Guest Post: When was that show again?

adam1by Adam Barrett

I have a little request for everybody. Put the year on your poster.

I know, I know. BUT THE DESIGN!!! you cry, and I’ve spent enough time balancing typographic brilliance with the enormous list of Fringe dates and times on a poster to feel your pain here. But I also work as an archivist for theatre, and I am eternally grateful when a designer in 1978 thought to include the little things, like the date.

One day, far in the future, you will no longer be a Fierce Indie Theatre Neophyte. One day you will be a Fierce Indie Theatre Veteran. Perhaps even one of the To Be Lauded. And when that happens, you will hire some young keen-but-under-employed actor/administrator/tech geek to Archive your life’s opus. Or somebody will do a masters thesis on your little known early work. Or whatever. Your work will live after the show closes, and whoever ends up putting it all into a spreadsheet will thank you for a small little date, shown in the bottom corner of the poster.

Theatre is ephemeral by nature; the show happens in the room, and only in the room (have you looked at those archival tapes you keep making? They’re not the same as the show, are they?). But as a Community, as an industry, it’s important to remember ourselves after the fact. And part of remembering your work will be remembering when it happened. When a Facebook event has passed, or when your twitter feed has scrolled past into oblivion, how will people remember your work?

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