The Lucille Lortel Awards, presented annually by the Off-Broadway League and the Lucille Lortel Theatre, have adjusted eligibility rules for the annual Off-Broadway honors, reducing the minimum seating capacity requirement from 100 to 76. The shift could see more productions eligible for the awards this coming year.
The change was born of a desire to make the awards more inclusive, and was made following meetings between artistic leaders from theatres of color and historically marginalized communities.
"The Off-Broadway community acknowledges that access to larger theatre spaces has served as an impediment to smaller companies and especially companies of color from participating fully in the Lortel Awards program," explains Lucille Lortel Theatre Executive Director George Forbes in a statement. "That loss of opportunity has had a negative impact on those smaller companies from having their work recognized, promoted, and supported by a wider group of funders and audiences. It is our sincere hope that this adjustment will allow more artists of color to have their work acknowledged and celebrated."
"The Off-Broadway Community has always been a diverse group of artists and theatre professionals and we hope to continue to increase representation and recognition through this change," adds Off-Broadway League President Casey York. "We're proud to expand access to our organization and to the Lortel Awards. We acknowledge that this is only a first step in trying to right decades of wrongs and we want the community of NYC theatre artists to know that we are here to listen to their concerns and continue to improve our record on this issue."
Off-Broadway League membership and use of the League's union agreements are still required for productions to be eligible for the Lortel Awards. Producers should contact the Off-Broadway League if they have any further eligibility questions.