Judges of Dunedin’s best theatre call in virtual help

The Star, 6 December 2012

By Brenda Harwood

Using the “1000minds” decision-making technology in the Dunedin Theatre Awards judging process has resulted in some exciting final nominations, which were announced this week.

PLanDevents director Patrick Davies, who co-ordinated the awards, is “thrilled” the process has resulted in a wider variance in the nominations than ever before.

“Previously, a large number of panel members would get to see a particular variety of shows, which led to less of a range,” Mr Davies said.

“This process means that people’s opinions matter over a wider range of productions.”

Developed by Associate Professor Paul Hansen, of the University of Otago economics department, 1000minds is an online decision-making program, which is used by a wide variety of multinational companies.

“This is a test case and applying the software in the arts is new territory,” Prof Hansen said.

“But, decisions are the same, whether in the sciences or in the arts. It’s the same as any decision. It’s about the criteria, the weight and the alternatives.”

With professional and amateur theatre represented along with musical theatre and opera, this year’s Dunedin Theatre Awards would highlight the “wonderful depth of talent” in the city, he said.

The list of entries that were put in front of the judging panel included an impressive 58 productions for the year — and that list did not include every show that had been staged.

The nominations for the Dunedin Theatre Awards cover a range of categories, including technical and scenographic design, promotion, visiting production, script of the year, male and female performer of the year, director of the year and production of the year.

The nominees in the production of the year category are Calendar Girls (Fortune Theatre), In the Next Room (Fortune Theatre), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Musical Theatre Dunedin), Play (Fortune Theatre) and The Marriage of Figaro (Opera Otago).

The response to the call for nominations for special awards had been impressive, with dozens of well-thought-out nominations received. Panel members would meet this weekend to discuss the special awards — ranging from emerging talent to a lifetime achievement award.

The Dunedin Theatre Awards winners will be announced during an evening of celebration on Monday at the Mayfair Theatre. Doors open at 6.45pm and entry costs $5.

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