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Theatre 2020 Project Aims to Capture Effects of 2020

The project by the Harry Ransom Center is collecting a variety of materials capturing this tumultuous year.

AUSTIN: The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, a research center for the study of the history of theatre and performance, has announced the launching of the Theatre 2020 Project, which invites theatremakers and organizations to submit stories about how the events of 2020 have affected them. Submissions, which are being accepted digitally, can include reflections on the pandemic and subsequent theatre closures and furloughs, as well as the current political climate and the industry’s reckoning with longstanding racial injustice. The project will collect national and international stories, photos, and videos to document the experiences of those working in theatre during this time.

“The theatre industry is already radically different than it was at the beginning of 2020,” said Ransom Center curator of theatre and performing arts Dr. Eric Colleary in a statement. “While theatre companies are struggling to stay afloat, artists are also developing new methods of creating work. The Theatre 2020 Project will help document these changes as they happen.”

Stories and files will be collected digitally throughout the duration of the pandemic. The Center is accepting a large variety of digital files, including journals, emails, performance recordings, interviews, Zoom meetings, press releases, photographs, written reflections, canceled contracts, revised mission statements, original works, and more, with the goal of collecting files that might reflect experiences of artists or organizations. Submissions should not include any sensitive data, and anyone submitting materials should have the rights to share those materials.

“With everything happening so quickly, and digitally,” Colleary continued in a statement, “the enormous changes underway are not going to be easily captured by archives. This is a moment that students, scholars, and artists will look back on and wonder how we responded and how we changed.”

More information on the project, including registration information, can be found on the Theatre 2020 Project website.

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