Eva del Rey

The Audio-visual Collection of Performance Documentation at the British Library

The Drama and Literature Recordings section of the British Library aims to collect, preserve and make available performance documentation across performance genres.

Donated collections include unpublished recordings such as the Forced Entertainment and Neil Bartlett video archives and commercial products like the Digital Theatre collection of multi-camera recordings of theatre productions.

The Library also has an ongoing programme of audio documentation of performing arts and spoken word, which began in 1963. This comprises shows and post-show talks, academic symposiums, interviews, poetry readings and more.

Since the 1990s we have supplemented this programme with video documentation of fringe theatre and live art performances, made initially at the Institute of Contemporary Arts and subsequently in other venues such as Battersea Arts Centre and the Chelsea Theatre.

All the recordings are listed on the Library’s Sound and Moving Image online catalogue

Access to the collections is free, mostly by appointment at the Library premises, with limited online availability subject to copyright considerations.

In this presentation I will be talking about collections, cataloguing and preservation practices, documentation criteria and challenges of recording.

Eva del Rey: Dr Eva del Rey is curator of Drama and Literature Recordings and Digital Performance at the British Library London. Before she came to London, Eva trained and performed in Barcelona in fringe theatre, and studied Social and Cultural Anthropology. Eva wrote her PhD thesis on life stories and contemporary history based on ethnographic fieldwork and recorded video interviews, conducted in Yunnan Province, China. Eva is Advisory Board Member of Europeana Space, Best Practice Network: a European Union-funded project dedicated to the creative re-use of digital culural content (see: http://www.europeana-space.eu/).