Facelift for stage awards

This story was first published in The Straits Times on May 28, 2013

After 13 years, the annual Life! Theatre Awards is getting a facelift.

This year's awards will introduce a panel discussion prior to the awards ceremony, as well as a Readers' Choice category so you can vote for your favourite production.

The awards, held each year to honour the best of Singapore theatre, will be held on July 1 at the WSingapore hotel in Sentosa Cove, which is coming on board as the official venue partner.

The awards ceremony is typically held in the first quarter of each year, but was postponed partly because of the hunt for a venue partner, as well as to rethink the purpose of the awards and refresh the content.

Ms Helen Chia, editor of Life!, says: "The theatre scene has come a long way since the awards were first given out - more practitioners have become professionals and can make a living from the arts, and the quantity and quality of shows have grown. The audience has also grown and become more discerning.

"As the main newspaper which gives serious coverage to the arts and which reaches out to 1.4million readers, we have decided that the ceremony should go beyond celebrating the practitioners. We want to include our readers and engage them. Hence we have introduced the panel discussion and will be asking our readers to join in the celebration."

This year's ceremony will be a late afternoon affair, preceded by a lively debate between several well-known members of the theatre community. The topic of the panel discussion and its members will be released shortly.

The shortlisted productions for the Readers' Choice Award are: Company by Dream World Productions, La Cage Aux Folles by Wild Rice, Lao Jiu: The Musical by The Theatre Practice, National Broadway Company by TheatreWorks, Roots by The Finger Players and Spring Awakening by Pangdemonium! Productions. The results of the voting will be announced at the awards ceremony.

This reader engagement drive is part of The Straits Times' Star programme, an initiative to reward its readers. Readers have been treated to tickets to the recent Social Star Awards, special access to the Shell F1 Ferrari pit and sneak movie previews, among other events and activities.

Mr Stephane Fabregoul, general manager of WSingapore, says: "W Singapore is honoured to be the official venue partner for this prestigious event. We look forward to putting on a fantastic awards ceremony and welcoming the luminaries of the local theatre world to our hotel."

A full list of Life! Theatre Awards nominees will be published next Tuesday.

This story was first published in The Straits Times on May 28, 2013

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