PERFORMING ARTS ONLINE 2001
originally published in Online
Currents, January/February 2001 and reprinted with kind permission of the
publishers Enterprise Information Management Pty Ltd.
archives and museums
about the performing arts in Australia can be elusive. Although computers, the Internet
and government-led initiatives have been influential in improving online
access to off-line sources in the last decade, the telephone, in many
instances, is the best online route.
The performing arts is a
term invented in the 1950s and is now usually applied as a collective concept
for theatre, music, dance, opera, radio, film, television, puppetry, circus,
vaudeville, variety and kindred forms of entertainment. The connections are
obvious, but the differences are important. They function differently, have
different histories and literatures, and generate different information
management needs and approaches.
industry is commercial and subsidized, local and global, professional and
amateur. It recycles its product
as a matter of course and draws on information from other industries, times
and places. What happened in the Globe Theatre in 1599 may inform tomorrow’s
Hollywood movie. Beethoven’s manuscripts may provide the spark and subtlety
for next years international recording venture. An interior of a 1789 Sydney
Town mud hut may be required to create make-believe on a stage in Wagga Wagga.
article is an overview of online sources and issues for live forms –
theatre, dance and music - in Australia. It
doesn’t discuss international websites and databases – such as
International Directory of the Performing Arts, Music Index and Arts
and Humanities Citation Index - and commercial Australian database sources.
These may the subject of a separate article.
addresses for many of the organisations and projects mentioned have not been
included. Links can found via a reputable search engine or from the pages of
the Wolanski Foundation at http://www.twf.org.au..
The Australian performing
arts is a $416 million sector in an $8.5 billion cultural industry, with about
880 music and theatre businesses producing 68,994 paid Australian performances
Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (DCITA) and
Cultural Ministers Council are important initiators of policy and information.
In recent years, DCITA has encouraged and developed on-line and digital
information products and services like Stage Struck, Performing Arts Digital
Library Pilot Project and a CD ROM, the Digital Environment.
performing arts organisations now have websites which act as promotional tools
rather than fully powered e-commerce solutions. Some of them have educational
programs that generate Web information sources and interactive learning
and educational interests are shaped by the work of the Australian
Research Council; the Australian Vice Chancellors Committee and various
academic groups, such as those currently consolidating under the umbrella of
the Australian National Coalition for Creative Arts.
Projects & products
project in progress at Flinders University under the management of South
Australian academic, Joh Hartog, author of The computerized gaze and the performing arts
(Australasian Drama Studies April 1998).
Funded by an Australian Research Council grant and supported by the Australasian
Drama Studies Association, the Council of the Heads of Australian University
Theatre Studies Institutions and Museum Australia’s Performing Arts Special
Interest Group, it aims to create a national database of current and past events of theatre,
dance, opera, music and associated forms.
The Digital Environment
A CD ROM containing papers
and video clips about intellectual property, preservation, the digital
economy, connectivity and other issues relevant to Australia’s culture and
its use of new technologies. Available from DCITA.
Performing Arts Multimedia Library (PAML) Pilot Project
A $1 million joint initiative
of Cinemedia, Multimedia Victoria and the Department of Communication,
Information Technology and the Arts, completed in 1999, to explore legal,
technical and business issues, encourage organisations to record their
performances and create a digital collection of significant Australian
performing arts material. Its
legacies are From Live Performance to Digital Stage, a guide to
contracting and copyright management of digital recordings, available
free from the PAML website, and a
copyright management system, SWIFT - developed in tandem with the project - to
provide multiple and simultaneous access, track usage, control copyright
restrictions and automatically distribute royalties via commercial delivery
networks, nationally, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
A CD-ROM on stage production,
produced by the National Institute of Dramatic Arts, Opera Australia,
Australian Ballet, Sydney Opera House and University of Wollongong as part of
the federal government’s Australian on CD program. Offers interactive
sections on scriptwriting, music, movement, and dance, stage design and other
production tools and techniques. Also
provides a wealth of information on the performing arts in Australia. Stage Struck has won numerous internal awards
including a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award and Golden
European Multimedia Award for interactivity in 1998. Copies may be ordered
from the National Institute of Dramatic Arts.
online gateway initiated by DCITA. Provides access to information on cultural
grants, training opportunities and industry development programs offered by
Australian governments, corporations, foundations and non-government bodies.
Also provides practical advice on issues such as establishing cultural
businesses, statistics, training courses, on-line tutorials, cultural industry
publications and a directory of cultural businesses.
service and advocacy organisation representing dancers, choreographers,
writers, artists, students and the general public. Its website has links and
contact details for all dance companies in Australia
arts policy, research and funding body. Recent research and publications have
been produced on the arts
economy, arts marketing and Australian attitudes to the arts. Fuel4arts, a website for artists and arts
managers to develop marketing skills, was launched a couple of years ago and
includes arts marketing case studies, bibliographies and links to Internet
Bureau of Statistics
of industry statistics and demographics relevant to the performing arts in
Australia, sometimes produced in collaboration with the Cultural Ministers
Internet gateway initiated and managed by DCITA. Promotes public access to
collections, activities and events in cultural institutions. The site includes
local and international cultural and technical resource guides to assist in
developing online strategies, use of metadata, directories to databases,
catalogues and Internet discussion groups.
Entertainment Industry Association
body in the arts and entertainment industry. Hosts awards to honour Australian
achievements in theatre, ballet and opera. Oncue online, its official
website includes information on shows, venues, celebrity profiles, world
entertainment news and jobs.
Drama Studies Centre
site offering information on teaching, publishing, research and professional
activities of English teaching staff of the University of Queensland,
including the Australasian Drama Studies Association. Has registers of theatre
researchers and topics, links to Australasian Drama Studies Journal and other
resources, and research projects undertaken by faculty members - such as From
Page to Stage: an annotated bibliography of Australian drama..
Council of Australia
peak body which aims to advance Australian musical life. Resources include
directories of Australian music organisations, music periodicals and
to part 2 Libraries, archives and museums