2017 Shuler Hensley Awards

Shuler Awards® 2021: Our Path Forward TOGETHER!

Even in this unprecedented time full of unforeseen challenges, TOGETHER we will meet our mission of “celebrating excellence in high school musical theatre.” 

In the interest of sharing updates with answers, sensitivity and transparency, we’re posting this additional information about this year’s Shuler Awards competition and our path forward for the weeks ahead. We’ve heard from many voicing messages of support and/or questions. Presented below are some of the most common inquiries received by our team, as well as answers for our path ahead. 

We invite you to please share additional questions, feedback and concerns via email to the ArtsBridge team at education@artsbridgega.org. 

Warm regards,

Jennifer D. Dobbs, Executive Director 


Frequently Asked Questions  (Updates as of October 8, 2020)


Q: Are the 2021 Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards® still taking place this year?

A: We are thrilled to announce that the 2021 Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards-aka The Shulers®-will be taking place in the spring of 2021. Due to an abundance of caution and consideration around COVID-19, the Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards® (including the full adjudication process) will, for this year only, be fully virtual. Our goal is to be live and in person again in 2022.


Q: Where do I register for the 2021 Shulers?

A: Participants will register through the online platform called Acceptd.


Q: What if I was not able to attend the pre-registration town hall? Can I watch a recording?

A: It is approx. 1 hour long. You can view it here: https://youtu.be/6cUuB6_xgXM


Q: Will the program be virtual from now on?

A: No. The virtual Shulers® is a direct response to COVID-19 precautions and is only for season 2020-2021. Our goal is to be live and in person for the 2021-2022 season, if that is feasible.


Q: When does the registration for the 2021 Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards® program open?

A: The registration will open on Monday, November 2, 2020 at 5pm and will remain open to the first 75 registrants. At that time, we will begin a waitlist.


Q: What is the earliest date that a school can register for the 2020-2021 Shulers program?

A: November 2, 2020 @ 5pm.


Q: Is there a cost to register for the Shulers®?

A: The registration cost is $200. We are happy to announce that we were able to keep the registration costs the same as last year without any increases.


Q: What does this $200 registration fee cover?

A: The registration fee covers the cost to use the online administrative platform Acceptd.


Q: What forms of payment can a participating Shuler school use to pay the $200 registration fee?

A: Credit card or check. 


Q: Are there any documents I can view to get more information about this year's program?

A: You can view the 2020-2021 Virtual Submission Guidelines here: 2020-2021 Virtual Submission Guidelines. 

B: You can view the 2020-2021 Virtual Category Criteria for Excellence here: 2020-2021 Category Criteria for Excellence


Q: Can a school submit a virtual package to the Shulers and then perform a full(er) version of the performance at a later date? 

A: Yes.  


Q: If a school submits a virtual portion of a musical this year does that disqualify that school from submitting with a fully realized live version of the same musical next year? 

A: No.


Q: Is a participating Shuler school allowed to edit songs and/or scenes in order to have them fit into the 30-45 minute Shuler Virtual Submission? 

A: As in previous years, a school must abide by the agreement that they have entered into with a given publishing house. This is a question that can only be answered by a musical’s publishing house, such as MTI, Disney, etc…


Q: Can a school use microphones or other basic technical support (used in being able to create better sound quality) for adjudicators to be able to better hear students?

A: Yes, a school may use basic technical support in order to increase the sound quality of a video. That being said, as stated in the 2020-2021 Virtual Submissions Guidelines  “no technology assisted creative enhancement programs, such as auto tune, is allowed.” Any technical support used must be disclosed by a director in their Director’s Application in Acceptd along with the context (resources, financial ability, covid restrictions, etc…) in which a school worked in order to create their performance. If you have questions about this please feel free to contact ArtsBridge at education@artsbridgega.org


Q: Can a school use more than one camera and/or switch angels to focus on different parts of the stage in order to capture the live musical performance? 

A: a) A school may use up to three cameras max in order to capture their live musical performance. The cameras should all be placed in stagnant still positions (ex: a primary center stage wide-shot camera, a stage left camera, and a stage right camera). It is ok if we see the other cameras in the shots. 

b) A school may switch angels to focus on different parts of the stage in order to capture their live musical theatre performance. 

c) That being said, as stated in the 2020-2021 Virtual Submissions Guidelines  The quality of the video production will not be a component of adjudication this year. We are not awarding based on videography. The Final Production Submission Video is an opportunity to capture live musical theatre performance and storytelling via zoom or another technical platform.” Additionally, no technology assisted creative enhancement, such as auto tune, is allowed. Any technical support used must be disclosed by a director in their Director’s Application along with the context (resources, financial ability, covid restrictions, etc…) in which a school worked in order to create their performance. If you have questions about this please feel free to contact ArtsBridge at education@artsbridgega.org


Q: Is a school allowed to submit a junior version or concert version (with choreography) of a show from the Jimmys Qualifying Shows List?



Q: If the show that my school would like to produce this year is not listed on the 2021 Jimmy’s Qualifying Roles and Show’s list is there anything that I, as a director, can do?

