Yeah, I hadn’t heard of them, either, but apparently ATAC is the Alamo Theatre Arts Council, a non-profit founded in 1990 to recognize, support, and stimulate San Antonio theater and the artists therein. Founders included Jasmina Wellinghoff of the San Antonio Express-News, former SAEN arts writer Dan Goddard, Brooks Hill, Professor of Theatre Arts at Trinity University, and UTSA Professor of English and former dean Alan Craven — author, also, of the University’s alma-mater song, “Hail UTSA.” The first Globe Awards were held in 1991 and judged by “the three San Antonio theater critics.”
I have no idea how many theater critics San Anto currently boasts (I think it’s maybe seven, counting me?), but subsequent judges have been recruited “continuously” — nominated by former judges, drawn from “producing theaters, and the theater-going community at large,” and selected by the (unpaid, ATAC’s website wants you to know) Board of Directors. In the year 2000, the sole-winner model was done away with, and a huge cadre of performers/directors/designers etc. are now recognized for a nebulous general excellence, perhaps in order to avoid hurt feelings.
“`The old model` caused huge, huge dissension in the theater community,” says current ATAC Board President Tom Masinter, who wasn’t around at the time. So, the organization switched from a Tony Award model to one based on the off-Broadway Obies.
So everybody wins! Unless you’re a swinging Buddha or struggling ninja at the Overtime Theater, which only submitted one (unrecognized) production last year, because says Jon Gillespie, “so much of our work is new and produced with limited resources (with all the assets and flaws that new works usually entail), our shows wouldn’t get a ‘fair shake’ in the same categories with the larger, more established, university- and community center-based shows.” If the Globes had categories for new and original productions, he says, they might participate more.
The sad absence of ninjas (and the near-incomprehensible snubbing of Gloria Sanchez — for next year’s awards, a judge, along with her father) are lamentable, but the current ATAC Board features some mighty smart and talented folk, including Beth Delcampo, currently starring in San Pedro’s Evita, and Tim Hedgepeth, director of this spring’s wonderful (and unrecognized) The Goat or Who is Sylvia? and this summer’s The History Boys (and, voila! They’re also judges). We think ATAC has the chops for a redemption arc, rather than a retreat (sorry).