Ruby Griffith Awards Archive Information

The 2023-24 Ruby Griffith Awards Ceremony

The Ruby Griffith Awards Ceremony was held at The Women’s Club of Bethesda, 5500 Sonoma Road
Bethesda, Md. 20817. on Sunday, April 21, 2024. Congratulations to The Talent Machine Company for receiving the All Round Production Excellence Award for their productions of Mean Girls – The Musical.

How are the Ruby Griffith Awards administered and determined?

It might be of interest to entrants to note the way in which adjudicators of the Ruby Griffith Awards Competition (RGA) are selected and how judging proceeds.

The Competition is designed to elevate the quality of local amateur theatre and reward excellence and outstanding achievement. The judging is undertaken by a panel of adjudicators specially trained and appointed from within the membership of The British Players.

At present there are around 30 judges, all of whom are actively engaged in community theatre and who also have knowledge of the professional theatre, whether as frequent watchers and/or as participants. When an entry is received an e-mail is sent out to these judges by the Administrator for the season, notifying them of the show. Four judges are then chosen by the Administrator and their dates of availability obtained. The adjudicators are then sent a letter with a score sheet. One of the four is selected as a Facilitator. After each judge has attended a performance they are required to score the show and send their scores to the Administrator within 48 hours and to write a critique of the show. As regards the scores nobody, except the person scoring and the Administrator knows what score has been given. It is critical to the integrity of the RGA program that at no time should any judge discuss the score they have assigned. After all four judges have seen the production, the Facilitator calls a meeting to discuss the individual critiques and to gather material for a combined critique. This critique covers the categories of Directing, Acting, Costumes, Makeup and Hair; Set and Props, Lights and Sound; Stage Management and Front of House. If it is a musical production, the categories are expanded to include Singing, Dancing & Choreography and Orchestra or Musical Accompaniment. It is possible that after facilitation, people might want to adjust their scores bearing upon the discussion at the meeting, but again it is between the judge and the Administrator. At the end of the season every competing group will receive a composite critique of their entered production, which has been drawn from these individual critiques.

Our judges come from all over the Washington, DC area. They are not solely assigned to community theatres in their own locality but are sent out to judge entries as far away as Bowie in the north to La Plata in the south and everywhere in between, including Baltimore and Annapolis.

Every two years or so the adjudicators attend a training session and brush-up workshop covering the guidelines for adjudication and usually visiting a community theatre to judge a show that has not been entered for the Competition that year.

A Brief History of the Ruby Griffith Awards*

Ruby L. Griffith was born in London on April 9, 1907. After her professional career, primarily in the field of theatre education as director of the Italia Conti Stage School in London, she moved to Washington DC.

Early in 1964, she became a founding member of the British Players (formerly known as The British Embassy Players) and directed and produced the group’s first play, Night Must Fall. Thereafter, she devoted her talent and energies to the Players and was given the title ‘Artistic Director’. Through her wide experience and teaching talent, Ruby infused the Players with a strong sense of professionalism. She produced and/or directed seven of the British Players first fourteen productions.

On the opening night of the British Players’ 1968 Old Time Music Hall, which she produced and directed, Ruby suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. She died a few days later.

In honour of her contributions, the British Players instituted an annual award competition for All-Round Production Excellence. Initially, the Washington Theatre Alliance, which, at that time, was an organization of fourteen theatre groups including the British Players, administered the Ruby Griffith Award. At the time the award was open only to Theatre Alliance members and attracted 10 entrants in the first season.

Beginning with the 1971/72 season, the British Players assumed the administration of the competition and expanded eligibility to include more of the Washington area’s amateur groups. With the start of the 1991/92 season, two new achievement awards were added; the Ruby Griffith Award for Outstanding Achievement in a Musical and the Ruby Griffith Award for Outstanding Achievement in a Non-Musical.

The All-Round Production Excellence Award is a trophy made of sterling silver and depicts the masks of comedy and tragedy below the British Lion. The trophy was crafted by Garrards of London from an original design provided by an early member of the British Players. The two Outstanding Achievement Awards are plaques with the representation of the Lion and masks from the All-Round Excellency trophy. The Outstanding Achievement Awards also include certificates for the second and third place runners up in each category.

The competition is currently open to any amateur theatre group meeting the established criteria.

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