ARCH – Archival Research and Cultural Heritage: The Theatre Archive of Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio emerged as a research project in two phases.
The first of these was Archivio, a two-year initiative under Dr Eleni Papalexiou and Dr Avra Xepapadakou, made possible by the endorsement and financial resources of the University of Crete and supported by a team of undergraduate students in theatre studies. In the first months of 2012, this small research team began their collaboration with Claudia Castellucci and the other members of the Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio. By the close of 2013, they had completed the classification of a considerable part of the company’s source materials.
The second phase marked the development of a research proposal submitted within the framework of the NSRF-funded action “Aristeia II” under the acronym ARCH. An international scholarly committee evaluated their proposal and selected it for funding at the start of 2014.
Today the ARCH project is implemented by a research team of twenty-four participants. The team comprises lecturers, researchers, graduate and undergraduate students from across various institutions: the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, the University of Crete, the University of Peloponnese, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the Academy of Athens, the Harokopion University, the University of the Aegean, Stanford University and Paris IV-Sorbonne University. Further, experts in the fields of archival and library sciences, informatics, communication, visual design and audio-visual arts assist them as external collaborators. Anna Tabaki, professor of Theatre Studies at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and guest researcher at the National Hellenic Research Foundation, is project co-ordinator.
Running in Italy, Greece and other European countries ARCH aims to conduct primary research in the field of theatre studies. The Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio, the internationally acclaimed theatre company, is at the heart of this undertaking. Research on the artistic work of the company is oriented along two axes: the comprehensive study and analyses of invaluable primary materials and the organisational tasks required for the documentation, digitisation and diffusion of those materials.
The Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio Archive
The archive of the Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio is preserved at the Teatro Comandini, headquarters of the company since 1991. The theatre is located in the historic centre of the Italian city of Cesena, in the province of Emilia Romagna, Central Italy.
The archive includes rare documentary resources of major significance. The most unique and therefore most valuable material is that which concerns the primary creative process such as: dramaturgy (containing plays, scripts and notes), theory (early manifesti, theoretical texts), director’s notebooks and notes, designs, drawings and visual materials.
Apart from creative material, the archive contains five further categories of items, namely photographs, sound and visual archives (original films, videos of performances and rehearsals in analogue and digital format), promotional and publicity material (programmes, flyers, posters, press releases, announcements), press (reviews, interviews, articles, theatre criticism), production material (various technical riders and tour sheets) and administrative documents.
At the current time the archive of Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio is still being processed, and therefore access to it is for the present restricted to the team of the ARCH project.