Inaugural WhatsOffStage Awards announced: vote here
The new awards recognise venues and staff for the work they do off stage
The WhatsOffStage Awards, which recognise venues and staff and the work they do, have been launched by WhatsOnStage.
The brand new initiative celebrates the contribution people behind the scenes have to the industry and the theatregoing experience.
The winner of the WhatsOffStage Awards will be chosen by the public, with voting opening on 12 September and closing on 5 October. The winners will be announced at a small, private ceremony on Friday 19 October.
The categories in the WhatsOffStage Awards are: Best Front of House Team, Best Box Office, Best Stage Door, Best Food and Drink, Most Accessible Theatre, Most Child-Friendly Theatre, Best Community Theatre, Best Theatre Facilities, Best Theatre Website and Favourite Theatre.
To vote, simply put in the name of the theatre which you think should win under each category. Only one vote is allowed per person and an email address is needed in order to verify your vote. See below for more details about what you should be thinking about for each category.
Vote here in the WhatsOffStage Awards
Best Front of House Team
This incorporates all the staff that help to make your general theatre experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible. Whether they are showing you to your seats, selling you a programme, serving you a drink or telling the person next to you to put their phone away, we want to know which theatre has the friendliest, most helpful and efficient ushers, stewards and bar staff.
Best Box Office
A great box office not only sells you your tickets but should also offer excellent advice to help you choose your seats according to your needs and budget. The box office team also help sort all your ticketing woes when you accidently book the wrong date/performance and in some cases, the wrong show altogether!
Best Stage Door
Stage Door staff are often the "front line" between the cast and the general public. They have to deal with the large crowds that can assemble when a popular actor is performing and have to do so with tact and sensitivity. After all, they are dealing with people who have spent their hard-earned money to watch their favourite star on stage.
Best Food & Drink
Sadly "theatre wine" has earned a bad reputation over the years, deservedly so, some might say, when you consider the inflated prices for a glass of luke-warm Chardonnay! Which theatre sells a decent range of alcoholic and soft drinks at reasonable prices and can offer more than the ubiquitous bag of peanuts to go with it?
Most Accessible Theatre
"Accessible" covers far more than "wheelchair friendly". Does your theatre offer audio-described and captioned performances or performances for those with special needs such as autism or dementia?
Most Child-Friendly Theatre
This incorporates theatres that not only work hard to create excellent shows for children of all ages but also those that consider the needs of those children when they come into the theatre. Is there somewhere to leave a buggy? Are there baby-changing facilities? Does the café offer healthy drinks and snacks for kids rather than a can of sugary pop and a packet of crisps?
Best Community Theatre
Does your local theatre embrace the community that surrounds it? We think that local theatres in particular should be a hub for people to pop into for a cup of coffee; meet friends; participate in workshops etc and (most importantly) see themselves reflected in the work presented on stage. Does your theatre tick all those boxes and make you feel involved and included? If so, nominate it.
Best Theatre Facilities
The dreaded queue for the ladies' loos is now the stuff of legend so this category is recognising theatres that have got it right. We're not just talking about toilets (although they are very important) but maybe a free cloakroom, somewhere to actually sit in the bar area once you've bought your drinks and free WiFi.
Best Theatre Website
For many people, this is the starting point for their theatregoing experience so it's important to recognise helpful and informative websites with features such as easy navigation, a straightforward booking process, informative and engaging content, mobile friendly etc.
If you think a particular theatre should be recognised for its fantastic programming, its architecture, its ethos or quite simply it's a beautiful space that you love visiting then nominate it in this category. There needs to be no other reason than it's your favourite theatre, but do tell us why!