OISTAT Theatre Timeline Working Group Meeting Minutes 2013

Jan 30, 2013

In connection with the “Revaluing Theatrical Heritage: Challenges and Opportunities” conference, Kortrijk, 22 and 23 January 2013 

Download Complete Meeting Minutes 

Sunday 20 January Brussels – Meeting Report
Present: Chris Van Goethem, Mhora Samuel, Mark White, Rupert Rhymes, Louis Janssen, Kate Burnett, Nick Hunt, later joined by: Michael Ramsaur, Peter McKinnon, Ivo Kersmaekers, Eddy De Baets.

Rather than going over Minutes of the previous meeting in London, this meeting started with Chris reading the mission statement of the TTWG, and using it to initiate a discussion under the following Agenda headings:

1. Identification, documentation, collection, conservation and curation.
A methodology is needed for documenting and there was discussion of the ABTT and Theatres Trust surveys and recordings of historical theatres and their technology, scenery, etc, as well as individual collections that need to be documented.

Equally important is the tracking, assembly and updating of information gathered by groups in different countries and organisations, so that efforts and possibly materials, equipment, techniques, can be shared, worked with and not unnecessarily duplicated.

The question of Why document/record older theatre technology is not resolved for many people, so the case needs to be made and discussed in order to demonstrate the continual development of practical knowledge and its application.

There was discussion of key collections and installations that are at risk and whether it is enough to document and then dismantle; how to alert future generations to the potential significance of existing equipment/artefacts;  and where and how to develop and curate useful and informative permanent collections and displays.

Suggestions for development:
– an ‘at risk’ label with contact information that could be attached to equipment and artefacts to alert owners to historical significance and the need to document before replacement or disposal.
– development of a template for documenting equipment and artefacts – based on the ABTT and Theatres Trust surveys.
– Creating TTWG meetings around the documenting of key private collections before possible dispersement.

2. World Stage Design 2013
The TTWG would very much like to collaborate with the ABTT Historical Research Committee as well as the Theatres Trust, Society for Theatre Research, Society of Theatre Consultants and other interested UK organisations in offering – and organising contributions to the programme of WSD – which is an OISTAT event – at RWCMD in September 2013.

The suggestions made that need to be firmed up, are:
a)    A Hemp rigging workshop. (Ian Evans – would it be possible to install hemp sets into the sustainable theatre space – as they would be in keeping with the project and could enable practical session(s) on knots, loading, multiple pulleys, etc). 1 or 2 separate half days.

b)    A Revox workshop – with practical work to create ‘ hand-made’ sound works. (Discuss with OISTAT Sound WG) 1 day

c)    Projection workshop – with invited historical equipment and slides / materials (needs a black out space, 1 day preparation, 1 day workshop) Discuss with Ian Evans, Henk, etc)

d)    ‘Trash’ lighting workshop – possibly led by Howard Eaton Co. (Mark W to approach)

e)    Gallery of the Obsolete – collaboration with the Technology Commission, involves an international call for obsolete theatre technology / artefacts (must be portable), deadline – end April. A selection would be invited for  an ‘Antiques Roadshow’ half day event, after which the objects would be placed throughout the WSD exhibition – on display. Sean Suggested date of Roadshow 9thSept, display until 15th.

The ‘Antiques Roadshow’ would be the occasion for TTWG and collaborating partners to introduce and promote the ‘At risk’ label and documentation template. ACTIONS: KB liase with WSD; Mark White contact Howard Eaton; Invitation for Gallery of Obsolete, and all workshops- Ivo, Chris, KB.

3. Wider Perspective
The meeting  moved on to consider:
- TTWG presence on the OISTAT website which is still in development – and links with other sites and databases
- the creation of guidelines for sound recording, photographing and filming both equipment / artefacts and also interviews, handling and usage of the equipment / artefacts.
- Discuss with ABTT their bequests scheme
- Identifying shared interests and working with the Architecture Commission

4.  Future Meetings
The next meeting of the TTWG will be at WSD2013 at RWCMD in Cardiff preferably between the 8 – 12 September (to take advantage of the largest number of OISTAT attendees) and will be scheduled into the overall WSD timetable a nd the programme of TTWG workshops and events proposed above.

As a working group the planning of meetings is less formal than for OISTAT Commissions and it is understood that smaller, self funded meetings may be arranged for planning / research purposes, and to coincide with, or in collaboration with other related interest meetings and events. Suggested meetings – to be pursued:
– Coincide with Perspectiv 2013 meeting (April?)
– Around action over the Bourla Theatre redevelopment in Antwerp
– At Drottningholm
– At Cesky Krumlov

The meeting on Sunday 20th Jan closed in order to attend the theatre visits planned. Discussions about the above issues continued with a variety of other attendees in Brussels and at the Kortrijk conference. Action notes from these to be assembled with results of Actions above and compiled into a report of the entire Belgian event.

The Meeting ended with thanks to Chris Van Goethem for all his organisation and for creating a useful, lively and enjoyable few days. Apologies for omissions, please correct.

Kate Burnett 30 Jan 2013
contact: kate.burnett@virgin.net
Mob: 07979226393