AusStage developed as a partnership between industry organisations and university researchers with funding from the Australian Research Council. Industry partners in phase 6 include the State Theatre Company of South Australia, the Association of Performing Arts Collections (UK) and the Performing Arts Heritage Network of Museums Australia.
Partnerships with industry enable data sets of particular significance to a venue, company or artist to be recorded in AusStage. This may take the form of a financial contribution for data entry or an in-kind contribution of labour. Many performing arts collections are using AusStage to integrate information on their holdings withinthe national dataset. AusStage provides on-site training in data entry and ongoing support to sustain data quality.
In 2008 Melbourne Theatre Company funded a thorough update of AusStage records from its beginnings as the Union Theatre Repertory Company in 1953 until the present day. Completion aimed to coincide with the MTC's arrival in its new home opposite the Arts Centre. Cross-checking company records with published histories and web-based resources, each record includes a brief synopsis, complete cast and crew lists, accurate performance dates and appropriate content indicators to better facilitate research-based queries. As the oldest surviving theatre company in Australia, it is fitting that the MTC's records should serve as a benchmark for other institutions in our national performance database.
AusStage provides customised queries, searches and reports to assist organisations like the Australia Council for the Arts and Playwriting Australia to answer questions about the composition of performing arts programming, the distribution of touring productions, and patterns of collaboration between artists. AusStage contributed data on gender patterns in theatre production to the Women in Theatre report commissioned by the Australia Council in 2011.
AusStage set up the Data Exchange for artists and companies to embed data from AusStage in their own websites. We are collaborating with AustralianPlays.org to link information on playwrights and their play scripts to the production history of their plays.