November 18, 2017
Good afternoon. It is my pleasure and privilege to serve as President of the Theatre Library Association and on behalf of TLA thank you to the ASTR Officers, Executive Committee, Conference Program Chairs, and Conference Program Committee. I begin with a report on the activities of the American Theatre Archive Project on behalf of Steering Committee Chair Eric Colleary.
In 2016 ATAP launched a new website, AmericanTheatreArchiveProject.org, and has been adding resources to it to help theatre companies organize and better care for their records. These have included orientation videos targeted to theatre artists, emergency preparedness resources for theatre companies, and Facebook Live Q&A sessions.
This year ATAP representatives have given presentations on performing arts and archiving at the annual conferences for the National Performance Network and the Society for American Archivists, and have shared resources through the New York Foundation for the Arts and Howlround. ATAP has completed a residency with the Baltimore Center Stage and is beginning a new initiation project with New York’s Medicine Show Theatre. These activities are made possible through the generosity of ASTR and its members, and additional support has been provided by Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas. ATAP is seeking volunteers, and if you are passionate about preserving theatre and its history we want to hear from you.
This fall TLA celebrated its Book Awards at the New York Public Library for Performing Arts. This year the George Freedley Memorial Award for an exemplary work in the field of live theatre or performance was awarded to Peter Benes for For a Short Time Only: Itinerants and the Resurgence of Popular Culture in Early America published by the University of Massachusetts Press. A special Jury Prize was awarded to Edna Nahshon for her title, New York’s Yiddish Theatre From the Bowery to Broadway, published by Columbia University Press. The Richard Wall Memorial Ward for an exemplary work in the field of recorded performance was awarded to William Paul for When Movies were Theater: Architecture, Exhibition, and the Evolution of American Film, published by Columbia University Press and a Special Jury Prize was awarded to Alan Robert Ginsberg for The Salome Ensemble: Rose Pastor Stokes, Anzia Yezierska, Sonya Levien, and Jetta Goudal published by Syracuse University Press. Finalists for both awards are listed on the TLA website, and TLA acknowledges the outstanding service of John Calhoun, Chief Reference Librarian at The NYPLPA Billy Rose Theatre Division throughout his tenure on the Book Awards Committee. TLA is now accepting nominations for our 2018 Book Awards.
This year we also honored Barbara Cohen-Stratyner with the Louis Rachow Distinguished Service in Performing Arts Librarianship Award for her work as the Rosenberg Curator for Exhibitions at the NYPLPA where she developed over 80 exhibitions. We marked the passing of TLA luminary Louis Rachow this August but his legacy will live on in our spirit of service to theatre, libraries, artists, and the public.
TLA is pleased to announce the publication of Performing Arts Resources 33, Theatre Exhibitions, edited by the singular Marti LoMonaco, and we are very excited about our forthcoming Performing Arts Resources on Theatre Architecture, co-edited by Nancy Friedland and Joseph Tally.
Yesterday TLA co-sponsored a field conversation with the ASTR Ad Hoc Committee on Libraries on Instructional Resources in the Twenty-First Century. Thank you to our esteemed panelists Susan Brady, Michelle Liu Carriger, Nancy Friedland, Wade Hollinghaus, and Diana King. We remain committed to strengthening the bonds between research, resources, and instruction.
Throughout the conference I have been struck by the number of people who have tentatively revealed themselves to me and my TLA colleagues as library nerds or archives admirers. You have tiptoed up to us and spoken very softly as if you did not want to be heard or seen. Do not fear, my friends. There is a place for you in the Theatre Library Association. Membership gives you unprecedented access to archives, librarians, subject experts, and collections at the service of your research, performance, and publication. We welcome your participation and thank you for your support.
I would like to extend a personal thank you to Diana King for her leadership this fall in TLA planning and activities – and to all my TLA and ASTR colleagues who offered support – while I focused on recovery after Hurricane Harvey at Houston Community College. As we enter a season of gratitude may we all have an abundance of kindness to extend to those around us. In a conference about extra/ordinary bodies I am mindful of the body constituted by members of community, connectivity in crisis, and calls to citizenry.
And of course, we hope to see many “Bodies in the Ballroom” tomorrow morning at our 8AM plenary, The Body in the Library. Thank you.
ASTR Awards Luncheon and Annual Meeting
2017 ASTR/TLA Conference
extra/ordinary bodies: Interrogating the Performance and Aesthetics of “Difference”