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The New York Innovative Awards Committee is very proud of the work being produced Off-Off-Broadway and we look forward to recognizing the hardworking artists that make it happen. Every year we find ourselves wishing that we could recognize everyone who makes an impact on this community, but there are just too many worthy candidates! However, our mission is to highlight some of the individual achievements and successes, and that's where you (and your nomination) come in. The nomination form is your chance to sing the praises of the individual that you feel should be recognized. Each nomination form is read thoroughly by committee members who are part of the OOB/Indie theatre community.  They thoroughly review each nomination individually, and as a committee, before finalizing their votes.


Having reviewed many applications over the years, the Awards Committee members offer the following advice to help you provide the strongest nomination form possible.


  • Be aware of who the New York Innovative Awards are.

    • The NYIT Awards is dedicated to celebrating Off-Off-Broadway/Indie theatre, so our focus of these awards is to foster the theatrical community here in New York City. We have been producing the "IT Award Ceremony" for more than 15 years. The committee members are an eclectic and diverse group of people, all with a real knowledge of the Off-Off-Broadway landscape. They each have a personal interest and commitment to the OOB/Indie community. They are your colleagues, fellow producers and theatre artists.

    • Look at our past award recipients to get an idea about what we are looking for from an recipient.

    • The NYIT Awards are not grantors or funders, we're a panel of your peers. So we don't need grant-type language, we want to hear your  words and voice.

  • Answer each question as fully as possible. Don’t be modest! Be specific, detailed and persuasive.

  • Tailor your application specifically to the award - the Caffe Cino award is very different from the Artistic Achievement award. 

  • Be original!  The text that is right for a grant application may not result in a nomination that best addresses the aim of the IT Awards.

  • If you are unfamiliar with using Google forms, please know that it doesn't always automatically save your work.  We strongly recommend working on your nomination in another document, and then copy and pasting it into the form to prevent losing your work.

  • KEEP APPLYING. There are many interesting and worthy applicants that we would love to recognize, but we can only recognize a limited amount of artists per year. If the nominee is not selected one year, please don’t get discouraged - apply again. They may have been in the top three, and next year could be their turn!

  • If you have questions, please ask. We can be reached at





For the Caffe Cino Fellowship Award, the Committee is looking for a company with these four traits:

  1. Has a proven track record of producing quality Off-Off-Broadway/Indie theatre

  2. That contributes to the OOB/Indie theatre community in some way other than their productions

  3. Is dedicated to continuing to produce in the OOB/Indie theatre community

  4. Will benefit from the fellowship.

  • Make sure your nomination information addresses each of the above criteria.

  • Be original! Be as specific as possible when describing your work. Avoid clichés or overused grant terms whenever possible.

  • Bring out the personality of the company and highlight unique features of their work. Emphasize what distinguishes the company from other OOB/Indie companies. Sometimes it is a challenge to pinpoint what it is about their work that is distinct, however if you can tell us what makes them special, it will help set your nomination apart.

  • While the focus should be on their productions, take time to highlight other activities that the Company might be involved in.

  • Tell us how the company and/or its members are involved in, and contribute to, the OOB/Indie community. Individual accomplishments that have been fostered by the company can help show the company's mind-set.

  • Let us know how the company will use the money that is given as part of this award.  We encourage you to give us an idea of what your up-coming season will look like (you don’t need specific details like dates, but let us know what projects you are considering.) And tell us why you are excited about producing these projects.



For the Ellen Stewart Award, we are looking for individuals or organizations that have provided leadership or services for the Off-Off-Broadway/Indie theatre community at large. Originally named the 'Stewardship Award,' this award is meant to recognize people and organizations who have stood up to provide a service to the community, helping in ways beyond the presentation of productions. Look for ways that your nominee has either used their role as a theatre artist, or stepped beyond their role as a theater artist, to provide long-term, significant assistance to our community.

  • Be a cheerleader. Tell us how the nominee has helped you and/or others in the OOB/Indie community.

  • Give us examples of their leadership and how that has made an impact on OOB/Indie theatre and theatre artists.

  • Give us examples of the services they offer and how they affect the people working in OOB/Indie.

  • Give us the history of their work and highlight why it is important. How did they get started with this work, and how are they planning to continue it?

  • Give us a sense of how many people in the community are affected by/benefit from these services. (If they are a service organization, provide some statistics.)



The Artistic Achievement award is given to an individual who has made a significant ARTISTIC contribution to the Off-Off-Broadway/Indie community. The nominee’s achievements, past or present, should have a current influence on our community.

  • Tell us about the nominee's artistic journey, and how that journey grew within the OOB/Indie theatre landscape.

  • What makes this nominee's artistic work unique: do they have a singular vision that has grown and been elaborated on over years of working in OOB/Indie theatre? Or does their strength lie in telling disparate stories through the lens of a specific style?

  • How has the nominee's work impacted other artists within the OOB/Indie community?



This is a brand new award and it has been described in much detail on the "Nominate" page. However, here are a few thoughts on making a strong nomination.

  • This award is specific to our current time frame, and nominations should be written with this in mind. Nominees need to have made an impact in regards to the Covid pandemic and/or the fight against White Supremacy. The nature of the nominee's actions can be varied, but they should be related to one of these two things.

  • Think small and large. Nominees may have done something they would consider "small," like calling old cast mates periodically to check on them, that actually had a large impact on one person. Others may have started entire companies that helped artists globally. We want to hear about people from both ends of the spectrum.



This award is given to stage managers of eligible OOB/Indie theatre productions who managed the production for the vast majority of that production's timeline - from rehearsal to closing. While the work that all stage managers do for a show is admirable and critical, we are looking for those individuals who have gone above and beyond.

  • Tell us what your nominee did that made a difference to the production.

  • What characteristics of the production made it more challenging for the stage manager and how did they overcome them?

  • Consider the nominee's work with an eye toward their skills and their demeanor, how efficiently they did their work, and how their attitude impacted the artists involved with the production.