GLOPAC performing arts consortium

GSRT is committed to advancing the exchange of ideas among cultures as a source of artistic innovation. Unfortunately, a chronic shortage of resources in the performing arts community forces many artists and arts institutions to skimp on areas that do not produce box office revenue, namely, the development of new and innovative work, education and training, and the preservation and dissemination of rigorous traditional theater disciplines. Few artists and theaters have the resources to employ dramaturgs, or to devote adequate time to research as they prepare projects. Designers primarily devote their research to exhaustive searches of the NY Public Library's Picture Collection; directors depend almost exclusively on their designer's research for their production concept.

GSRT emphasizes educational outreach through the development and distribution of interactive study guides and courses designed to break through cultural isolation. The internet has the potential to provide artists with unprecedented access to global performing arts collections that can inform their research. Storing and indexing digital representations of the performing arts, however, is considerably more complex than with other art forms.

To this end, the Gertrude Stein Repertory Theatre has joined forces with Cornell University as founders and sponsoring partners of the Global Performing Arts Consortium (GloPac). GloPAC is a group of non-profit organizations and individuals linked together through their goals of providing in-depth information about the performing arts of the world and global access to this information through the internet. GloPAC is developing software and standards for digital collections in the performing arts that will allow them to be combined and searched multi-lingually over the internet. GloPAC draws on research and technical expertise made available by the Cornell Institute of Digital Collections, a division of Cornell devoted to advancing the state of the art in shared digital collections of textual and multimedia material.

GloPAC is significantly expanding artists' access to the practical knowledge required to think beyond the traditional methods, tools and techniques of producing, and encouraging the development of new vocabularies for articulating ideas.

Web study guides, to date, have been limited by the need to use HTML coding, a time-intensive programming process that makes access to theater collections around the world impractical. GloPAC seeks to encode through a database that can receive commands in multiple foreign languages. Using a central database to receive, coordinate and distribute information will facilitate theater artists in working across cultures. Over the coming year, GSRT and GloPAC collaborators will work with programmers, Web designers, historians, translators and archivists to structure multi-language, dual-alphabet Performing Arts Databases (PADs) that will include audio and video images drawn from collections of museums, libraries and individuals around the world. Specifically, GSRT will coordinate and refine Russian-to-English and Japanese-to-English translations of data entry forms, web page designs, search menus, archive catalogues and timelines.