History student digitizes over 100 Theatre production posters for TWU’s Archives and Special Collections
"By individually organizing, describing, and scanning each poster I was taken on a tour of TWU’s history."
—Sydney Dvorak, History major
With words by Sydney Dvorak
Last fall, History major Sydney Dvorak helped TWU's Archives and Special Collections establish a record of the history of the Theatre department. “Beyond this practicum being an invaluable professional and academic experience for me, it was also a project imbued with the emotions of finality," wrote Sydney in a blog post for TWU's Norma Marion Alloway Library.
Journey through time
The collection digitized by Sydney includes 122 posters spanning from 1973 to 2021.
"By individually organizing, describing, and scanning each poster I was taken on a tour of TWU’s history," Sydney reflected. "As Trinity grew and changed through the decades, the theatre productions reflected or pushed back on these changes. I hope through my project I have provided a home for the history of TWU’s Theatre Department, and a digital space to relive and remember for those whose lives have been impacted by the theatre closure. I also hope that the material I have gotten to know so well over the last few months can be used well by the community and potential researchers.”
Learning the digital archival process
The process of digitizing all these posters became a rich learning experience for Sydney. She studied the Rules of Archival Description (RAD), the professional standard used by Canadian archivists to define records as well as to describe their context, content, physical characteristics, and relationship to the rest of the archive. "To most this may sound like a boring process, but I have discovered I am one of those nerds that enjoys records management," she shared.
Sydney spent long hours organizing the material, researching any necessary context, and diligently recording accurate descriptions for each item. For a past Theatre production that touched on racist stereotyping, Sydney thoughtfully considered how to archive the item with care, and decided to include a disclaimer to reduce potential harm. She persisted through technological challenges and physical limitations (the scanning equipment was too small to accommodate some of the items) to complete the momentous project.
"Clearly, Trinity has a rich history of theatre," she expressed. "In light of the institution’s recent decision to close the Department of Theatre, I proceeded with this digitization project seeking to honour the legacy of a program that has entertained and challenged our community for over forty years.
The newly digitized TWU Theatre Production Posters collection is now available online through TWU's Archives and Special Collections.
Spring 2022 Theatre production
This semester, TWU Theatre presents Bright Star, a bluegrass musical by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell. Inspired by true events and featuring a Tony-nominated score, Bright Star is a sweeping tale of love and redemption that will get your toes tapping and your heart soaring.
Performances March 15 – April 2 at 7:30 p.m., plus Saturday matinees at 2 p.m. Exact schedule, tickets, and more info at www.twu.ca/theatre.
See also—TWU Art + Design students exhibit artwork at the Fort Gallery in Fort Langley:
About Trinity Western University
Founded in 1962, Trinity Western University is Canada’s premier global Christian liberal arts University. We are dedicated to equipping students to discover meaningful connections between career, life, and the needs of the world. Drawing upon the riches of the Christian tradition, seeking to unite faith and reason through teaching and scholarship, Trinity Western University is a degree-granting research institution offering liberal arts and sciences, as well as professional schools in business, nursing, education, human kinetics, graduate studies, and arts, media, and culture. It has four campuses and locations: Langley, Richmond-Lansdowne, Richmond-Minoru, and Ottawa. Learn more at www.twu.ca or follow us on Twitter @TrinityWestern, on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Trinity Western University is grateful for our Theatre faculty, students and alumni who are talented, dedicated, and godly individuals who have made positive and lasting contributions to the TWU community and to society at large. Program closures, when necessary, are painful decisions, and we can’t underestimate the toll that such decisions have upon our community. Due to a decade long pattern of insufficient enrolment, limited opportunity for enrolment growth in Theatre, and significant operating expenditures relative to tuition fees, TWU made the difficult decision to close the Theatre programs (and MA TESOL program) over a period of three years, allowing time for current students to graduate well.