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Strategic Plan . . .

While eliminating the awards was not the direction chosen; there was consensus that there was much more the organization could do to support theaters in the Valley of the Sun.  It was decided that the organization needed to transition from an one that just produces an award ceremony each year to one that provides meaningful support for the safety, visibility and growth of theater throughout the state of Arizona.

Here are notes from that meeting:

SWOT Analysis  - 1 Hour (small group breakouts) 11:45 – 12:45


  1. In relation to the mission/vision and survey results what are our:

                                                               i.      Strengths

                                                             ii.      Weaknesses

                                                           iii.      Opportunities

                                                           iv.      Threats



  • Variety of theatres involved and participating

  • Opportunity to be seen by a variety of other theatres and groups (adjudicators)

  • Strong community

  • Foundation for networking with other theatres

  • Resource for theatre news, posting audition notices, show dates, etc.

  • Collaboration possibilities

  • Awards for adult and youth

  • Every theatre is welcome

  • Award Excellence

  • Brings together theatres of different artistic goals

  • Helps identify strong productions

  • Opens Discussion

  • Allows for networking and increased opportunities for meeting new people

  • Brings together people with same titles

  • Gives hope to nominees

  • Opens doors for new relationships to form

  • Get to see sample of a lot of theatre’s work being an adjudicator

  • Quality ceremony

  • Strong volunteer

  • Collaborative community

  • Resource for theatre news and opportunity

  • Online adjudication

  • Rubrics

  • Quality training

  • Qualified adjudicators - experienced 

  • Centralized theatre focused organization

  • Awarding the best in town

  • Established history

  • Award force

  • Established theatre community

  • Adjudicator Training






  • Perceived focus on awards/nominations as only value

  • Category breakdown (how to)

  • Feeling of competition over collaboration - perceived lack of equity

  • Adjudicator feedback?

  • Budget/money/numbers game

  • Everyone can’t get nominated or win

  • Currently perceived only as awards organization

  • Not every theatre participates

  • Perception of quality control, college vs community, budget size

  • Need a solid vision

  • Need more diversity on board

  • Funding and fundraising

  • Budget not sustainable to take on other things

  • Adjudicator feedback - perception

  • Feeling of competition among the theatres

  • Narrow in scope - shouldn’t be just awards

  • Adjudicator diversity

  • Adjudicator selection

  • Lack of community building

  • Not necessarily where people don’t go for resources

  • Don’t recognize all theatre in some way

  • No small theatre recognition

  • Board members don’t have enough time

  • East Valley vs West Valley

  • Small vs Large

  • Not enough adjudicators for Youth




  • Professional development -- chance for people to learn from each other, but also to share their knowledge and experience with the community

  • Recognition of the circumstances of making theatre (i.e. big budget vs. small, rural vs. urban, school vs. community, theatre building vs. no theatre building)

  • Further networking opportunities and chances to celebrate theatre and making art (even beyond the awards celebration)

  • Partnerships between theatres?

  • Collaboration/partnership with other Arizona arts organizations? (like Arizona Citizens for the Arts?)

  • Annual community event

  • Database for theatre artists

  • PR and outreach

  • Expansion of services/programs

  • Increased inclusion of small theatres in ceremony

  • Onboarding for new board member, theatre

  • Create community for becoming a one stop shop

  • Grant funding for new programs

  • Expand website to offer more (member login?)

  • Find ways to include everyone

  • Expand adjudicator pool to require 1 volunteer from each theatre

  • Zoni ap for discount tickets

  • Youtube channel for teaching resources

  • Coalition for smaller theatre

  • Feedback separate from adjudication (mentors?)

  • Acting as one community

  • Reaching out to other theatre communities

  • Find other ways to recognize quality beyond awards

  • Greater connection with business community

  • Better communication with our theatres

  • Shared resources

  • Marketing and visibility




  • Budget/money/numbers game

  • Inflexibility  - “This is the way we’ve always done it”

  • Buy-in from theatres, organizations

  • More theatres drop out

  • Decreased ticket sales and entry fees

  • Apathy, jealousy, giving Zonis a bad name if they don’t win

  • Time crunch

  • Pandemic

  • Audience reluctance to go to the theatres

  • Lack of press coverage

  • Disillusionment of theatres

  • Lack for venues for ceremony

  • Inability to afford online platform

  • Incohesive community

  • Competitive nature of theatres

  • No staff, limited time/resources

  • Awards becoming a joke and not feeling prestigious and inclusive

  • Resistance to change

  • Being irrelevant to the community


Organizational Priorities

  • Address perception around adjudication 

    • Increase awareness of adjudication training and processes

    • New Theatre onboarding to further address some of the issues around perception

  • Develop service programs to meet the needs of area theaters these may include:

    • Youth Safety Programs/Member Theater Expectations/Resources

    • Harassment Education/Member Theater Expectations/Resources

    • Intimacy Work/Member Theater Expectations/Resources

    • Theater Technician Training Support Opportunities

    • Workplace Safety/Member Theater Expectations/Resources

    • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion/Member Theater Expectation/Resources

  • Address financial model to ensure the organization has resources to provide necessary services.

  • Address and solve human capital issues - have expertise, don’t have the time

  • Clarifying an updated mission and vision for the Zoni Awards with a greater focus on providing services and lesser focus on awards and awards ceremony. 


Goal Development


  • Create an updated Mission and Vision Statement

  • Create a Theatre Onboarding document (BJ, Gil and Robyn - including how non-member theatres can participate)

  • Research areas of greatest need among member theaters and begin developing service programs to meet those needs.

  • Ensure we have enough human capital for new programs

  • Development a sustainable financial model for the services we provide

  • Research grant and other contributed revenue resources


Mission and Vision Statement Beginning Re-Work


The ariZoni Theatre Awards is a non-profit arts service organization dedicated to building awareness and appreciation for live theatre in Arizona through cooperation, collaboration and community.


The vision of the ariZoni Theatre Awards organization is to be a multi-faceted theatre service organization where every theatre, regardless of size, budget, location, or content they produce, feels connected, supported, included and valued 


Acknowledge the diversity and inclusion of types of theatres, whether large, small, rural, urban, etc.




  • Change perception in the next three years by developing a more positive perception of the Zoni Awards.

  • Hire administrative staff to provide human capital to support program development.

  • Create a member theater survey designed to assess areas of greatest collaborative need

  • Research already existing collaborative communities and provide access to those resources through ariZoni website.


  • Enhance visibility for Member Theaters with Member theater spotlights on social media and email blasts.

  • Monthly newsletter with stats on how many shows were adjudicated that month


  • Enhance already-existing FAQ page on our website.


  • Compile and publish adjudication data each year.


  • Develop a preliminary perception survey and send it out every year

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