Creative Team Parity - WOS Awards Contd......

November 3, 2014

Creative Team Parity

 

The whole argument about Music Department being included in mainstream Theatre awards like Whats On Stage and The Oliviers has been ridiculed by the reply I received from Laura Norman from WOSAwards on 31st October. To suggest that the voting audience is 'implicitly supporting all involved’ by making a vote is complete nonsense and all of us who have our careers in this industry know it. 

 

Here is the email trail. Note how long before the reply with the information and also note that I repeatedly offered to meet with them to discuss but that offer was never taken up.

____________________________________________________

2 March 2014

 

Dear Laura

 

I hope that you have seen some of my tweets in the last week regarding the lack of an award for Musical Supervisor/Musical Director/Orchestrator and the fact that this remains a glaring omission in a set of awards for Musical Theatre which simply ignores a fundamental part of the Creative Team. 

 

I wonder if there is a possibility of starting a dialogue with you about this?  

 

I am currently in midst Oh What A Lovely War at Stratford East but would be happy to chat soon!

 

 

Kind regards

 

Mike

____________________________________________________

6 March 2014

 

Dear Mike

 

Thank you for your feedback and I have indeed seen your repeated tweets as well as my colleague, our editor, Theo's response - by which I stand.

 

Of course we agree that musical direction is an enormously important part of any production and do plan to review all Awards categories before next year's Awards season. This is only likely to happen in June/July when we begin the new Awards cycle. 

 

While we appreciate your strong feelings in this regard I hasten to add that including a category is not simply contingent on it being a valuable category (indeed costume design, stage management, sound design and increasingly video design are all enormously important in the making of a good production) - we must consider the cost, number of Awards overall (the Awards this year ran to 3 hours as it was) and also, the audience's ability to fairly judge the category.

 

Again however we do plan to review all our categories for next year's Awards as it is our 15th anniversary and we aim to ensure that these Awards are as representative as possible. 

 

We believe that our Awards are a celebration of theatre and I'm glad that you've taken the time to engage so strongly with them.

 

Best

 

Laura Norman

 

Laura Norman
Club and Office Manager

WhatsOnStage.com

____________________________________________________

6 March 2014

 

Dear Laura

 

Thank you for your reply and I will make sure that Twitter knows a dialogue is in progress.

 

I understand all you speak of, however, my fundamental point is simply that the Creative Core Team in a Musical (after the writers, of course) is Director, Choreographer and Musical Supervisor (or Musical Director as they can easily be one and the same person).  Without those three none of the other elements can exist.  Sadly most Award Bodies find this a difficult thing to accept.  The Australian Helpmann Awards and various others around the globe actually do recognise and I sincerely hope that WOS Awards can be the first in this country to make parity happen.  I had very good discussions last year with Julian Bird at the Oliviers and I believe this year there will be an Outstanding Achievement in Music Award, which is a major step forward.

 

I would be happy to come and discuss with you before you go into your meetings in June.

 

I wish you well.

 

Kind regards

 

Mike

 

________________________________________________________

26 March 2014

 

Dear Laura

 

Wondering if you received this?

 

I understand that you must be busy but I would very much appreciate dialogue on this matter. 

 

I cannot presume to dictate what should and shouldn't happen but I really hope that WOS Awards have the breadth of vision to see how vital this category is and the forward thinking to be the first to acknowledge the contribution the Music Department make in Musical Theatre. 

 

Yours very sincerely

 

Mike

 

________________________________________________________

4 April 2014

 

Again wondering if you received this?

 

Best wishes

 

Mike

 

________________________________________________________

4 April 2014

 

Good morning Mike

 

I did receive this and as I’ve said before, I see your point and am in no way denying that the MD is vitally important to a good production – it is not a case of accepting or not accepting the importance of an MD (which is what seem to assume is the case). We will take your points (as you have so clearly stated them) into our meeting when we discuss the categories and consider them within the very much broader context of our Awards as a whole. As we go into our 15th year we plan a revamp of many elements of the Awards and you may well see fewer rather than more awards going forward. 

 

I do not think it’s necessary to meet and discuss this as I understand your position (and indeed, the position from which you make it) and we take this and the many other requests we receive year-on-year seriously into consideration. 

 

Regards

 

Laura

______________________________________________________

4 April 2014

 

Thank you Laura.

 

I appreciate your candour and I sincerely wish you well with your meetings and the future of WOS Awards.

 

I would be very grateful if there was some way that you could keep me in the loop and I would be only too happy to deliver a ‘mission statement’ if you needed it, though I think after my previous bombardments you pretty much have all you need.

 

Very best wishes

 

Mike

 

_______________________________________________________________

4 April 2014

Hi Mike

 

I will certainly keep you in the loop once we’ve started the planning for the next Awards season and do feel free to send over a mission statement if you’ve one already prepared following your conversations with SOLT. 

 

Best

Laura

 ______________________________________________________________

6 April 2014

Thank you very much for that, Laura.

 

I am attaching a very simple document to help the argument.

 

Very best wishes

 

Mike

 

_______________________________________________________________

1 July 2014

 

Greetings Laura

 

I was wondering if there was any news regarding Creative Team Parity from your meetings about next year?

 

Best wishes

 

Mike

_______________________________________________________________

2 July 2014

 

Dear Mike

 

We're still having lengthy conversations about categories and all things Awards-related. Still a while to the final categories are all tied down.

 

Best

 

Laura

 

_______________________________________________________________

2 July 2014

 

Thanks for reply. 

 

Very best with deliberations!

 

Mike 

________________________________________________________

31 October 2014

 

Dear Mike

 

I hope all is well. As promised I wanted to follow-up with you now that our new season has just begun. 

 

After much discussion in the office and more importantly a thorough look at the nomination and voting stats from the past several years we have refined our Awards list to 20 categories this year (down from 27 previously). Categories were retained based on which had most engagement from the public and displayed the highest nominating and voting figures. As an audience voted award we think it's paramount that we are responding to the people they're judged by. 

 

I understand of course that you will be disappointed we have not been able to add a musical direction category and again this in no way implies that we don't appreciate the value of the work that MDs do. So many aspects go into making a good production and we'd really like to be able to celebrate them all but we have to consider many elements when planning the WOS Awards. 

 

We strongly believe that our Awards are a celebration of theatre and while we can only highlight some of the many people involved in making productions we believe that the audience understand these as a snapshot of that. In nominating or voting for any of our production categories they are implicitly supporting all involved. 

 

All the best and thank you again for so strongly engaging with our Awards. We do hope that you will continue to do so and nominate and vote again this year. 

 

Laura


WhatsOnStage.com
Laura Norman, 

Business Manager 

Awards Producer

  

_________________________________________________________________

31 October 2014

 

Dear Laura

 

What a great shame….and yet again a sign that in Musical Theatre the MUSICal aspect is so misunderstood.

 

I will of course set Twitter going again about this (in the very near future) and I hope that at some point soon your Awards will join with other members of the industry in accepting that MS/MD is as important a part of the Creative Team as Choreographer and Designers.

 

Yours very sincerely

 

Mike

 

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