Frequently Asked Questions- Ray of Light Awards

Q: How are the Adjudicators selected?

A: Several judges are members of the Community Theatre League. Other judges were selected through an application process based on their theatre, music, dance, or drama experience. None of the adult judges were involved with any of the participating productions. All adjudicators must attend training annually.


Q: How many judges attended each show?

A: A minimum of 7 adult adjudicators attended each production.

Q: In what areas are the students and productions being judged?

A: Students are judged in the areas of acting, vocal ability, dance ability, sense of character, and blocking and movement.
The productions are scored in the areas of singing (musicals only--projection, intonation, tone/style, and range), choreography (musicals only--execution, energy, use of surroundings, style, consistency), ensemble (movement, projection, energy), overall acting (sense of character, execution of blocking, pacing/energy, vocal projection, vocal inflection, interaction, focus), and overall production quality (execution, acting, singing, dancing, energy)

Q: What are the scoring criteria?

A: A rubric was designed to help adjudicators score the Ray of Light Awards and to be as objective as possible. The rubric is below
10 Performer/group is very professional, Broadway or Equity® caliber
9 Near perfect performance. Approaching professional theatre quality
8 Excellent performance for HS
7 Very strong performer/group
6 Better than average performance for HS
5 Average high school performer/production
4 Good performance but with some difficulties
3 Performer/group lacks polish. Shows potential but appears to need more rehearsal
2 Performer/group is in over their heads. Material may be too difficult for their abilities
1 Performer/group is grossly unprepared and should consider seeking serious instruction before continuing

The "Actor Score" is the cumulative average of each performance area for selected performers.
"Overall Production Scores" are the cumulative averages in the areas of Singing (Musicals Only), Choreography Execution (Musicals Only), Ensemble (Musicals Only), Overall Acting, and Overall Production Quality.

Finally, the "Actor Score" of each judged performer and the "Overall Production Scores" are averaged to arrive at a school's "Final Score."
The scores are tabulated by CTL’s Administrative Manager and audited by an additional member of the adjudication team.

Q: How are the nominations determined?

A: The top scores in each category are assessed with a minimum of 3 nominees. All performers scoring over 6 will also be nominated.

Q: What if there is a tie?

A: Averages are rounded to the 100th. In the event that the top two finishers in any category are within 3 hundreds of a point difference, the adjudicators who attended the shows in question are polled for first and second place.

Q: What do the winners win?

A: Each student winner will receive a $50 honorarium and a trophy. The winners of Best Play, Best Small-Scale Musical, and Best Large-Scale Musical will win a trophy and a $500 honorarium to be paid directly to the schools drama program. Schools who present both a musical and play are eligible for the Ray Phillips Memorial Trophy for Best Drama Program, where the schools musical final score and play final score are averaged together.

Q: What are the “Honorable Mentions”?

A: Occasionally, the adjudicators notice special elements of a production that they feel earn recognition (i.e. an efficient stage crew, student involvement in the production staff, school spirit). These awards are totally subjective and arbitrary and have no monetary reward.

Q: Who is invited to the VIP Reception?

A:Directors of the productions and up to 5 members of their production staff, participants in the school productions, presenters, invited donors, invited dignitaries.

Q: What are the Ray of Light Awards' position on competition?

A: Some have expressed concern over the competitive aspect of the Ray of Light Awards.

There are few endeavors as fraught with competition and rejection as theatre. At any given time, more than 90% of Actors’ Equity (the actors’ union) are not employed in theatre. That’s a lot of competition and rejection.

Auditions in high schools, colleges, community theatres, and professional theatres are competitive by their very nature. Just as the director’s job is a subjective one, so are the judges’. Directors make judgments according to their own personal criteria as to who is better suited to a role, and as a result, some students are inevitably disappointed. Even at high schools where everyone who shows up to audition is cast in the show, not everybody gets to play a lead or even have a speaking role.

One Teacher/Director commented, “We are not serving our students’ educational process if we do not acknowledge this fact at the outset. It is our obligation as the teacher to proactively create the framework to help them deal with these inevitable disappointments in life in a positive manner, whether it is not being cast in a role or not being selected for an award.”

Our mission is to recognize student achievement, not to undermine it.