Recapturing history: Community Heritage Grant will digitise NIDA images

13 December 2017

Recapturing history: Community Heritage Grant will digitise NIDA imagesRecapturing history: Community Heritage Grant will digitise NIDA images

Photo: Old Tote Theatre Company production of Macbeth, 1974

For a fourth consecutive year, NIDA has received support from the Community Heritage Grants program, which this year is funding the digitisation of over 4,500 images from the NIDA Archives.

NIDA has received $12,000 in grants to digitise 3,000 colour slides from the 1973–1985 period at NIDA, and 1,500 selected images from the Old Tote Theatre Company. The images will provide a major focus for the upcoming 60th Anniversary of NIDA in 2019 and allow staff, students, alumni and external academics, including theatre researchers, a look into the rich visual history of NIDA.

‘The NIDA Archives hold a wonderful collection of photographs in both analogue and digital formats dating back to 1959,’ commented NIDA Archives and Records Manager, Julia Mant.

‘Since 2003, the collection has been primarily in digital format and can be viewed at NIDA via our digital asset management system. The older, analogue collection is estimated to hold some 250,000 images from 800 productions and 500 events, including images from NIDA’s own productions, the Jane Street Theatre 1966–1982 and the Old Tote Theatre Company 1963–1978, as well as student headshots dating back to 1969.’

‘The collection includes acetate images including 35mm b/w negatives, 120mm b/w negatives, colour slides, contact sheets and assorted sized prints. They are currently arranged by production and event titles, following at least ten years of work by the Archives in sorting and then transferring into archival quality storage,’ she added.

The photos are used by internal staff and students, alumni and external researchers, including theatre academics. However, the sheer size of the analogue collection has limited the accessibility of the collection, which means the Community Heritage Grant for digitisation will make a real difference.

This new project will build on a project undertaken this year. The NIDA Archives has made available for educational and research purposes 15,000 digitised images of NIDA, Jane Street and Old Tote productions taken by noted photographer Robert Walker via our digital media platform. Due to copyright restrictions the images can only be viewed on site at NIDA, but those researching a significant era in Australian theatre (1961–1982) will enjoy browsing the many portrait and production images including many a famous name.

For more information contact the NIDA Archivist, Julia Mant.