TITLE: International Theatre Design Archive

ACCESS: http://www.siue.edu/PROJECT2000

The International Theatre Design Archive (ITDA) is an online archive whose goal is to provide access to images and information about theatre productions from around the world. To theatre faculty, students and professionals, this is an idea that sounds almost too good to be true. ITDA is sponsored by the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, and is partially funded by Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville.

Scenic, costume, and lighting designs are submitted to ITDA from professional, regional, or educational productions. Once submitted, the designs are reviewed by a panel of theatre professionals before being added to the archive. According to a banner on the site's front page, ITDA set a goal of offering "2000 Theatre Designs by the Year 2000." However, as of September, 2000, there are a total of 745 theatre designs available.

The archived production designs fall into three categories: "Scene Designs" (428); "Costume Designs" (256); and "Lighting Designs" (61). Each of the three categories has indexes for play title, playwright, designer, and producer. Producer in this case means the theatre group putting on a particular production. By selecting one of these choices, the user is given an alphabetical list from which to choose. Clicking on an entry, one is given a summary of the production, including the title of the play and production credits. Entries in the "Scene Design" category may include playwright, director, scene designer, lighting designer, and costume designer.

The images are the most exciting feature of this site. For each production listed, a hypertext link leads the user to a web site that contains photographs or drawings of the various designs. The peer review process is evident here, as the designs are of high quality, although the number of designs available for each production varies greatly. The user will find these images helpful as a source of ideas for productions, or as a way to research the design history of a given play.

Unfortunately the site is in need of updating as there are a number of dead or referred links to the image sites. Also, the use of the word "international" in the site's name should be taken with a grain of salt. Although productions from many countries are included, the majority are from the United States.

While the content of the site falls short of its intent, ITDA demonstrates the great potential for this type of on-line archival resource. By no means a comprehensive collection of productions, it does provides access to images and information that will be useful to all those involved in theatre production.

Ford Schmidt
Willamette University
fschmidt@willamette.edu


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