Rick Pender reports that CityBeat's Cincinnati Entertainment Awards for Theater will join forces with the Enquirer sponsored Acclaim Awards. The Acclaims will go forward with Pender and Jackie Demaline serving on the organization's Executive Committee. This year's CEAs will be the last. Next May's Acclaims will be changed to include public voting awards. More details on the merger likely will come out over time, but hopefully the Acclaims process will be updated overall.
I'm disappointed that we can't sustain both awards programs, but the decline in support for arts in the local (and national) media I believe has forced this move. The biggest theatre production that lose out will be the Cincinnati Fringe Festival, which this past year did not get any acclaim awards, so stand to not get any nominations next year. The Enquirer gave limited coverage of the event and it wasn't clear how many Acclaim representatives were at the festival in an official capacity. Hopefully, that can be remedied inside the organization. Having an alternative category is critical to preserving part of the CEA's superior structure.
I am going to be sure to head to this Sunday's last CEA event at the Know Theatre. I hope all Cincinnati Theatre fans come out and say farewell to this awards program which has provided strong support for local theatre.