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Norton Awards will return to a live ceremony after a three-year disruption

The Manzari Brothers entertain the audience at the 2013 Elliot Norton Awards at the Paramount Center. This year's presentation, to be held at the Huntington Theatre May 8, marks the Norton Awards return to a live event after a three-year disruption.The Boston Globe/Globe Freelance

After a three-year pause, the Elliot Norton Awards honoring excellence in Boston theater will return to a live ceremony this spring, the Boston Theater Critics Association announced Wednesday.

The awards presentation will be held May 8 at the Huntington Theatre. It will mark the 40th anniversary of the Nortons, named for longtime Boston theater critic Elliot Norton.

The critics’ association also announced that awards will no longer be divided according to gender and that the design categories have been expanded. Nominees for this year’s awards, details about the ceremony, and recipients of the Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence will be announced at a later date.


“We are thrilled to be back in the house together to celebrate the 40th anniversary of highlighting this outstanding theater community,” BTCA president Joyce Kulhawik said in a statement. “This is a night not only to commune with each other, but also to showcase how important theater is to the cultural life of Greater Boston.”

The live awards ceremony has been disrupted the last three years because of the pandemic. Virtual ceremonies were held in 2020 and 2022; no awards were presented in 2021 because theaters had been shut down in the preceding season.

The BTCA also announced two new initiatives. It will begin issuing a “seal of approval” for productions that theater companies can use in their advertising and on their websites. The critics’ pick will allow theaters “to take advantage of positive early critical reaction while shows are still onstage,” Kulhawik said.

The association said it is also planning to assemble “a diverse [group of people] who are passionate and knowledgeable about theater” to serve on a nominating committee for future Norton Awards. More information and applications — the deadline is Feb. 15 — are available at