By Jonathan Bollen
How are theatre scholars sharing information about people, places and performance? This essay considers the current prospects for collaborative research on theatre production in the context of recent developments in the digital humanities. It identifies convergence in the way twelve projects around the world are collecting and organizing information about performance: Abbey Theatre Archives Performance Database (Ireland), AusStage (Australia), Hamm Archives, Brooklyn Academy of Music (USA), Global Performing Arts Database (USA, Singapore, Japan, Russia, China), IbsenStage (Norway), Internet Broadway Database (USA), Staging Beckett (England), Scottish Theatre Archive (Scotland), TheaterEncyclopedie (Netherlands), Theatre Aotearoa (New Zealand), Theatrescapes (Germany), and Toronto Theatre Database (Canada). The essay derives core descriptions for shared concepts from the data models in use, placing emphasis on practical solutions, while recognizing variations in implementation. In the process, it distinguishes four levels of determination for concepts of performance, event, production and work. Recognizing what has been achieved, the article contributes to the prospects of sharing data between projects. It concludes by illustrating how visualizing information on performance opens new horizons of significance for theatre research at scales ranging from local activity to global networks.