#TONYCANYOUHEARME - Bring Back the Sound Design Awards
Wednesday // January 13, 2016
Imagine going to a show expecting a full production, only to be met by silence. No voices, no music, no sound effects – just silence. Of course the acting, costumes, lights, and stage design would all be amazing, but would the full experience be as enjoyable? I would think not – Sound design is an integral part of a show’s experience and artistry.
So this begs the question – why would sound design not be recognized for its excellence in the same way as scenery and lighting design?
Back in June 2014, the Tony Award Administration Committee decided to remove the categories of Best Sound Design of a Play and Best Sound Design of a Musical from their awards roster, starting in the 2014-2015 season. Their decision was met with backlash all throughout the theatre community.
When the categories were first introduced in 2008, Howard Sherman spoke on behalf of the American Theatre Wing stating, “This is not an award for placing a microphone somewhere. It’s about the creation of an aural environment that impacts our relationship to a production, just like any other design.”
Since the award for Sound Design was introduced back in 2008, sound design has evolved dramatically – and not just in the theatre community. It is an essential element to any production, and involves a great deal of skill and creativity. Sound Designers are an important part of a production team and their contributions cannot be ignored or dismissed.
In response to the Committee’s decision, sound designer John Gromada (nominated for a Tony Award for Best Sound Design of a Play in 2013) started an online petition to reverse the ruling. Unfortunately, this petition ended just shy of the 35,000 signatures needed on December 31st, 2015.
To date, many advocates are still trying to over rule this poor decision, and have been showing their support on social media by including the campaign name #tonycanyouhearme. Let’s hope 2016 will be the year recognition served once again. Help spread the word.