The Robert Finley Awards – New Rules and Regulations

The Robert Finley Awards – New Rules and Regulations

by November 21, 2017

Dear Members,

As you would be aware, the Independent Theatre Association of WA recently undertook a survey regarding the Finley Awards. The results of this survey were interpreted by a person independent of the committee and independent of undertaking any function in community theatre.

Summary of Results:


If there was a change to the ability to pay people and be eligible for the Finley Awards, Respondents indicated that there should be a cap introduced.

58% – Yes

41% – No

It was indicated that the cap should apply to all roles in putting a production together, and that the cap be set at $500.


If there was a change to the ability to pay people and be eligible for the Finley Awards, Respondents indicated that there should be a different category introduced.

66% – Yes

33% – No

Respondents stated that even though a cap was introduced there should still be a category

73% – Yes

26% – No


In the question of whether payment should make an entry ineligible for the awards, the Respondents indicated an equal split in the opinion.

Yes – 50%

No – 50%

Entry Fees:

Respondents indicated that an increase to Finley entry fees would not be supported if a different category was introduced.

Yes – 36%

No – 64%


Even more telling were the comments left by a majority of Respondents. These comments indicated that Respondents thought that community theatre should remain unpaid and that clubs would not seek to compete against other clubs who could afford to pay a participant. There was also concern from Respondents that it would make finding people to be involved more difficult as they would naturally be more attracted to clubs where they could be remunerated. Respondents also indicated that people were sometimes paid to lift the skill or provide development for participants.


The ITA committee under took lengthy discussions around the survey results and undertook research into how similar awards programs worked nationally and internationally.

Part of this discussion determined:

  • The ITA serves community theatre in its entirety and we must ensure that equality exists in the ITA working with members and the sector.
  • Survey results and comments indicated that people would prefer the Finley Awards to remain about volunteers and community theatre.
  • Staging a community theatre production is different to entering the Finley Awards.
  • In the first-place productions are staged for the audiences and members of a club, not for the sole purpose of entering the Finley Awards.

In response to the enquiries and the survey results, the Independent Theatre Association of WA has adopted the attached The Robert Finley Awards Rules and Regulations – Final. Many of the processes will remain the same but there has been a tightening of the rules and regulations. These rules and regulations indicate the effect of remuneration of participants and their eligibility for The Robert Finley Awards.

Please note that staging a community theatre production is different to entering the Finley Awards. We are not telling clubs they cannot pay people to get their productions up and running. The ITA is saying that certain rules apply for entering the Finley’s to allow this to be a fair playing field. In comparison, these rules are much more generous than other award programs for community both nationally and internationally.

Other notable changes:

  • The Finley entry year will run from the 1st December to the 30th In 2018, the transition year, the Finley year will run from 1st January to 30th November and then the new Finley year will take over. This change will make the process easier for clubs and adjudicators and will lessen the effect of an early award ceremony.
  • As the Box Office person in many clubs is not the same person every night, and may not be the person who is selling tickets prior to the show, a new adjudicator’s sign-in sheet has been introduced that will be signed by adjudicators when they attend a performance and that clubs will return to the ITA after the club’s production has finished.
  • The rules and regulations also define what an eligible production is and ask clubs to identify who they consider to be lead and supporting performers.
  • These new rules and regulations state that the payment of an individual means that the individual is ineligible for adjudication and in some cases, may affect the eligibility of the production for other awards. This is detailed in the document.

The new rules and regulations document is attached and I urge you and your club to read the document and become familiar with any new processes or procedures and the new rules and regulations. Entry fees will remain the same.  Entry forms and associated materials will be updated shortly. These new rules and regulations have been adopted to ensure The Robert Finley Awards is an equal playing field for all to be involved.


Kind Regards

Ryan Taaffe


Independent Theatre Association of WA (Inc.)