HISTORY OF THE SHELLIE AWARDS

Click here for a list of past winners:

Years 1-5 (1980-1984)Years 6-10 (1985-1989)Years 11-15 (1990-1994)

Years 16-20 (1995-1999)

Years 21-25 (2000-2004)

Years 26-30 (2005-2009)

Years 31-35 (2010-2014)

Shellie Awards innovator, Scott Denison, says “The Shellie Awards were founded in 1979 in order to recognize outstanding achievement in the performing arts in the Central Contra Co­sta/Diablo Valley region. This is an evening to honor the nominees as well as the award winners.” The name S­hellie was derived from the venue in which the first ceremony took place – the walnut packing warehouse – lovingly called the Nuthouse by all who performed there. During off-season of the walnut harvest, the Walnut Growers Association loaned the building to local organizations and theatre companies who constructed a temporary stage and audience risers in the mid-1960’s to bring live performances to the Walnut Creek area. In January of 1991 the Shellie Awards ceremony was held in the newly opened Regional Center for the Arts.

Patterned after Broadway’s Tony awards, the Shellies honor over 120 individuals and their work in musical and non-musical theatrical productions that took place between September 1 and August 31. Currently the regional companies participating are: Brentwood Theater Company, Butterfield 8 Theatre Company, Center REPertory Company, Contra Costa Musical Theatre, OMG, I Love that Show! Productions, Onstage Theatre, Pittsburg Community Theatre, San Ramon Community Theatre, Town Hall Theatre Company and the Vagabond Players. Accompanied by a live band, selections are performed from each nominated musical and non-musical.

Nominees are selected by each participating organization and then a ballot is prepared to be voted upon by the Shellie Committee, a confidential group of individuals who attend each production. The Shellie Committee members then complete their ballots and forward them to the independent accountant who tallies the ballots and prepares the sealed envelopes which are not opened until the awards ceremony.

Each winner is awarded a custom-designed porcelain Shellie statuette. Guest award presenters include presidents of each participating company, local mayors, supervisors, radio and television personalities as well as film stars. The evening concludes with a champagne gala honoring the nominees and award recipients.

In order to be a participant in the Annual Shellie Awards, theatre companies must:

  • Have performed a published season for at least 2 years (seasons)
  • Be a Non-profit or government-sponsored performing arts program that produces at least 2 productions each year
  • Shellie season runs from 9/1 through 8/31
  • Provide Federal Tax Id Number
  • Not collect tuition or registration fees for performer’s participation in productions (membership dues are not applicable)
  • Provide complimentary tickets for Shellie selectors to be held under the name of Scott Denison
  • Provide a ticket office phone number for those selectors who wish to purchase their own tickets
  • By August 1 provide a listing or brochure of dates, times and location for the next season.
  • Return completed Shellie ballots by September 30 to be eligible for consideration
  • Be prepared to provide costumes, entertainment, scenes, music and musical numbers from nominated productions as requested by the Shellie producers for the awards ceremony