Bringing Exploring archival research, performance practice, and historical teaching together in the study of the Performance in Canada. This first stage of the project focuses primarily on Ontario, with an open invitation and plans to accommodate work from across the country.
The site showcases the a range of research and theatrical projects created by Professor Stephen Johnson, his past and present students, and colleagues based at the University of Toronto's Centre for Theatre, Drama and Performance Studies. Primarily dedicated to historical research in theatre and popular performance in Britain and North America during the long nineteenth century, here you'll find a Canada, by any means possible:
An Artifacts Virtual Museum Gallery exhibits interpreting documents and artifacts from collections and archives, providing imagery and essential information, including links to (actual) archives, and additional information that helps to understand the document, and the performance event it represents. We begin with artifacts from Ontario in this first step toward a national project, but welcome examples from the rest of Canada.
An Oral History Gallery documents interviews with theatre artists in discussion with researchers, in particular discussing training, preparation, rehearsal, and career milestones, in the cause of building an archival resource for the better understanding of theatre and performance in Canada. This part of the site is not restricted to Ontario, for the simple reason that theatre is an itinerant activity, that knows no boundaries.
A Performance Practice Gallery documents explorations by researchers in the performance of historical (and more recent) theatrical idioms, in the belief that the attempt to re-create and to experiment, working with practicing theatre artists, helps to better understand the context and intention of historical events. This part of the project is not restricted to Ontario, even at this early stage, because, like artists, theatrical idioms no know borders. That said, we acknowledge that all culture is local, and all documentation will emphasize specific historical events where possible.
A Southern Ontario Database of Performance gathers and records information on performance in 'Canada West,' as Southern Ontario used to be called. Drawn from archives and especially period newspapers, this database is housed on the University of Toronto's Robarts Library website, and allows researchers to search and map the movements of performers, troupes, and acts/songs, as well as providing information on venues. Primarily focusing on the 'long' nineteenth century, this database also includes all artifacts exhibited here, wherever they are from. There is more information on the site itself.
We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Faculty of Arts and Science of the University of Toronto, and the Department of English and Drama at the University of Toronto Mississauga.