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Yorkshire Playbills

Yorkshire Playbills



Presentation at the LIFE-SHARE Project's Digitisation Collaboration Colloquium, in Sheffield, March 2011. Uploaded with permission.

Presentation at the LIFE-SHARE Project's Digitisation Collaboration Colloquium, in Sheffield, March 2011. Uploaded with permission.



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  • Talk a little about our collaborative project the York Theatres Playbills project, what we’ve done and show some examples of playbills and our archive, then Lydia will talk about her involvement
  • In 2007 York St John was successful if gaining part JISC funding to develop a digital repository, which was first used to store digital material from the Collaborating for Creativity CETL project. Way of exploiting and making more accessible post 1945 York Theatre Royal archive collection held at York St John, as well as bringing together playbills from across the city, some being on the walls of pubs or in private hands
  • Meetings held and agreed to a pilot project investigating feasibility of digitising the collections held by various partners withi n timescale of 6 months
  • Limited by size of scanner so can’t do any of the bigger onesItems passed to YSJ for uploading into the archivePublicity and launch planned for early June before the evening performance at the Theatre Royal.Also hoped publicity would encourage amnesty of playbills out in the community
  • Colleague working with us on project has web skills so she was able to design a web page. Web page has details of the project, a search box to search the playbills and there is also a blog.
  • Browse search of 18th century playbills in the collection with thumbnail images created as part of the upload process
  • Example of full record showing item in detail and metadata
  • Oldest playbill in the collection – points of interest – pick out
  • The Doncaster theatre in the Yorkshire circuit, pick out points of interest
  • One that had to be preserved – interesting because of drawings and flying beasts, early version of the Lion king
  • Wartime playbill, note the reuse of paper as this is printed on the reverse of another one
  • More recent playbill from the 21st century collection

Yorkshire Playbills Yorkshire Playbills Presentation Transcript

  • The green-eyed monster: bringing the York Theatres Playbills project to life
    Helen Westmancoat
    Lydia Stafford
    York St John University
  • Project began 2008/09
    Collaboration between York St John University, City of York Council Library and Archives, York University, the Minster Library and York Theatre Royal
    All partners hold some playbills, others may be scattered around York
    Feasibility study to collect and digitise 30 playbills carried out over 6 months
  • Pilot phase to be completed by end May 2009
    Some playbills catalogued in York University OPAC, others held by Minster Library and the Borthwick Institute
    Catalogue records imported from Minster Library/York University
    Initial playbills included in archive preserved by Minster Library – other partners no facilities to do this
  • Scanning done on basic scanner at City of York Library and Archives
    Loaded onto Digital archive at York St John University
    Publicity and launch early June 2009 at Theatre Royal
    Amnesty of playbills held by private individuals
  • Front end web page designed and set up
  • Browse search in archive
  • Student Involvement: Lydia Stafford
    • In late 2010 the opportunity to have student involvement in the project came up through York St John's 'Students As Researchers' scheme
    • Through an interview process Lydia was successful in joining the Playbills project
    • Having student involvement allows valuable work on the Playbills project to be done and provides the student with new skills and experiences to further their professional career
  • Student Progress so Far
    • Since joining the Playbills project Lydia has been involved with:
    • Training:
    • Handling sensitive documents
    • Use of the scanner
    • Use of the Digital archive, e.g. uploading and inputting data
    • Results of training:
    • Successfully adding to the number of playbills available in the Digital archive
  • Student Aims
    • Through Lydia's involvement in the Playbills project we hope to see:
    • The expansion of the Digital archive through the adding of further material
    • Wider use of the archive from the general public and genealogy researchers
    • Collaboration between the Student Researcher, teaching staff and library staff to assess the playbills as an educational resource
  • The Future and New Collaborations
    • As a result of having student involvement in the Playbills project the collaborative effort hopes to grow to include:
    • The student body.
    • The wider public.
    • It is hoped that this will make the Digital archive an accessible tool for all and promote collaboration between the university, arts venues and the community
  • Future direction for the project partners:
    Apply for funding from Heritage Lottery Funding, or other funding bodies
  • And why the title of this presentation?
  • Contact details:
    Helen Westmancoat – h.westmancoat@yorksj.ac.uk
    Lydia Stafford – lydia.stafford1@yorksj.ac.uk
    Website: http://www.yorkshireplaybills.org.uk/index.html
    Archive: http://digarch.yorksj.ac.uk/awweb/guest.jsp
    Thank you