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Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we have to provide a primary and alternate judge to seat on the judging panel?

In the past, the MAT Awards struggled with judges that were unwilling or unable to attend all assigned shows. Additionally, judges would fail to notify the MAT Awards if they missed a show, which would put Member Theaters at a disadvantage during scoring. Requiring all member theaters to provide one judge and an alternate for each category in which they compete ensures that everyone has an equal stake in holding judges accountable for attendance.

If the Primary Judge cannot attend a show, it is his or her responsibility to

  1. Notify his or her Theater Representative
  2. Notify and coordinate with the Alternate Judge.


What if we can’t find anyone to be a Primary and/or Alternate Judge?
If this happens, we may be able to help you find a judge to represent your theater. There are many former judges to whom we would be happy to reach out on your behalf, but please do make the effort to find your judges on your own before contacting us for assistance. If you are unable to find a judge or judges, the theater simply pays dues of $100 per category instead, and your theater may still participate.

What kind of people should we select to be my Primary and Alternate Judges?
The only requirement is that each Primary and Alternate Judge have acceptable experience in theater. The judge may be the Theater Representative, an actor, a director, a costumer, a stage manager, a box office worker, or anyone who has worked in theater for some time and has an understanding of what they will be watching and how it was put together. Judges don’t need to have a degree in theater or special training as long as they have been working in theater or are a long-time patron/viewer with an understanding of the process of producing a show. If you are having problems finding a judge for yourself, please ask us for assistance.

What happens if our Judge fails to see a required show?
If the Primary Judge finds that he or she is unable to attend a show,
it is his or her responsibility to

  1. Notify his or her Theater Representative
  2. Notify and coordinate with the Alternate Judge.


Additionally, it is his or her responsibility to plan ahead to ensure that all shows are covered. If, for whatever reason, niether the Primary nor the Alternate Judge is able to attend, the Theater Representative must contact the MAT Awards as soon as possible. The MAT Awards will attempt to find an emergency judge to attend the show. If both judges miss a show and a replacement cannot be found in time to ensure the show is properly judged, then the judge will be dismissed and the Member Theater that the judge represents will be suspended for one full year from participation. It is the Theater Representative’s responsibility to ensure the judges fulfill their commitments.

Why has scoring changed?
In the past, shows that happened earlier in the season faced a disadvantage when compared to shows presented later in the season, closer to the time when ballots were issued. By requiring that judges score each show individually, at the time the show is presented, we ensure that the show is fresh in the judge’s mind and that the assessment is honest and complete.

Secondly, by scoring the shows individually at the time of the performance, we avoid issues with balancing the balloting, since judges are replaced if needed on-the-fly, and scoring takes place immediately.

Thirdly, under the old system, the judges simply assigned points in a category without explicitly being made to take into account everything that goes into a role or production value category. By requiring that individual elements such as characterization, level of difficulty, projection, etc., are scored, we help ensure that each and every show, actor, and technical nominee is being wholly and fairly assessed. The system helps ensure that an actor who tackles a very difficult role versus another actor who is in the same category but with a much different role — for example, Andrew in Love Letters versus Hamlet in Hamlet — is assessed fairly according to the level of difficulty AND execution of the role. Similarly, in a technical category such as Costumes, it is appropriate to assess whether the costumers primarily constructed or primarily rented costumes. In other words: level of effort should count.

What happens with scoring if one judge fails to see the show?
In the case that all of the fail-safes decribed above fail, there are two final options at our disposal. First, we will attempt to find someone who has attended the show who has theater experience and can properly score the show, but is not biased in favor of the participating theater. If we can’t find such a stand-in, then the second option is to take an average of all of the score sheets from the judges that did attend and those averages would be the scores on behalf of the judge that failed to show up. All decisions regarding how to proceed in this case are at the sole discretion of the President of the MAT Awards.

Do we have to pay membership dues?
If a Member Theater provides a Primary and Alternate judge for each Production Category to which they submit a show, then no membership dues are required. However, if the Member Theater cannot or does not wish to provide a Primary and an Alternate judge, then the theater will be required to pay a $100 membership due per production category entered. Please note: Theaters are required to provide one judge per production category, except Original Works, regardless of the number of shows submitted to the production category.

Why can we only submit one Musical, one Play, but unlimited Original Works?
The MAT Awards averages 21 participating theater companies each season. Most of these theater companies average 5 productions a year. It is not feasible to ask a judge to attend such a large number of shows — possibly up to 105! In the future, the MAT Awards may allow additional entries, but at this time we feel it is best to limit each theater to one entry in Musicals and Plays. In the case of Original Works, it’s fairly rare for a theater company to produce one, much less more than one, original work in one season. By making entries unlimited, we hope to encourage member theaters to support their local playwrights.

How does scoring work?
After each submitted production, the Judge is required to fill out a score sheet or ballot. Each Award Category is made up of different scoring elements.
For example, the scoresheet for an actor that is eligible for the Leading Actor Award consists of elements such as Characterization, Level of Difficulty of the Role, Enunciation/Projection, and if it’s a musical they are judged based on their singing ability. These scores all total up to one score for that actor. The judges score each show they attend along with choosing up to four of their favorite actors/actresses in each Actor Category, and issue points for those.

How are the Nominees and Winners chosen?
At the end of the season, the MAT President and Vice President tally the score sheets for each production. The top four scores for each Award Category are the Official Nominees. The nominee with the top score will be declared the Winner among those Nominees. In the Nomination Phase, if a tie exists for fourth place, then those ties will stand and there may be five to six Nominees for any Award Category. In the Winner Phase, if a tie exists for first place, then the judges will re-vote only on the four Official Nominees and choose the Winner.

How and when may we apply for participation?
To apply for membership to the Metropolitan Atlanta Theater Awards, please visit the Registration page.. The deadline to apply for any season is June 1st of each year. The season runs from July 1st of one year to June 30th of the next year.

where are the Official Rules?
You may download a copy of the official rules by clicking here.

Record Cumulative Nominations

Jay Tryall – 10 Nominations (Recipient of The President’s Award in 2013)
Rob Roy Hardie – 14 Nominations (Recipient of The President’s Award in 2011)
Murray Mann – 9 Nominations
Rebecca Dingbaum – 9 Nominations
Jane Kroessig – 8 Nominations
Mercury – 8 Nominations
Danielle Gustaveson – 7 Nominations
Topher Payne – 7 Nominations
Alyssa Jackson – 6 Nominations