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2014 Helen Hayes Awards Move to National Building Museum in D.C.

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2014 Helen Hayes Awards Move to National Building Museum in D.C.

theatreWashington announced that on the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of The Helen Hayes Awards this spring, the celebration will be held at the historic National Building Museum.

For 29 years, The Helen Hayes Awards has been one of the most prestigious cultural awards in the country, honoring artistic excellence in Washington professional theatre - a community that includes more than 80 professional theatre companies, thousands of artists and professionals, and more than 2 million audience members every year.

The Awards have previously been presented at The National Theatre, The Kennedy Center, and since 2005 at The Warner Theater, with the Ovation Gala following at the J.W. Marriott Hotel.

theatreWashington President & CEO Linda Levy explained that the change was made for three reasons. "Last summer we held a town hall to envision the Helen Hayes Awards into the future. Our stakeholders clearly shared the desire for the community to be together in a more interactive way. We also have long been looking for a way to include audience members for a reasonable ticket price. And this year, as the Awards turn 30, we wanted to try something that's never been tried before. This new model makes all of that possible."

In addition to revising the tried and true Helen Hayes Awards model that has been used for the previous 29 years, the production team (which includes Producer and Designer Daniel MacLean Wagner, Director Jerry Whiddon, and writer Renee Carlarco) is taking the whole awards concept and turning it on its ear.

Jeff Davis, Executive Producer of this Awards presentation adds "We have a blank canvas and can make the Awards be anything. With so much new media and technology available to us, we're going to have a lot of fun with it." Specifically, the new format will be a mash-up of some cherished Awards traditions (showcasing the talents of Washington area artists, The Helen Hayes Tribute, The John Aniello Award, and The Washington Post Award), with many unexpected surprises.

The Awards party will begin at 7:00 when guests can immediately enjoy buffets and open bars throughout the evening. At approximately 7:30, Awards will be presented from two stages in three acts with mingling and merriment mixed in. Six large screens will be positioned throughout the breathtaking space so all guests - even while moving about, interacting with each other, and enjoying great food and drink - will have a front row seat from wherever they are.

Levy adds, "What's really distinctive about this year's Awards is that - like no other time and in no other way -- theatre makers and theatre lovers can celebrate side by side. The art, the work, and its extraordinary importance to our community can all be together."

This change is at once in line with many other recent organizational developments: In September 2013, longtime theatreWashington Board Chairman Victor Shargai passed the gavel to Kurt Crowl. In October, the restructured Helen Hayes Awards adjudication process was revealed, (the new process began January 1, 2014 for work that will be honored in 2015) and in December 2013, theatreWork - the organization's hiring website for actors and artists - was launched.

For more information about the Awards, visit www.theatrewashington.org or call 202-337-4572.

About theatreWashington: theatreWashington is the only organization dedicated solely to promoting, representing, and supporting all segments of Washington's professional theatre community-theatres, artists, company members, and audiences of all ages-and our community as a whole.

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