The East London Theatre Archive (ELTA) project is the culmination of a two-year digitisation project funded by JISC. The project was led by the University of East London (UEL) with technical delivery at the Centre for e-Research (CeRch) at King's College London. The project began in March 2007; the website was launched in March 2009 and the project ended in June 2009.
Collaborations between Higher Education, the heritage sector, theatres and theatre companies and community organisations were intrinsic to the success of this project. The project clustered and digitised collections of theatre ephemera from different theatre museums, organisations, venues and private collectors. 3,368 archive items were digitised, creating circa 15,000 images and related metadata, which are made available online.
During this project partners did not focus solely on East London theatre's best known genre - 19th century music hall, but explored its many narratives. V&A Theatre Collections provided material sourced from 19th and early 20th century `lost' theatres, which have now disappeared. UEL selected and digitised material of theatres that still exist, with a focus from 1970 to the present day. In addition, `themed' essays were written by Catherine Haill of the V & A and John Earl, a building historian, to provide context. A conference, The East End Seen Though Performance, was held at the V&A Sackler Centre.
In creating digital images and preserving them, the project culminates in a significant resource which provides an opportunity to discover and debate East London theatre history from 1827 to the present day. In doing so the project helps further our understanding of this period and region, and thus provides a platform for further debate and collaboration.
The digital images and appropriate metadata are easy accessible on the ELTA website, which was officially launched on the 4th March 2009.
- JISC Final Report (2.5MB PDF)
East London Theatre Archive