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Scrapbooks, Snapshots and Memorabilia

McGillivray, Glen (ed.)

Scrapbooks, Snapshots and Memorabilia

Hidden Archives of Performance

Year of Publication: 2011

Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2011. 283 pp.
ISBN 978-3-0343-0390-3 pb.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.450 kg, 0.992 lbs

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Book synopsis

Scrapbooks, Snapshots and Memorabilia: Hidden Archives of Performance asks the questions: What constitutes an archive? What is worthy of being archived? And who decides? Performances are ephemeral, so archival questions of selection and appraisal determine which performances will be remembered by history and which will not.
The essays in this collection each explore a different facet of the ephemerality of performance, and the traces it leaves behind: from photographic stills of actors or sets; draft scripts and production notes, theatre programs and reviews; the language used to evoke the experience of watching a dance; to the memories contained within a site which has been used for a site-specific performance.
Each of the contributors to Scrapbooks, Snapshots and Memorabilia employs pertinent case studies to reveal performances that are so often ‘hidden’ from the authoritative archival view; for example, those by women, indigenous people, amateurs and working people, and those outside metropolitan centres. In this way, they build a powerful argument for reconsidering – or at the very least, broadening – notions of what the performance archive can be.


Contents: Glen McGillivray: Forward: A brief note on AusStage – Glen McGillivray: The performance archive: Detritus or historical record? – Maryrose Casey: Tales still to be told: Indigenous Australian theatre practice and the archive – Tom Burvill/Mark Seton: The ‘not-yet archive’ of Sidetrack Performance Group – Gillian Arrighi/David Watt: (Re)Constructing the archive: A regional perspective on performance histories – John Bennett: More is less: Public profile and academic representation in contemporary British theatre – Catherine Haill: Accidents of survival: Finding a place in the V&A’s theatre and performance archives – Amanda Card: Feeling for dancing hidden in the archives of the dead – Matthew Reason/Jules Dorey Richmond/Victoria Gray/Nathan Walker: Performance, documentation and the archive within the institution – Glen McGillivray: Still. Not seen: Photography and the archive under the bed – Kim Durban: Buried treasure: The lidded box and its function – Lisa Warrington: Performance as palimpsest: Leaving a trace memory in site-specific performance – Eileen Curley: Recording forbidden careers: Nineteenth-century amateur theatricals.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

Glen McGillivray lectures in Performance Studies at Sydney University and at the University of Western Sydney. He has had extensive experience as a theatre director and dramaturg and is currently working on a major research project that explores networks of collaboration between artists. In addition to this work, he is researching a book that explores the genealogy of the theatrical metaphor.


«[...] McGillivray has produced an outstanding collection, which is marked by rigorous scholarship, and political topicality.» (Glenn D’Cruz, Australasian Drama Studies 63, 2013)