We warmly welcome a new Working Group in DARIAH, Theatralia. Chaired by Anamarija Žugić Borić (Research Assistant at DARIAH-HR) and Tihomir Živić (Associate Professor at Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek), the Working Group aims to respond to the needs of theater artists, experts, and researchers, providing guidelines for the best methods to implement the digitally based strategies in their research and to increase awareness and usage of ICTs in the Performing Arts research in general.
In order to better understand the aims and activities of this new Working Group, we asked Anamarija and Tihomir to briefly introduce the topic, their planned activities and next steps. Here is what they had to say:
Why did you decide to create a Working Group on this topic in the context of DARIAH?
It is not unknown that almost any theatrical institution or association, be it theatrical archives, Theater Studies institutes, theater houses or individual theatrical projects, follows its own separate organizational model that memorizes a theatrical history. Since there is a rising necessity to digitize as many theatrical material items as possible and, furthermore, to provide access to as many existent databases as possible that contain a digitized or an originally produced, theater-related digital heritage, the consortium of the WG Theatralia —initially mainly comprised of Croatian experts and researchers—, recognized the DARIAH-EU infrastructure as the best venue to support the creation of a digital infrastructure that would unify the European theater experts and interconnect the existent databases on a broader, international level, i.e., in the DARIAH Member countries.
Another major reason to seek for DARIAH’s recognition was the fact that the idea, sense, and ultimate objective of DARIAH’s pillars, especially the one dedicated to education and training, overlap with a request voiced by the theatrical artists and other theatrical workers to have access to a systematic education on the digital practices that can be used in theater. Finally, this WG wants to be equally accessible to the researchers, archivists, theatrical artists/workers and to the interested individuals, and openness, accessibility and quality transparency are precisely offered by the DARIAH-EU consortium.
Can you describe the role and aims of the Theatralia Working Group?
Our most important objective is to assemble the European experts in various Theater Studies domains, as well as the artists and the GLAM sector advocates and invite them to produce the guidelines, render services, and establish the national and international standards that would improve the application of ICTs in the Theater and Performance Studies (TAPs). In this regard, the WG aims to serve as a mediator between the Theater Studies institutes or the theatrical museums and the theaters themselves in an attempt to define the common conceptual and collaborative points.
Additionally, one of the WG’s aspirations is to enrich a Digital Humanities (DH) approach with the inclusion of an intangible heritage aspect while reconsidering and reevaluating the challenges and results that ensue from the digitization of theatrical materials such as the sets, costumes, sound and projections, as well as from the performance as a whole. In parallel, the WG will try to provide the theatrical artists with the guidelines and counseling to facilitate them to introduce various complementary digital tools into the process of performance creation and to the performance itself, as an equal part of its aesthetic. Ultimately, the WG will be operational in the dissemination of its work results to the TAP researchers, documentation specialists, artists and the academia and, accordingly, will seek to cooperate with other DARIAH Working Groups, along with the institutions and associations that share similar objectives.
What are the Working Group’s plans for the future?
Primarily, our plans are to invest more in community recognition, communication and outreach. This will be done by designing a new, personalized logo and promotional materials, in addition to the organization of workshops in several cities and online. The workshops will serve as an introduction to the WG objectives and as a theatrical artists and workers’ practical guide on how to use the digital communication platforms, as well as digital services or registries (including the SSH Open Marketplace), for live performances and for staging a performance.
Starting with the year 2022, the WG Theatralia will focus on the compilation of an international theatrical registry that will collect crucial information on the national theater houses, including their existent digital archives and repositories, with the aim of expanding the registry to the independent theaters, theater troupes and individual performative artists.
We warmly welcome the Theatralia Working Group in DARIAH and look forward to fruitful collaborations!