A: Yes. Working together with Angela Farr Schiller, the Director of Arts Education, you can fill out an official appeals form and request a new show submission to be added to the list. The Broadway League/Jimmy’s Appeals Review Committee meets once a quarter: November 1, 2020 and January 1, 2021 are the next two meetings. If a school would like to submit an appeal it is: 

a) HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that they submit an appeal for the November 1, 2020 meeting, any submission after this has a high chance of not being adjudicated in enough turn-around time for the March 1, 2021 Shuler virtual submission deadline, and 

b) contact Angela Farr Schiller at least a week (10/23) before the November 1, 2020 deadline. Contact Email: afarrschiller@artsbridgega.org with the header: Shuler Appeals Application


Q: When does a director need to select the acting roles for students to be considered for the five adjudicated performance areas?

A: A director will submit their selections for the five adjudicated performance categories as a part of completing their Director’s Application in Acceptd. The deadline to complete the Director’s Application is  March 1, 2021.


Q: Please define "a student in your program.”

A: “A student in your program” is defined as a currently registered and in good standing 9-12th grader from a participating Georgia high school.


Q: Can a participating Shuler theatre program collaborate with the Audio/Visual or Orchestra/Band students in their school in order to complete their virtual submission?

A: Yes. As long the school is compliant in all areas of the 2020-2021 Virtual Submission Guidelines. 


Q: Are there additional resources that might be helpful as I think through this process?

A: Yes. You are not alone. There are a lot of online resources if you search “how to produce a play on zoom.” Nevertheless, here is a place to start:

    1. Disney has updated information about streaming their productions. 
    2. MTI has updated information about streaming their productions.
    3. New York Times Article: How to use zoom like a theatre or film professional.
    4. Playwrights Centre Video Tutorial for Using Zoom for Theatre
    5. Educational Theatre Association’s Resources for Creating Virtual Performances
    6. How to Direct an Online Rehearsal for a Youth Zoom Theatre Performance from the Improved Shakespeare Co. There is even an example of their production of As You Like It. 


Q: Can I, as a director, and my team set up a time to ask further questions with an ArtsBridge staff member about the 2020-2021 Shulers?

A: Yes, a director and their team may set up a 30 minute session with our Director of Arts Education, Angela Farr Schiller, in order to talk further and in more detail about the 2020-2021 Shulers. You can request a session via email at education@artsbridgega.org


And finally, love what we’re doing? Learn more about how to support ArtsBridge Foundation and the Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards - Shuler Hensley Awards® at ArtsBridgeGA.org/get-involved/


Q: What are the Shuler Hensley Awards/Shuler Awards®? 

A: Presented as the Shuler Hensley Awards® and known as “The Shuler Awards®” or “Shulers®,” the education program is named for the Atlanta-born star of the stage and screen who typically emcees an annual ceremony in the tradition of the Tony Awards®.  Nominees and winners are recognized as the best of the state’s high school musical theatre students and schools of the academic year, with two winners—best actress and actor—typically progressing to represent Georgia nationally in New York in June. However, the Jimmy Awards® will be completely virtual this year. Like the Jimmy Awards®, the 2020-2021 Shuler Awards® adjudication process and ceremony will be completely virtual. Due to the Shuler Awards® being reimagined as a fully virtual production, the awards broadcast will be held in May. 

Q: What are the competition categories?

A: Fashioned after Broadway’s Tony Awards®, this year’s Shuler Award® high schools and their students will competed in various categories. The main objectives of the program are to increase awareness, advocacy and support for Georgia’s arts education programs, to develop and foster growing talent by providing learning and performance opportunities, and cultivating/nurturing productive relationships among Georgia’s promising thespians and educators. The Shuler Award® categories include direction, music direction, orchestra, choreography, featured performer, ensemble, overall production, scenic design, costumes, and best performances by a leading actress, actor, supporting actress or supporting actor.

Q: Who are the sponsors?

A: Sponsors of the Shuler Awards® have included the Atlanta Braves Foundation, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Delta Community Credit Union, Deloitte, John & Mary Franklin Foundation, Georgia Lottery, Jimmy and Helen Carlos, Shan Cooper and Tyler Perry Studios. A full list of sponsors is available online at ArtsBridgeGA.org/our-supporters/partnerships. We are thankful for the generosity of our financial supporters who recognize the importance and educational value of the Shuler Awards® program. Additional corporate donations or private contributions to the Shuler Awards® are appreciated and may be submitted online at ArtsBridgeGA.org/get-involved/donate.

Q: What is ArtsBridge Foundation?

A: ArtsBridge Foundation is dedicated to providing quality arts education and community programs that engage, motivate, inspire, and elevate the next generation of artists and arts supporters. ArtsBridge provides arts education opportunities to K-12 students through programs at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, including field trips, professional development, family programs, and the annual Shuler Awards®. Since 2007, ArtsBridge has served more than 410,000 students and educators from 67 Georgia counties, plus students from five bordering states. ArtsBridge Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. ArtsBridge Foundation and GPB-TV’s live broadcast of The Shulers® won the Southeast Emmy® Award in 2018, 2019 and 2020 for special event live coverage, indicative of the superb quality and high production value Georgia students bring at show time. To learn more visit ArtsBridgeGA.org. 


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