Association Divadelná Nitra presents

OPEN ARCHIVES OF DIVADELNÁ NITRA

(research → reflection → research)

processing and publication of the archives of Association Divadelná Nitra 

 For nearly three decades, Association Divadelná has collected documents and materials on its eponymous festival and other projects. Over time this has yielded an ‘informal’ archive, which has never been systematized so as to lend itself to study and research. This is why the Association has prepared the Open Archives project, whose aim is to survey existing documents and artefacts, organise them in a database, and present them to the professional community as a resource for reflection and further academic research.

The archive collects more than 6 thousand items of documentary material – listings, photographs, video recordings of performances, scripts, texts on productions and directors, publications, catalogues... Many are unique and cannot be found anywhere else in Slovakia. The archives of Association Divadelná Nitra as a form of cultural heritage assembled over the course of numerous years of activity may become an important resource for research in performing art and an aid in developing artistic reflection in the field of scenic arts in Slovakia and beyond.

For a long time, these materials have been a point of interest to students and theatre professionals. Students sought information for various types of academic works especially in the arts and humanities, while theatre scholars required them for academic and publishing pursuits. Additionally, the materials serve as a learning resource to professional high schools and universities and a source of inspiration for theatre-makers.

The project focuses on processing documents related to the festival’s main programme, comprising a unique and most valuable part of the Association’s archives: 398 productions, accompanied by more than 700 texts on productions and directors, nearly 300 scripts, more than 5 500 photographs documenting productions in the main programme, more than 260 guest director photographs, and approximately 250 video recordings.

Many foreign scenic works of art saw their only staging in Slovakia at the International Theatre Festival Divadelná Nitra, and the Association’s archive is an exclusive resource of information on these in the country. Besides productions staged at the festival, the archive also contains first-rate artworks offered or requested during selection processes that were ultimately not programmed for the festival. These represent an especially valuable source of information on the development of individual figures in European performing art. A section of the archive is published online (festival catalogues, production listings, texts of productions and directors, data on the production’s creators, production photographs), while some materials will only be made available for study purpose upon request due to copyrights (video recordings and scripts, photographs in print quality, etc.).

Aims

The primary aims of the process of researching, processing and publishing the documents of Association Divadelná Nitra are to:

  • preserve archival material, data, databases and documents collected over the course of the Association’s 27 years of activity, especially those related to the eponymous international theatre festival, as well as to its other projects and activities;
  • offer an opportunity to encounter unique research and study material on European and Slovak theatre to the student and professional community, as well as a resource for developing scholarship and learning in the field of theatre.

Target groups

In view of the abovementioned aims, Association Divadelná Nitra directs its efforts to the following target groups:

  • Slovak professional community – research of European and Slovak theatre (critics, art theorists, culture scholars, historians, high school and university teachers);
  • professional community – theatre-makers, artists in other fields;
  • research institutions in Slovakia and abroad (theatre institutions and museums, foreign culture institutions);
  • high school and university students in art, art studies and humanities in Slovakia and abroad;
  • culture journalists and interested public.

Partnerships

An instrumental part of attaining the project’s aims and of its outputs reaching the outlined target groups consists in collaborations with institutions involved with the groups or in given fields of activity.

Research institutions and universities will benefit from the Open Archives project in their own research as well as the academic practice of their staff and students.

  • VŠMU, Bratislava, Theatre Faculty, Theatre Studies Department;
  • VŠMU, Bratislava, Theatre Faculty, Directing and Dramaturgy Department;
  • Institute of Theatre and Film Research, Slovak Academy of Sciences;
  • Academy of Arts in Banská Bystrica, Faculty of Dramatic Arts;
  • UKF, Nitra, Institute of Literary and Artistic Communication;
  • UKF, Nitra, Faculty of Arts, Culture Studies Department;
  • Slovak universities – aesthetics and culture studies departments;
  • conservatories, art schools, gymnasiums – Nitra Region and Slovakia.

Activities

  • research and processing of archived data, databases and materials;
  • creation ofDNArchives website in Slovak and English;
  • online publication of data, databases and material listings at DNArchives website with search engine, tiered accessibility (material subject to copyrights will be made accessible for a limited time solely for study purposes and upon request);
  • providing access to documents for narrow academic study purposes in physical form at the ADN office;
  • activities in research institutions and schools related to loans (presentation of project, screenings, lectures, compiling directory of interested subjects);

Planned project outputs

  • creation of complete BODY OF MATERIALS related to the festival’s main programme – productions staged over the course of the festival’s 27 years (1992 – 2019). The archive will result from research of existing and retrieval of additional materials, their summarization, inventory, systematization and digitalization. The resulting directories will be of: productions, authors, directors, theatres, countries, production photographs, scripts, video recordings, etc.;
  • creation of directories on other festival programme sections and the Association’s other projects (accompanying programme, Parallel Lives – 20th Century Through the Eyes of Secret Police, How to Understand Theatre, V4@Theatre Critics Residency, A Tulip for You, This is Art, Too, international conferences and seminars, learning projects, international co-productions and collaboration projects, yearbooks and anniversary publications);
  • creation of REPOSITORY where materials acquired by their systematization and digitalization will be stored;
  • creation of DATABASE interconnecting individual types of materials, allowing for easy orientation and data searches, in two language versions – Slovak and English, so far unseen in the field of theatre in Slovakia;
  • creation of DNArchives WEBSITE as a source of information and PUBLICATION of materials on website as a resource for study and research, for application in practice in other activities, and for informal learning. Access to these materials will be tiered, according to the given type of material and in compliance with copyrights;
  • creation of STUDY POINT in the premises of Association Divadelná Nitra (Andrej Bagar Theatre) for studying materials on-site (physical materials, video recordings, etc.).

Current project status

Due to financial and time constraints, the OPEN ARCHIVES OF DIVALDENÁ NITRA (research → reflection → research) project was divided into multiple phases.

The first of these ran from February 2018 until February 2019 and comprised some of the research, systematization, inventory and digitalization, including the creation of a repository. At the moment, we offer outputs in the form of a website in Slovak containing the most important data and texts on the main programme of the International Theatre Festival Divadelná Nitra 1992 – 2018, scripts, video recordings of productions from 2013 – 2018, and enable personal study of material on-site.

In the subsequent phases, we plan to launch the website in English, complete research, digitalize and archive all remaining available video recordings until 1992, process and publish selected activities of the accompanying, learning and working programme as well as the Association’s other activities, develop partnerships and create the OADN on-site study point.