The Stage: Online platform to tackle inequality for female musical theatre composers. “A dedicated platform promoting female musical theatre composers is being created in a bid to move the industry towards 50:50 gender parity. The project will create an online database of female theatre composers to showcase the ‘wealth of talent’ in the UK. It also aims to collect data that can used to encourage change.”
State Archives of North Carolina: Rare Irving Berlin WWII Play Photographs Online. “The State Archives of North Carolina’s Military Collection is excited to announce the availability online of 416 original photographs documenting the international tour of American songwriter Irving Berlin’s traveling U.S. Army play This Is The Army was performed from October 1943 through October 1945 during World War II.”
University of North Carolina: Grant to Libraries Will Provide Access to Rare Spanish, Portuguese and Catalan Dramas. “The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries has received a grant of $12,100 from the Pine Tree Foundation of New York. The grant will help the Library catalog and digitize a vast collection of rare Spanish, Portuguese and Catalan dramas. The collection is particularly significant because it contains approximately 2,000 ‘comedias sueltas,’ according to Elizabeth Ott, Frank Borden Hanes Curator of Rare Books at the Wilson Special Collections Library. Comedias sueltas are pamphlet-length plays printed between 1674 and 1834, Spain’s golden age of drama.”
University of Pennsylvania: Prospecting Playbills. “A 1790 playbill advertising two comedies performed in the English town of Hull, The Belle’s Strategem and Harlequin Foundling, has 40 lines of text to describe the performance, including: “To conclude with a DANCE of FAIRIES in THE TEMPLE OF LIBERTY.” Playbills for 18th- and 19th-century dramatic performances such as this one are not only engaging, but filled with valuable information for researchers. How to capture and catalogue all of those varied, and often quirky, details for meaningful analysis? Neither a method nor a database exists. Until now.” That’s a heck of an opening for this article, but I’d love to learn the differences between this project and the British Library’s Playbill project, which was announced last September. Not that I think there should be only one or anything like that, I just want to know how this one is so different.
Variety: Broadway Critics Launch New Site for Theater Reviews. “There’s a new place for New York theater reviews. Those aren’t words you expect to hear these days, not as traditional media outlets scale back their theater coverage and more and more critics lose their full-time posts. But now a group of longtime reviewers — all veterans of city papers — has banded together to create New York Stage Review, a website that’s pushing back against criticism’s demise.”
Bucknell University: Bucknell To Help Bring Pre-Shakespearean London To Life With New Grant. “According to Diane Jakacki, digital scholarship coordinator and faculty teaching associate in comparative humanities, the funding will enable the project to compile and publish thousands of performance-related archival materials that span 500 years of London history. Jakacki, who serves as the project’s principal investigator, said the materials include playscripts, legal and religious records, and personal and diplomatic correspondence.”
New-to-me: a database of contemporary musical theatre songs — ContemporaryMusicalTheatre.com . From the about page: “ContemporaryMusicalTheatre.com is a subscription website that connects voice teachers, students and musical theatre professionals with today’s best contemporary writers and songs. We represent over 180 writers and 500 largely unpublished songs, curated by industry professionals, searchable by voice and song type and available for purchase directly on our site. We are the only site that does not take a cent of the writers’ sales.”