Access to digitized performance documentation and the AusStage database

Tom Burvill, Mark Seton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The digitization of video documentation and other production documentation (photographic images, scripts, programmes, reviews, stage designs and audio recordings) of live performances can be accessed across the world through the Internet. At the same time, protocols requisite for the effective flow of data constrain how digitized artefacts of an innately ephemeral process are "packaged" and linked for appropriate accessibility. Ironically, the digitization of such ephemera by no means guarantees their permanence as digital formats and modes of storage and retrieval are constantly vulnerable to changing industry standards and competitive commercial interests. Burvill and Seton track their experiences and reflections in pursuing the process of preparing an existing physical archive of an Australian, nationally regarded, community theatre company Sidetrack Performance Group (formerly Sidetrack Theatre Company) for digitization and archiving into a university E-Repository. This archive is linked to the AusStage database providing an accessible research facility for investigating live performances and, simultaneously, in-forming histories of theatre and performance in Australia. The dynamic of enabling and constraining, at the same time, is highlighted as guidelines are formulated for the digitization, archiving and linking of performance assets so that the values of respect, integrity, justice and beneficence are applied to all stakeholders in the process. Note: This article refers to records in ResearchOnline included in the Sidetrack Theatre Collection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-321
Number of pages17
JournalStudies in Theatre and Performance
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • archives
  • digital formats
  • digitization
  • ethical protocols
  • performance documentation
  • theatre databases


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