Digital Archiving of Reconstructed Performance

Digital Archiving of Reconstructed Performance

Twenty first century students and researchers prefer to access information through visually engaging tools that allow them to re-think and re-imagine relationships. Our project brought together a team of information scientists, historians, and performers to create a cluster of interactive digital tools that track the life, travels, performances, cultural context and repertoire of the 19th century African-American actor Ira Aldridge. This first prototype is a model for how twenty first century tools can be used to visualize theatre before the digital age.

The display includes geo-spatial mapping of Aldridge’s journeys, historical documents, network schemata, and video recordings of 19th century gestures. Performance material included in the tool was developed through a Theatre and Drama course (THTREMUS 440) in which undergraduate theatre students learned about 19th century performance through studio practice and field research. They then reconstructed historical performance excerpts from the repertory of Ira Aldridge, performed them publicly, and recorded the scenes and monologues in the Duderstadt Video Studios.

Project Website: 19th Century Acts
Project Video: 19th Century Acts Digital Tool Demo

Additional information about the academic context of the project is available at:
19th Century Acts: Digital Visualizations and Crowdsourcing
Archives, Aldridge, and Image Crowd Sourcing

Project Team:

Anita Gonzalez, School of Music, Theater and Dance, Project Lead
Clara McClenon, Project Manager, Designer
Katy Robinson, Researcher and Historian
Allyson Mackay, Web Developer
Amana Kazkazi, Web Developer
Justin Joque, Geospatial Mapping Consultant
Nicole Scholtz, Geospatial Mapping Consultant
John R. Diehl, Technical Consultant