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Taipei positions new theater awards as Taiwan's Tony's

04/12/2024 09:50 PM
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Actors perform a scene from a musical by Studio M during Thursday's news conference at Taipei Performing Arts Center. CNA photo April 11, 2024
Actors perform a scene from a musical by Studio M during Thursday's news conference at Taipei Performing Arts Center. CNA photo April 11, 2024

Taipei, April 12 (CNA) The Taipei Theatre Awards were launched Thursday, aimed at becoming Taiwan's Tony Awards for contemporary theater and musical productions, according to Tsai Shih-ping (蔡詩萍), commissioner of the city's Department of Cultural Affairs.

Speaking at a news conference at the Taipei Performing Arts Center on Thursday, Tsai said establishing top awards for Taiwan's stage productions has been one of his priorities since taking office because of his guest-starring roles in such productions.

It has also been a wish among theater makers, Tsai said, with directors Ko I-chen (柯一正) and Wu Nien-jen (吳念真) telling him there was a need for high-level honors and recognition for the industry.

The inaugural awards, to be presented in June 2025, will include awards for best theater production, best musical production, and best experimental and innovative theater or musical production, picked from the nominees in the first two categories, according to the organizers.

Tsai Shih-ping, commissioner of the city's Department of Cultural Affairs. CNA photo April 11, 2024
Tsai Shih-ping, commissioner of the city's Department of Cultural Affairs. CNA photo April 11, 2024

Awards for individuals include best director, best playwright, best production design, best actor and actress in theater productions, as well as best actor and best actress in musicals.

A special contribution award for either a theater group or individual will be picked from nominees recommended by a group of experts and theater goers, as well as by members of the public between Oct. 1 and Nov. 30, according to the organizers.

Only ticketed productions staged in government-owned or -run venues in Taipei are eligible to compete in the inaugural edition of the awards, the organizers said, except for productions of traditional and children's theater.

Even if there's a nationwide theater awards program established in the future, the Taipei Theatre Awards will continue, Tsai said, citing the example of the coexistence of the Taipei Film Awards and the Golden Horse Awards.

The Taipei Theatre Awards will be an important benchmark for Taiwan, since "many productions premiere in Taipei." Tsai said. "Audiences in Taipei can decide whether a production makes it or not."

Organizers will begin accepting submissions from theater and musical makers from May 1 to June 14 for ticketed productions staged in Taipei between July 1 and Dec. 31, and the awards ceremony will be staged in June next year.

In addition to trophies for the winners, the city government will hand out total prize money of NT$2.7 million (US$83,681), according to the organizers.

CNA photo April 11, 2024
CNA photo April 11, 2024

Meanwhile, the privately run Taishin Bank Foundation for Art and Culture, which announced 17 nominees for its 22nd edition of the Taishin Arts Awards in early March, will hold its awards ceremony on June 1.

The foundation will present one prize for a visual artwork, one for a performing arts production and a grand prize picked from nominees in both categories.

The grand prize winner will receive NT$1.5 million, while the two other winners will be awarded NT$1 million each, according to the foundation.

(By Yeh Kuan-yin and Kay Liu)

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"Don't Cry, Dancing Girls," a successful musical nominated for the Taihsin Arts Awards this year. Source: VMTheatre Company
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