Cantey awards are the theatre’s performance awards. Canteys are awards to talented actors in the following six categories:

Click here to see who has won in each category since 1982.

Performance awards have been presented since the 1949-50 season. In the 1975-1976 season, the name award was changed from “Oscar” to “Cantey” in honor of Mrs. Cantey Venable Sutton, the Grand Dame of Raleigh Little Theatre.

In 1938, Mrs. Sutton and others felt a dire need for her growing theatre group to have a building of its own in which to produce plays.  For two years she fought the seemingly endless, insurmountable obstacles that appeared before her.  Through courage, determination and much effort, she conquered lack of funds, citizens objections, incompetent W.P.A. labor, delayed building materials and innumerable disappointments.

Finally, on September 12, 1940, the dream of one woman, Mrs. Cantey Venable Sutton, the building of the Raleigh Little Theatre was realized.

Who decides who gets nominated and who wins?

Before the beginning of each season, a group of 9 people, the Awards Commitee, is selected by the Board President. The names of this group are secret to all.  Each member of the group is required to see every production (if they miss one, they must forfit their vote).

For each show, the director indicates which actors are eligible for each of the six categories. At the end of the season, the group of 9 determine a short list of who they consider potential award winners and three of these are selected as nominees for each category. The group then picks the award winner out of that three.

This is what the RLT bylaws say:

The Awards Committee shall be composed of nine (9) persons appointed by the President in the month of July, from the twenty recommendations made by the Theatre Staff. The nine appointees shall act as judges to determine the recipients of the five (5) Cantey Awards, Best Production Award and any additional appropriate awards to be awarded by the President at the annual awards night. Two (2) additional persons shall be appointed by the President to act as replacements for any of the initial nine appointees in the event of their disqualification. The eleven (11) appointees are to be known only to the President and not to each other and are not to divulge their appointment. The President shall transmit to said appointees a set of standards and instructions by which each actor may be judged. Each judge must attend every play or be disqualified. Each judge shall be supplied by the President, immediately following the final performance of the season, a ballot for voting. The Judge shall return the ballot to the Managing Director. The Managing Director shall count the ballots in the presence of the Secretary of the Board of Directors.