers before the season begins: The full list can be found on the TTAO site here:

Contest Evaluations

Don’t forget to submit your evaluation form after completing a contest. All forms can be found at

Contest Managers you can also remind Directors during the Directors Meeting to complete their evaluation form of the contest afterwards as well.

Social Media Reminders

UIL and TTAO strongly discourage adjudicators from posting results of contests they adjudicate on social media. If you are a Contest Manager/Judge and you want to post results, please include your title as contest manager when posting.

Please realize that any comment about a contest you have judged could either:

  1. Influence another adjudicator’s opinion about the quality of the work you saw even if you mean it in a very general way.
  2. Compel other panelists to post an equally praising post.

General Rule of Thumb: Don’t post anything about your contests if you are in doubt.

Some other Social Media Considerations:

1. Consider unfollowing or unfriending on Facebook high school directors of shows you may adjudicate during a contest season. This could help to eliminate the impression of impropriety because you would remove yourself from seeing anything that director may post about his/her show. Unfollowing may be the easiest method to reverse after contest season.

2. Be aware that directors, administrators, parents and students can and sometimes will search and find your social media postings. Be careful about posting things/photos that could give an unhappy person ammunition to potentially use against you in a complaint.

3. Join the following for important updates, reminders and connections to your fellow adjudicators and/or contest managers:
– Texas Theatre Adjudicators & Officials Facebook page (link below)
– TTAO/UIL One Act Play Adjudicators Facebook page (link below)

Adjudicators- Tips for Approaching the 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.)

Upcoming Certification Opportunities

Contest Manager – Mar 20-21 at Atascocita High School

**more details are TBA**

Check the TTAO Facebook groups or TTAO website for further information:

Upcoming Important Dates

March 26: All District & Bi-District meets must be completed on or before this date
March 30 – April 4: Area OAP Meets
April 15 – April 18: Regional Meets
April 30 – May 2: State OAP Meets

Join TTAO on Facebook

Did you know that TTAO is on Facebook? Join us in one of our groups to be part of the OAP community year around!

If you are an adjudicator, join us here:

If you are a contest manager, join us here: