About The New York Innovative Theatre Awards

The New York Innovative Theatre Foundation is a not-for-profit organization recognizing the great work of New York City's Off-Off-Broadway/Independent theatre artists, honoring its artistic heritage, and providing a meeting ground for this extensive and richly varied community. The organization, co-directed by Cat Parker, Akia Squitieri and Jazmyn Arroyo, advocates for OOB/Indie theatre and recognizes the unique and essential role it plays in contributing to NYC, American and global theatrical cultures. They believe that publicly recognizing excellence in this sector will expand audience awareness and foster greater appreciation of the New York theatre experience.

The Selection Process

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

The Awards process includes production and Honorary awards, and involves all levels of the New York City theatre community. Here's how our selection process works:

Judging Pool: Artists from all levels of Off-Off-Broadway/Independent 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.

Honorary Awards Committee: Theatre artists and professionals determine the recipients of the Honorary  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. 

Typically our "season" runs from June 1 through May 31 each year. Nominees are typically announced in July, and recipients are typically announced in September at the Awards ceremony, where the organization and the OOB/Indie theatre  community are invited to gather to honor the most extraordinary work of the theater season. NOTE: Due to the pandemic, the production awards will not be presented in 2021, but our Honorary awards will be!

The NYIT 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

Jazmyn Arroyo (she/her) is a Co-Founding Artistic Director of Step1 Theatre Project, based in NYC. Jazmyn graduated from the Rutgers-NJIT Theatre Program in Newark, NJ with a focus on acting. When she realized many of the available acting roles did not resonate with her, she dedicated her career toward creating a platform for underrepresented artists to tell their own stories. Jazmyn is primarily a producer with the occasional return to acting. She is a proud Puerto Rican woman originally from Paterson, NJ. Her lived experience has fueled her passion for creating a more equitable theatre landscape with a focus on anti-racism and anti-oppression. This is her first full year as part of the New York Innovative Theatre Awards leadership, and is extremely grateful for Akia & Cat for their support!

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

Bio coming soon!


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 Outstanding Stage Management Award

  • The Caffe Cino Fellowship

  • ​The Indie Theatre Champion Award

  • The Ellen Stewart Award

  • The Artistic Achievement Award

  • The Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award

Please see our NOMINATE page!

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