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ArlingtonNewsCommunity-theater association plans renaissance in 2022

Community-theater association plans renaissance in 2022

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Community-theater troupes across the Washington area next month might get a better idea of when they can expect reviewers from a regional awards program to be back in the audience.

The board of the non-profit Washington Area Theatre Community Honors (WATCH) program is slated to meet Jan. 16, and already has announced that it plans to resume adjudication of theater productions in the new year.
“We are excited to have our judges return to doing what they love – watching local theater with a critical eye,” said T.J. Lukacsina, who chairs the WATCH board.

A number of community-theater organizations have restarted productions; Dominion Stage, which performs in Arlington, already has two autumn shows under its belt. More troupes are expected to ramp up productions in coming months.

The first WATCH awards were presented in 2001, representing shows adjudicated the previous year. The most recent awards were bestowed “virtually” in April 2020 for the 2019 calendar year; there were no awards presented for the three-month period in 2020 that came before COVID shut down local theater.


In 2019, 28 theater troupes from Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia competed for awards, with a total of 101 productions (61 plays, 40 musicals) rated by judges. Silver Spring Stage and the Reston Community Players tied with the most statuettes, winning 25 awards apiece.

The WATCH awards are the community-theater equivalent to the Helen Hayes Awards, a competition among D.C.-region professional theater organizations.

The 36th annual Helen Hayes Awards were presented in September 2020 in an online format, lauding works adjudicated before the pandemic hit.

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