The Cuban Theater Digital Archive (CTDA) is an online worldwide resource for historical materials related to Cuba’s renowned performing arts scene. Filmed productions, production stills, and many other theater-related materials are searchable in this bilingual, multimedia resource, drawn from more than twenty collections from the University of Miami Libraries Cuban Heritage Collection, the Center for Scenic Design Studies in Havana, and the holdings of individual collaborators in Cuba, the United States, and beyond.
The CTDA includes recordings of equity and non-equity productions digitized and filmed in Cuba and outside the island as well as information related to the subject of Cuban theater, with a special focus on theater produced by Cuban communities in the United States. The archive serves as a resource for teaching, learning, and research in Cuban theater and performance and related fields; a community repository for important Cuban theatrical materials; and a forum to foster scholarly communication in this field.
Click the image to visit the site.
Highlights of the CTDA include:
- Over two hundred videoed productions and staged readings, as well as rehearsals and interviews of plays produced in Cuba, the United States, Spain, and Latin America.
- An image database that includes over three thousand items digitized from the Cuban Heritage Collection as well as items received from theater practitioners.
- A searchable directory of information on playwrights, directors, designers, actors, plays, productions, theater companies, theater venues, and awards.
- More than 50% of the content has been the product of student research projects.
The CTDA allows project collaborators to add directory information and other resources via a backend data-entry module. When possible, site content is available for download and reuse in keeping with Creative Commons Open Content license requirements. CTDA content is also available through Scalar, a multimodal scholarly publishing platform.
Funded in part by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the CTDA is managed as a digital humanities partnership between the University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences and the Libraries, in cooperation with Cuba’s National Council for the Performing Arts and the Center for Scenic Design Studies.
In 2004, a web-based archive of information and images on Cuban theater in Cuba and the United States was created by Dr. Lillian Manzor, a University of Miami professor, with the technical and web development support of Lyn MacCorkle of the University of Miami Libraries Digital Initiatives. In early 2009, a planning grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation was awarded to evaluate the importance of the archive to theater scholars and students and to outline a sustainability plan for the project’s future. This funding provided the support needed to develop a more robust version of the initial site.
Materials that have been digitized for the CTDA.
Building the site required developing a new data model, software tools, hardware expertise, and a set of best practices to support enhancing multimedia content and collaborative authorship. A development outcome is an open source content management system designed specifically for documenting theater performance. The “Romeu” software platform uses the Django (Python) Framework; the software is available at GitHub.
The Video Digitization Technical Guide, a set of locally developed practices for filming theater performances, authored in consultation with expert video consultants, can be found here. The CTDA User Manual can be found here.
For information on the theoretical and technical aspects of site development, please consult Dr. Lillian Manzor or Mitsunori Ogihara.
For more information on the CTDA, please contact Dr. Lillian Manzor.
Manzor, Lillian, Mitsunori Ogihara, and Kyle Rimkus. “Cuban Theater Digital Archive: A Multimodal Platform for Theater Documentation and Research,” in Information Technologies for Performing Arts, Media Access, and Entertainment, edited by Paolo Nesi and Raffaella Santucci. 7990: 138-150. Berlin: Springer Verlag, 2013.