National Adjudicators 2015

Adjudicators & the Adjudication Process

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The Role of the Adjudicator

Burlington Players production of "Radium Girls"The most important function of the adjudicator is to serve as an educator. True, individual awards must be selected, but adjudication without a carefully prepared critique, which teaches as it evaluates, would deprive festival participants of a most valuable feature—opportunity for qualitative improvement. The successful judge must be objective, direct, and detailed in criticism, but with respect for all those involved in the production at hand.

Adjudicators for festivals in the 2015 AACTFest cycle are individuals with a wide range of theatrical training and experience. Adjudicators view each festival production and share their observations with the entering companies and the audience. Plays are to be adjudicated based on the overall production, with acting and directing as the major elements.

Photo: Burlington [MA] Players production of Radium Girls,
by D. W. Gregory, which won Best Production at AACTFest 2013

All types of productions (comedy, drama, original works, musicals, revues, avant-garde, “controversial,” etc.) are acceptable entries to the festival and must be considered on a similar basis, with the best production being the one most fully realizing the intent of the material and the concept for the show. 

Design and technical competence is to be given consideration as to its effectiveness as an integral part of the total production experience. Each company has a free choice of material (a one-act, a cutting, a selected act, etc.).   Adjudicators may not question the choice, except as to its appropriateness for the company, and comment only on how it was performed.

AACTFest 2015 National Adjudicators

The 2015 National AACTFest will host three experienced and nationally known adjudicators, with an equally qualified alternate in the wings, if needed. Their comments on productions will be a learning experience for all participating, from company members to the audience.  

Genevieve Aichele is the co-founder and artistic director of New Hampshire Theatre Project in Portsmouth, NH, and has performed, directed, and taught theatre arts both nationally and internationally for over 35 years. She currently teaches strategic storytelling, public speaking, and community leadership at the University of New Hampshire, and works as a freelance teaching artist, coach and adjudicator. Recent professional acting credits include Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit, Grace in Faith Healer, and Sister Aloysius in Doubt.  Recent directing credits include Waiting for Godot, Twelfth Night, Amadeus, Antigone, Hamlet, Mother Courage & Her Children, Clara’s Dream: A Jazz Nutcracker, and A Shaker Sisters Entertainment.  As a playwright, Genevieve has written numerous story theatre scripts for young people, as well as Neighborhoods (an oral history play about Portsmouth for which she won a Spotlight Community Arts Award in 2001); an original adaptation of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata; Finding the Prince (an exploration of The Little Prince interwoven with oral histories from military vets); and Dreaming Again (a play about immigration commissioned by the New Hampshire Humanities Council in 2011 which toured throughout the state). Genevieve also performs with musician/composer Randy Armstrong in World Tales; their two CD’s have received multiple national and international awards.  She has received the 2001 New Hampshire Governors Award for Excellence in Arts in Education, the 2008 New Hampshire Theatre Award for her work with youth, and the 2002 Outstanding Achievement in American Theatre Award from the New England Theatre Conference.   

James Sohre holds a BA in Applied Music (Vocal Performance) from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and a MA in Theatre from Tulsa University. He recently completed a 40-year (civilian) career in Army Entertainment including the positions of Command Entertainment Director in California, New Jersey, and Germany. He received the first annual James T. Martin award for individual achievement in Army Entertainment, has been named MWR World-Wide Career Employee of the Year, received the Achievement Medal for Civilian Service, and was honored with the Army White Plume Award, the highest possible Morale, Welfare, and Recreation accolade. He is an AACT Fellow and recipient of the Distinguished Merit Award for “promotion and development of the highest standards for community theatre” from AACT. He travels extensively throughout the world and writes reviews for the acclaimed internationally known on-line magazine Opera Today. He has directed and music-directed over 150 productions, perhaps most notably the American community theatre premiere of Les Miserables (2001).  He has adjudicated widely, including Yakumo, Japan; Liverpool, Nova Scotia; and at AACT’s International Festival in Midland, Texas. Jim recently directed an evening of staged and costumed arias and scenes, "A Passion for Puccini" for Opera Las Vegas in the Smith Center, the city's premiere performing arts venue, and currently serves on the adjudication panel for the area's Valley Theatre Awards.

John W. Viars has been executive director of the Des Moines Playhouse since 1982 and is a past president of the American Association of Community Theatre. He is a charter member of the Professional Community Theatre Directors Conference and has facilitated many of its meetings. John was national chair of AACT’s first-ever International Community Theatre Festival held at the Des Moines Playhouse in 1990. He has served as a member of advisory panels for the Iowa Arts Council and Nebraska Arts Council.  He is a frequent workshop leader, adjudicator, and writes reviews and articles for local publications. Employed professionally in community and educational theatre for nearly 40 years, John has directed more than 150 productions. In March 1990, he received the Elinor Robson Award from the Council for International Understanding for "significant contributions to international understanding." He received the Mort Clark International Achievement Award from the American Association of Community Theatre in 2013. John holds a BA and MA in Theatre from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH.

Alternate Adjudicator
Jimmy Maize developed and assistant-directed the Broadway production of 33 Variations starring Jane Fonda, The TONY award-winning Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, and was the dramaturg for The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later, which debuted simultaneously in 150 theaters worldwide and was recently published by Random House. Writing/directing credits include his critically-acclaimed 100-actor adaptation of Spoon River Anthology, a punk-rock musical about Arthur Rimbaud entitled Burn The End, and a new work about famed conservationist John Muir entitled John Muir Wolf.  He is the recipient of the first annual Bailiwick Playwriting Award and David Nord Award for his interview-based play In One Room, which has been performed nationally.  Other writing credits include Between Life and Nowhere (Old Vic, London), In The Belly (Players Theater), and numerous adaptations.  Off-Broadway directing credits include The Tempest and Much Ado About Nothing at Classic Stage Company, and he is currently in development for an original Broadway musical that will debut in 2016. He has taught and adjudicated internationally, and is a long-standing member of Tectonic Theater Project, where he teaches Moment Work -- the company's technique for making new plays. Jimmy holds a MFA in Directing from Columbia University's School of the Arts.

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