AusStage researchers are leading the digitisation of Australia's performing arts heritage. A suite of digitisation projects, undertaken with industry, are investigating archival file formats and metadata strategies to link users directly to digitised resources (text, pictures, sound, moving image) in online repositories.
Special Collections at the Barr Smith Library of the University of Adelaide holds a substantial theatre programme collection of over 20,000 items, including programmes of university theatre and music performances from the late 19th century to today. Performance events range from university revues to high opera, performed by a variety of groups from drama associations and language clubs to student groups from the Elder Conservatorium.
The Special Collections are using AusStage to:
This project enables researchers to assess the role of the University in the performing and cultural life of South Australia, and completes the performing arts record by incorporating into AusStage a much-neglected area of cultural activity.
Sidetrack Performance Group (formerly Sidetrack Theatre Company) is a professional, government-funded, theatre group specialising in devising innovative alternative theatre concerning ethnicised communities, cultural diversity and intercultural contact. Sidetrack is a pioneer and still a leading player in this field, receiving continuing triennial funding from the Australia Council.
Tom Burvill of Macquarie University is writing a history of Sidetrack and its productions. His project is working directly with AusStage to augment the database and explore its capabilities as a research tool. It is also working with Macquarie University Library to digitally archive selected Sidetrack materials and link these with records in AusStage.
The Sidetrack project is working with AusStage to:
Video recording is now a routine practice in relation to live performance, but in Australia there is little discussion of what makes a good recording from the artists' point of view, or from the points of view of those who use video documentation, such as researchers, teachers, archivists, promoters, producers and funding bodies.
Taking advantage of the substantial archival collection held by the Department of Performance Studies, researchers at the University of Sydney are addressing problems associated with the creation and maintenance of digital archives of live events. This project is working with AusStage to:
Determining appropriate protocols that respect the reputation and honour of the artists whose practice is to be preserved is a priority for this project.
The BlackStage Project is using AusStage to develop an accessible archive of materials relating to contemporary Indigenous Australian theatre work. This project is based at Monash University and builds on Maryrose Casey's award-winning book Creating Frames: Contemporary Indigenous Theatre, 1967-1990.
The Stage on Screen Project is linking records in AusStage with two research collections funded by the Australian Research Council and housed at the University of New England - the Stage on Screen collection, which has catalogued theatre-related video in the archives of ABC Television and Channel 9, and the multimedia Dance and Physical Theatre collection.
The Melbourne Workers Theatre Project is digitising and archiving Melbourne Workers Theatre materials at Deakin University and linking these resources with records in AusStage. This project coincides with the recent publication of Glenn D'Cruz's book Class Act: Melbourne Workers Theatre 1987-2007.
The Ballets Russes Project is a four-year research partnership between the Australian Ballet, the National Library of Australia, and the University of Adelaide. This project is supported by AusStage partners who have catalogued the Ballets Russes collection in the Special Collections of the University of Adelaide Library and linked digitised objects at the National Library of Australia to AusStage records. See Colonel W. de Basil's Monte Carlo Russian Ballet.