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James J. Taylor collection of the Washington Area Performing Arts Video Archive

 Collection 0008-SCPA
The James J. Taylor collection of the Washington Area Performing Arts Video Archive (WAPAVA) documents a comprehensive range of theatre productions, nationally active local dance companies, and discussions featuring contemporary creative artists. Founded and sustained through the individual efforts of videographer Jim Taylor, WAPAVA began as a one-man-show on a small budget and now contains over a decade of performance practices and performing arts history in the Washington, DC area. By the time Taylor died on February 10, 2005, the collection he created had surpassed 400 titles and still continues to grow. Productions are found in the Libraries main catalog by doing an Advanced Search and including the term "WAPAVA" in a search field. The collection also includes programs, press kits, and other documents relating to these productions. Please contact the curator to view these additional materials.

Dates

  • 1981-Present
  • Majority of material found within 1995-Present

Use and Access to Collection

The collection is open for research use.

Duplication and Copyright Information

Materials from this collection must be used in the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library's Irving and Margery Morgan Lowens Special Collections Room, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Contact the curator for an appointment: http://www.lib.umd.edu/scpa/contact

Extent

85.50 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The James J. Taylor Washington Area Performing Arts Video Archive contains over 700 recordings documenting a comprehensive range of theatre productions, nationally active local dance companies, and discussions featuring contemporary creative artists. In addition to audio-visual materials, the collection also contains programs and recording permission forms from actors involved in recorded productions, as well as administrative documents from the WAPAVA Executive Board, select books regarding theatre and videography, and a plaque memorializing the James Taylor Archive at the University of Maryland.

Administrative History

The Washington Area Performing Arts Video Archives (WAPAVA) was established in 1991 by James J. Taylor with the goal of creating and preserving a videotape collection of stage performances in the Washington D.C. area. Taylor worked previously as a city planner in St. Louis, Missouri, and Cleveland, Ohio from the 1960s to 1970s. In 1977 he left his career to become a stage manager at Stage 70, which later became the Round House Theatre, in Montgomery County, Maryland. Taylor learned videography while directing programs at a public-access cable channel, and later secured permission from the Actors' Equity Association in New York City to tape stage performances in Washington. His recordings of area theatre and dance performances from 1993 formed the bases and the bulk of the WAPAVA, which was originally stored in the Washington, D.C. Public Library system. In December of 2004, the archive was donated to the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library. Just prior to Taylor's death on February 10, 2005, the archive was renamed the James J. Taylor Washington Area Performing Arts Video Archive in his honor.

WAPAVA is one of only two active Actors' Equity-approved video performance archives in the United States. Since 1993, over 700 professional productions representing a cross-section of Washington-area theatres from large to small have been recorded. Performances are selected for consideration by an Advisory Board consisting of theatre professionals, critics, academics, and theatre lovers. Criteria for selection include historical and educational value, and special consideration is given to premieres, unique events, community interest, and contributions of particular value by performers, directors, and designers.

Arrangement

This collection is organized into five series.
  1. Administrative Documents
  2. Programs
  3. Recordings
  4. Books
  5. Memorabilia

Related Material

- African Continuum Theatre Company records, Special Collections in Performing Arts, University of Maryland Libraries. finding aid

- Studio Theatre records, Special Collections in Performing Arts, University of Maryland Libraries. (finding aid)
Title
The James J. Taylor collection of the Washington Area Performing Arts Video Archive
Status
Completed
Author
Nicole Horstman, March-May 2014; revised April 2019, Vincent J. Novara
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Library Details

Part of the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library

Contact:
University of Maryland Libraries
8270 Alumni Drive
College Park MD 20742 United States