In its more than 30-year history, TheatreWashington’s Helen Hayes Awards – the DC region’s annual awards ceremony for, and celebration of, professional theatre people and productions – is getting a much-needed makeover this year. With the help of Nouveau Productions, a DC-based production company TheatreWashington worked with for the last three years, they are bringing the party to DC’s newest and coolest destination: The Anthem at The District Wharf.
“The most exciting part of this year is the venue. The Anthem allows us to have the largest gathering of DC region theatre professionals that we’ve possibly ever had,” Liz O’Meara Goldberg, a PR Consultant for this year’s event, said.
In the past, the awards would be handed out at a theater and the afterparty held at a neighboring business. Now in a three-story venue with bars that offer food and drink options on every floor and houses several thousand seats, The Anthem allows TheatreWashington to have both the awards ceremony and afterparty in the same location to create a more fluid evening of fun.
“It’s a physical space that suits the occasion. Contemporary. Fun. So much energy! It brings a whole new vibe to the event,” Goldberg said.
Traditionally, a discounted industry ticket rate was only available to those artists who worked at or with one of the participating theatre companies, but Goldberg says another reason why the revamp occurred is to make the event more inclusive of the community it celebrates. Tickets are now accessible to all artists for the 2018 ceremony, rather than only those with connections, with a code acquired from TheatreWashington for the industry rate.
“We want to make it a party for everyone,” Goldberg said.
This year, DC theatre favorites Michael Bobbitt, Adventure Theatre MTC’s Artistic Director, and Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan, 2017 winner Best Lead Actress in a Play- Hayes Production, will emcee the awards portion. There are 258 Helen Hayes Award nominations–selected from 202 eligible productions from 64 theatres in 2017.
The 34th Annual Helen Hayes Awards will be on Monday, May 14 and the doors open at 5:30pm to allow attendees and nominees to get together, hang out, and experience the exciting new atmosphere created by the TheatreWashington team before the awards ceremony starts at 7:30pm. Tickets are available now on The Anthem website or via TheatreWashington’s website for artists looking for that industry rate.