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.
The collection is open for research use. Archival materials from this collection other than DVDs must be used in the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library's Irving and Margery Morgan Lowens Special Collections Room during SCPA’s operating hours. Please contact the curator for an appointment.
DVDs from this collection are accessible to the public any time at the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library at the University of Maryland during library hours. WAPAVA recordings do not circulate and must be viewed on library equipment. Please present the call number for the chosen video, and a photo ID to the Circulation Desk and ask for assistance.
Copyright was not transferred to the University of Maryland with the gift of any copyrighted materials. All rights remain with the creators and rights holders. The University of Maryland Libraries is granted permission for the use in scholarly research by the Libraries’ patrons under fair use in Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act.
Video materials from this collection may not be duplicated. To inquire about duplication of non-video materials for research or for publication, please contact SCPA’s curator.
85.50 Linear Feet
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.
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.
This collection is organized into five series.
Part of the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library