Application—The application is intended for theatre companies that would like to apply for the ATAP Initiation Program and is available on the ATAP website. It allows theatres to learn more about the program and self-assess readiness by answering a series of questions about their records.
Assessment—An assessment includes site visits, interviews with staff, and a survey of materials and processes which result in a written report which details the findings of the assessment and provides recommendations for short and long-term plans for moving forward. ATAP’s preliminary assessment is the second step in the three-step ATAP Initiation Program (orientation-assessment-workshop), and provides the theatre with information to gain a basic understanding of the archival needs of the company.
Assessment Report—Upon completion of the preliminary assessment, the archivist assigned to the theatre submits a report that includes a summary of the findings from the interviews and survey, recommendations for moving forward, references to resources that will help them do so, and follow-up questions to answer in preparation for the workshop.
Brochure—The ATAP brochure is currently a 3-fold single sheet (double sided) that can be distributed at the pitch and other occasions. Written for theatre companies, the brochure describes succinctly what ATAP does and why theatre archives matter. It is also available for download from the website.
Committees—ATAP is guided by the work of four Committees, which help develop partnerships, facilitate communication, create guidelines, seek funding, and disseminate best practices. The Steering Committee develops core documents, hones strategic vision, and establishes and maintains key partnerships. The Communications Committee develops and maintains the ATAP website, recruits volunteers, and facilitates communication with members through announcements, the listserv, and progress reports. The Funding Committee identifies, compiles, and applies for national funding and assists teams in applying for local funding sources for the ATAP Initiation Program. The Training Committee develops and supervises archival guidelines, training sessions, and Preserving Theatrical Legacy: An Archiving Manual for Theatre Companies.
“Hot Topic” Seminars—Additional ATAP “hot topic” seminars are being developed for theatre staff who have completed the ATAP Initiation Program or are working on their own archival project. Possible topics include records management, born-digital records, and audio-visual preservation.
Initiation Program– The ATAP Initiation Program is a collaboration between an archivist/documentarian team and a theatre company. It consists of three steps: the orientation, the preliminary assessment, and the workshop. The orientation and the workshop act as book-ends to the assessment during which the archivist and documentarian discuss archival principles and practices and help the theatre create an action plan. ATAP recommends a $1000 budget for the Initiation Program: $400 is paid as an honorarium to an archivist, $200 is paid as an honorarium to a documentarian, $400 goes directly to the theatre to purchase archival supplies and/or fund a portion of intern support.
Interviews—During the preliminary assessment, the archivist/documentarian team conducts interviews with members of the administrative and departmental staff individually or in small groups to become familiar with the history, activities, programs, practices, and goals of the company and to discuss the needs of the company and how the staff envisions a company’s archives being used. A general review of what types of materials are currently kept and how they are housed is also conducted.
Listserv—The Announcements Listserv shares general news and information relevant to the American Theatre Archive Project.
Manual—Preserving Theatrical Legacy: An Archiving Manual for Theatre Companies, a PDF available through the ATAP website, helps theatre companies establish their company archives with or without the assistance of ATAP. It includes information on the importance of archiving theatre, how to build institutional support, archival definitions and principles, archival assessments and surveys, appraisal and disposition, arrangement and description, preservation issues, user access, in-house and public repositories, and ongoing resources.
Member Handbook—The ATAP Member Handbook is intended as an all-in-one place guide for theatre scholars, archivists, dramaturgs, and students to get oriented to the work ATAP is doing. It includes the ATAP mission statement; the project’s history; membership, committee, and team information; an overview of tools and training for ATAP members; an overview of the ATAP Initiation Program; and archival resources.
Orientation—The orientation is the first session in the three-step ATAP initiation program. This session is intended for theatre staff who have already decided to establish an archives, submitted an application to ATAP, secured funding for the ATAP initiation program, and have been paired with an archivist/documentarian team. Before beginning the preliminary assessment, the archivist/documentarian team assigned to the theatre will conduct this 60-90 minute session with as much of the theatre’s staff as possible. This session is an invitation to a conversation, rather than a lecture. Together the theatre staff and ATAP team will brainstorm and articulate archival goals and draft a mission statement, and the ATAP archivist will tell them what to expect during the assessment.
Pitch—The pitch is intended for theatre professionals who are interested in establishing an archives but have not yet committed to doing so. It is a 20-minute lecture and Q&A session that any trained ATAP member can present at a conference, at a community meeting, or to a theatre’s board. After the Pitch, theatre companies can fill out the application and secure funding if they would like to apply for the ATAP initiation program.
Progress Reports—Location-based teams submit monthly team progress reports to share team activities with the rest of ATAP. The ATAP communications committee collects all the team progress reports and combines them into one document for dissemination on the ATAP listserv and website.
Survey—An archival survey determines the amount, form, content, and condition of archival materials produced and housed at the theatre. There are three types of surveys that can be conducted before, during, and after the ATAP Initiation Program. The first survey is the most general and is conducted by the theatre staff when they fill out the ATAP application. The second survey is more detailed and is conducted by the ATAP archivist assigned to the theatre during the preliminary assessment step of the ATAP Initiation Program. The third survey is the most detailed and can be conducted by the theatre staff, with or without an archival consultant, after the completion of the ATAP Initiation Program. Theatre staff can conduct this more detailed survey of boxes/items in the collection that have been identified during the preliminary assessment as highest priority due to their high value, preservation concerns, or general interest.
Teams—There are two types of ATAP teams. Location-based teams self-organize based on concentration of theatrical activity and the particular needs of a given area, whether a city, county, state or region. They carry out the work of ATAP by reaching out to theatres who may be interested in working with ATAP, securing funding for interested theatres to complete the ATAP Initiation Program, recruiting new members, holding meeting to discuss goals and projects, and holding Team Training sessions for new members. Once theatres have applied and secured funding, the location-based team in their region assigns them an archivist/documentarian team to complete the ATAP Initiation Program.
Theatre Contact Tracking Sheet—Team leaders of location-based teams are encouraged to fill out a theatre contact tracking sheet in the form of an Excel spreadsheet to track their progress with theatre companies in their area. A template is available on the ATAP website. Fields include: company name/location/ URL, company contact name/title, email address, phone number, ATAP team/contact, status of archives, and communication log (date, brief description of conversation). Each location-based team is in charge of keeping its own spreadsheet.
Team Training—The ATAP Team Training session lasts for 4 hours and is intended as an introduction for ATAP members who will assist theatre companies in establishing and maintaining archival programs. It covers the ATAP pitch as well as the three steps of the ATAP Initiation Program: the orientation, the preliminary assessment, and the workshop. If available, archivists and/or theatre practitioners who have gone through this process will share their experience with the group.
Workshop—The workshop is the third session in the three-step ATAP Initiation Program. After completing the preliminary assessment, the archivist/documentarian team assigned to the theatre will conduct this 60-90 minute session with as much of the theatre’s staff as possible. Like the orientation, this session is an invitation to a conversation, rather than a lecture. The archivist will introduce basic archival principles and practices that will help the theatre in the initial phase of their archival program. The archivist and documentarian will go over the findings of the preliminary assessment and create an action plan that reflects the mission statement they drafted during the orientation.