Libraries, Penumbra Theatre receive grant to design theatrical records management program
The University of Minnesota Libraries and its formal partner, the Penumbra Theatre Company, have been awarded a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services for a 12-month collaborative planning project, "Designing a Comprehensive Theatrical Records Management Program." Using the framework already in place for maintaining the archives of the Minnesota Orchestra at the University of Minnesota's Performing Arts Archives, and in concert with key regional theaters, e.g., the Tony Award-winning Guthrie Theater, Southern Theatre, as well as theaters of color nationally, project directors will assess the barriers to building a theater's comprehensive archive and identify processes that can be adapted by theaters of widely varying sizes and configurations to ensure the long term preservation of and access to its creative heritage.
Serving as partner and test theater during the planning grant is Penumbra Theatre, the nation's preeminent African American theater that has been producing art for social change through main stage productions in St. Paul, Minnesota since 1976, in addition to traveling productions in more than a dozen cities in the U.S. including Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. National collaborating partners include American Theater Archiving Project, Theatre Library Association, and Apollo Theatre Project (NYC).
At the conclusion of the planning cycle, project directors anticipate having the following outcomes:
- A comprehensive records management program specifically for performing arts institutions that can serve as a national model which can be adopted immediately for current and future productions.
- A process to locate and acquire scattered records from past productions.
- A framework for a theatrical community collaboration for audio/visual preservation.
- A set of best practices that addresses Actor's Equity rights and the fair use of audio/visual material for research purposes.