Fairer theatre awards object of using matrix

Otago Daily Times, Wednesday 7 November 2012

By Nigel Benson

The 2012 Dunedin Theatre Awards will enlist the power of 1000 minds.

The awards were introduced three years ago to celebrate “theatrical excellence”, but have attracted criticism in previous years for not being inclusive of all performing art forms and productions.

“I wanted to make the awards more inclusive and fairer and had been looking at how it was done overseas in things like the Academy Awards,” awards founder Patrick Davies said.

“But it turned out that the answer was much closer to home.”

Mr Davies discussed his problem with University of Otago associate professor of economics Dr Paul Hansen, partner of Dunedin writer Lisa Scott.

“Paul said, ‘I think I might have the answer for you’,” he recalled.

A decision-making matrix developed by Dr Hansen, 1000minds, had previously been adopted by clients including Boeing, Dairy New Zealand and international universities.

“The Ministry of Health has used it since 2004 for prioritizing patients for elective surgery. It is also being used by a Christchurch construction company to prioritize the earthquake rebuild,” Dr Hansen said this week.

“It's been used on hard science subjects and I thought it was an opportunity to use it on the arts. It will level out the playing field in a scientifically valid way.

“It cuts across the various art forms and figures out the weights for criteria for the awards. The weight that the judges put on criteria is then ranked from first to last,” he said.

The matrix would revolutionise how the award winners were selected, Mr Davies said.

Special awards would also be introduced this year for emerging talent, industry support, outstanding contribution to Dunedin theatre and for lifetime achievement, Mr Davies said.

The awards will be held at 7.30pm on December 10 at the Mayfair Theatre.

Source URL: www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/233621/fairer-theatre-awards-object-using-matrix