The ATAP Initiation Program places an archivist-documentarian team with a theatre company to assess records of historical value and formally establish archives. The Initiation Program takes place over the course of one month and comprises the elements below. Session times vary depending on number theatre staff, records, etc.

Orientation: Preserving Your Theatre’s Legacy (90-120 minutes during week 1)
This interactive orientation provides an overview of the work ahead and generates a provisional archives mission statement that reflects the theatre’s values. It’s the “theory” before the practice begins.

Assessment (up to 6 hours of appointments during weeks 2-3)
The archivist surveys records and storage spaces and interviews staff about current and desired archival practices. Upon completion of the assessment, the archivist will submit a report with recommendations and follow-up questions to answer before the workshop.

Workshop: Establishing Your Theatre’s Archives (90-120 minutes during week 4)
This interactive workshop introduces and applies basic archival principles and practices based on the recommendations from the assessment. Theatre staff will leave with a refined mission statement, goals for the next quarter, specific tasks to take on immediately, and a formal committee to oversee the work ahead. The documentarian will work with staff to write a case study of the process that can be shared with other theatres and funders.

COST: The Program currently costs $1000: $600 covers archivist/documentarian stipends, and $400 goes toward archival supplies (boxes, hard drives, etc.) for the theatre company and applications for the Program can be submitted at any time. 

In recent years, ATAP has been able to occasionally offer a grant to one theatre company a year to cover the cost of this Initiation Program. Theatre companies interested in applying for this grant should indicate this on their application, and ensure their application is received by the annual grant deadline. Future grant announcements will be publicized and posted on this website. 

Participation in the ATAP Initiation Program is dependent on funding and the availability of trained archivists and documentarians in your area. 

OTHER RESOURCES: ATAP is committed to the preservation of American theatre, and the Initiation Program is one part of this effort. To help you get started on establishing your theatre’s archives with or without this program, check out our other resources and download ATAP’s free guide: Preserving Theatrical Legacy: An Archiving Manual for Theatre Companies.

ABOUT: The American Theatre Archive Project (ATAP) supports theatre makers in archiving records of their work for the benefit of artists, scholars, patrons, and the public. An initiative of the American Society for Theatre Research, ATAP is a grassroots network of professional and student archivists, practitioners, and scholars dedicated to preserving the legacy of the American theatre by developing archival resources for theatre companies.

APPLY: If you would like your theatre to be considered for the ATAP Initiation Program, please fill out the application form.