About The New York Innovative Theatre Foundation

The New York Innovative Theatre Foundation was created to bring recognition to the great work being done in New York City's Off-Off-Broadway, to honor its artistic heritage, and to provide a meeting ground for this extensive community. The organization advocates for Off-Off-Broadway and recognizes the unique and essential role it plays in contributing to American and global culture. We believe that publicly recognizing excellence in Off-Off-Broadway will expand audience awareness and appreciation of the full New York theatre experience.

The Innovative Theatre Awards is a not-for-profit arts organization supporting the Off-Off-Broadway community by celebrating and recognizing extraordinary Off-Off-Broadway theatre, strengthening the community and collective identity of Off-Off-Broadway, honoring our artistic heritage, and advancing public interest in and understanding of the theatrical arts. We recognize some of the best work being done by the estimated 40,000 artists working in Off-Off-Broadway each year.

The Selection Process

Want to get involved in the selection process? Find out how to join this year's judging pool here!

The IT Awards’ process involves all levels of the New York theatre community. Here's how our selection process works:

Judging Pool: Artists from all levels of Off-Off-Broadway theatre, as well as professionals from the New York theatre and entertainment community at large, evaluate productions throughout the season. Three registered judges are selected at random for each eligible show.

Volunteers: Members of our community, along with business professionals who give their time and resources to support the New York Innovative Theatre Awards. 

Audience Participation: Audience members have a voice, too. They can log on and offer their scores for theatre they see. The audience vote counts as the final 25% of each eligible show's score.

Awards Committee: Artistic directors and theatre professionals determine the recipients of the Honorary IT Awards. Learn more about the Honorary Awards here.

Category Selection: Producers of each eligible show select the categories they would like to be considered for upon registration. Each year, the artists or productions with the top scores in each category are honored as the Nominees. 

Our "seasons" run from June 1 through May 31 each year. Nominees are typically announced in July, and recipients are typically announced in September at the IT Awards ceremony, where the organization and the Off-Off-Broadway  community are invited to gather in honoring the most extraordinary work of the theater season. 

The IT Awards Staff
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Executive Director

Akia Squiteri is an award-winning Producer, Stage Director & Arts Administrator.  She is the Founding Artistic Director of Rising Sun Performance Company.  She began as the Company Manager for NYITA, and has been a lead producer on all of their live events since its founding. Akia also served as the Company Manager for the international sensation, Blue Man Group at the Astor Place Theater for over 10 years.  Past notable credits include working on staff at Horse Trade Theatre Group, serving as General Manager for FRIGID New York’s inaugural year, as Production Coordinator for nationally acclaimed Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, overseeing the playwright’s unit and INSIGHT 13 production series.  She has also worked with The Play Co, Drunk Shakespeare, Dance Entropy, Planet Connections Theatre Festival, Josh Prince’s Broadway Dance Lab and Form Theatricals. She is a recipient of the New York Innovative Theatre Awards “Founders Award” for her contributions to the organization and the Off-Off Broadway Community and has received multiple nominations and awards from Planet Connections Theatre Festival and Frigid Festival for her directing work. In the traditional business sector, she has worked with Pfizer, EMI Records, Conde’ Nast Publications, EFT Group, Barnes & Nobles and others.  She is an Alumni of the Commercial Theatre Institute, and has been a speaker, panelist and guest lecturer for CTI, Actors Equity Association, Ramapo College, Theatre Resources Unlimited, New York University, Horse Trade Theatre Group, FRIGID Festival, Theatre Communications Group National Conferences and the National Action Network.
You can learn more about her work here at www.akiasquitieri.com and www.risingsunnyc.com 

Reach out to Akia at akia@nyitawards.com.

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Executive Director

A brief bio goes here. Reach out to Jazmyn at jazmyn@nyitawards.com.


Executive Director

Cat is the artistic director of Articulate Theatre Company, an ensemble driven organization based in NYC.  She has worked with the NYIT for many years, especially as part of the Honorary Awards Committee. Cat is a CTI 14-Week graduate, a member of the Indie Theatre Hall of Fame and a Planet Connection's outstanding director award winner.  Reach out to Cat at cat@nyitawards.com.


Founding Board Member

Shay Gines graduated from the Actors Training Program at the University of Utah. Since then she has done everything from spackling walls at the Pasadena Playhouse and running follow-spot for the Pioneer Theatre Company to serving as the Artist in Residence for Touchstone Theatre. She has performed in theatres of all sizes from 30 seats to 1,000 across the country, from L.A. to NYC. She is an award winning producer whose Off and Off-Off-Broadway shows include: Home Again Home Again Jiggity Jig, What the F**k?!, Hamlet and Muse of Fire. Shay has served as the Producing Director for Esperance Theatre Company, half of the producing team for Theatrical Fair and Associate Director of Emerging Artists Theatre Company.


Founding Board Member

Currently serves as the Community and Performing Arts Manager for the Utah Division of Arts and Museums. In this role he has overseen the state’s Performing Arts program, launched and produced the annual statewide arts conference (The Mountain West Arts Conference), and has facilitated and managed the Change Leader Program which received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in May 2018. Jason is a graduate of the University of Utah’s Actors Training Program and spent many years working as a professional actor in New York and at theatres across the country such as The Guthrie Theatre, McCarter Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre, and many more. After acting for many years he moved his attention to directing and producing. Jason is one of the Co-Founders of the Innovative Theatre Foundation (the IT Awards) a community building foundation for New York’s Off-Off-Broadway.

The Honorary Awards Committee

For more information about our Honorary Awards, including:

  • The Stage Manager Award

  • Caffe Cino Fellowship

  • ​Ellen Stewart Award

  • The Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award

Please see our NOMINATE page!

A full list of the 2020 Honorary Awards Committee will be posted soon.

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