Digital Reception: Ancient Theatre, Modern Performances, and the Digitalization of an Audio-Visual Archive

Martina Di Stefano, Elena Sofia Capra


In 2000 the CRIMTA (Centro di Ricerca Interdipartimentale Multimediale sul Teatro Antico) was founded at the University of Pavia. Besides promoting various research activities and publications, the Centre owns an audiovisual fund with near a hundred videos of performances and films inspired by ancient dramas. In recent years, the CRIMTA fund has ensured the possibility to consult the videos for both academic and didactic purposes. A composite audience (researchers, teachers, theatre professionals) was thus able to access a valuable collection of materials that are often difficult to find.

From its foundation, however, the role of archives has changed and must deal with the needs of an increasingly international research landscape, as well as with new teaching tools and strategies. Since October 2019, the CRIMTA has been reflecting on the digitization of its holdings. With our paper, we want to illustrate the actions that will lead to the creation of a digital version of the CRIMTA archive. This initiative will be possible in collaboration with the Digital Library Project of the University of Pavia, which is providing for the digitization of some funds from the Pavia libraries. The objective of this initiative is twofold: conservation and access. On the one hand, there is a technical need to preserve the fund, which, otherwise, risks deteriorating and being lost; on the other hand, the digitization would allow greater accessibility of documents, a need which, during the recent sanitary emergence, has become central.

The paper will also provide an opportunity to reflect on the advantages of a digital archive for the performances of ancient dramas, in terms of accessibility and usability, but also some difficulties and limits, not only technical, of such a project.

Parole chiave

Ancient theatre; digital archives; audio-visual archives; classical reception; modern performances.

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