Basic Statement for Gatherings--Archival and Oral Histories of Canadian Performance:
We are interested in developing an infrastructure, archive, publication, and online presence that promotes the interests of documenting the history of performance in Canada.
We wish to be known as a service organization, that will complement and (in effect) provide 'the glue' for the array of projects in this area that already exist, and that we hope we can encourage to exist with our encouragement and support.
We want to develop this study in a number of areas that are often neglected, leading to a more complete understanding of how performance pervades and informs the many cultures that share this country, in particular:
-- performance in all regions of the country, including rural areas, smaller urban centres, less populated areas. There has been a focus to date on performance in larger urban centres.
-- performance of all genres and idioms, including the commercial, such as vaudeville, burlesque, and circus; community-supported performance of all kinds, including festivals, street performances, traditional performances, performances by groups for their own social benefit and for outreach; performances by a full range of indigenous, immigrant, refugee and settler communities; and more generally, performances that are not a part of the mainstream study of the theatrical touring and production industry.
Our focus is on the development of two kinds of archive, the documentary and the oral history, with the goal to promote archives that are not normally consulted as repositories of information about performance, and interviews with citizens who would not normally be asked about their own performance histories.
We wish to be seen as an organization providing support to those in the broad community--university, local-history, institutional--as individuals pursue the history of performance related to their own lives.
Examples of the range of this project can be found in the descriptions of the projects proposed by our Co-Investigators and Collaborators, and all those contributing to our exploratory Pilot Projects. All Exhibits and materials share the goals of promoting archives for organizations which made use of performance as a part of their community-building, support for members, and outreach, such as the Canadian National Institute for the Blind and the Girl Guides of Canada; documenting historical performances not normally included in such studies, such as community dances, performances in schools, churches and service clubs, and at annual celebrations and commemorations; and interviewing a full range of participants in such events, including technical support, and audience members.