Theatre Makers Asia (TMA) is an online archive being developed by the National University of Singapore in collaboration with theatre practitioners. Focusing on the work of major theatre makers in the region, TMA expands the inter-Asian circulation of their aesthetic influence through the following integrated components:
- Streaming videos of full video recordings
- Accompanied by the original script and its English translation
- Related materials including stage photos, programmes and video footage of rehearsals
- Data of each production in 5 languages
When completed, the archive will contain a collection of productions by influential theatre makers from Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia, which span some of the most significant practices in the region.
TMA belongs to a larger online archive portal, Asian Intercultural Digital Archives (AIDA). AIDA consists of three digital archives of performances, each of which has a unique and distinctive subject and features. The oldest and the most developed of the three is the Asian Shakespeare Intercultural Archive (A|S|I|A, http://a-s-i-a-web.org), which currently contains 52 Shakespeare-related productions created in East and Southeast Asia. Focusing on the intercultural reach of the productions, A|S|I|A is designed as a multilingual online archive in which the scripts and data are translated into 4 languages (English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean). The second archive is the Contemporary Wayang Archive (CWA, http://cwa-web.org). CWA’s collection covers the range of contemporary practices of Wayang Kulit performances in Java, which demonstrate negotiations between the traditional conventions and contemporary innovations.
TMA, in contrast, aims to examine and experiment in the possibility of digital archives as a platform for collaborative research on and creative responses to works that marked milestones in the history of contemporary theatre in East and Southeast Asia. The video player of the archive is equipped with a Notepad in which users can enter their comments on a specific moment of the video. Any user may respond to these comments through the Notepad, thus generating virtual online discussion. The project is planning to extend the capacity and flexibility of TMA as an online collaborative platform and to equip the archive with user tools to maximize the creative potential of digital archives.