The Independent Reviewers of New England, a collective of 14 members who have presented the Boston-based IRNE Awards annually since 1995, has disbanded. The committee’s final awards ceremony was held earlier this year in April.
In a Facebook post, the group of theatre critics stated that the decision, determined by a majority vote, is due to the increasing number of new theatre companies in the Greater Boston Area, which complicates the volunteer-based group’s ability to “adequately cover the field.”
“We do not wish to diminish our legacy by trying to do the impossible,” they continued.
The statement does not directly respond to a open letter, collectively penned by 13 New England–based theatre artists on the day of this year’s IRNE Awards and subsequently co-signed by over 600 others, calling for the committee to focus solely on New England–born work (over national tours and commercial pre-Broadway engagements), strengthen the diversity of its body and the works it chooses to cover, and take steps toward making its criteria for coverage more transparent.