From the most important productions of Shakespeare to rare in-depth footage focusing on the work of Samuel Beckett, Theatre in Video, when complete, will offer more than 500 hours of online streaming video, available electronically for the first time. With live television broadcasts of New York productions from the 50s, revivals of classic works and experimental performances from the 60s and 70s, as well as important contemporary performances, Theatre in Video covers a wide range of 20th century theatre history. Unlike Hollywood adaptations, these are the actual original productions, captured and recorded while performed for a live theatre audience.
The collection aims to begin in the 1930s and will progress through the 20th century with videos covering the work of the Group Theater and Brecht's Berliner Ensemble. Performances from the 40s and 50s will cover works by William Saroyan, Thornton Wilder, Maxwell Anderson, for example, as well as many works by members of the renowned Actors Studio. From the 60s are performances by Jerzy Grotowski's Polish Laboratory Theatre and Joe Chaikin's Open Theatre. Moving into the 70s, the database includes productions from Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival, as well as the BBC's ambitious productions of every play in the Shakespeare canon. A broad range of contemporary productions will include, for example, works by the Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Wooster Group, Robert Wilson, and Richard Foreman. Both Broadway and off-Broadway productions are represented in each decade.
The writers and actors will also span a wide range of periods and nationalities. Some of the authors represented include Sean O'Casey, Jean Cocteau, Derek Walcott, John Millington Synge, Voltaire, August Strindberg, Moliere, D.H. Lawrence, Elie Wiesel, Aeschylus, Anton Chekov, Jean Genet, Jean Giraudoux, Sophocles, Alfred Jarry, Frederico Garcia Lorca, John Osborne, Racine, George Bernard Shaw, Heinrich von Wasserstein, Lanford Wilson, George S. Kaufman, Robert Sherwood, Sidney Kingsley, Maxwell Anderson, A.R. Gurney and Richard Sheridan. The performers include Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Faye Dunaway, William Hurt, Robert Redford, Sissy Spacek, Sir John Gielgud, Derek Jacobi, Helen Mirren, Anthony Hopkins (the future Hannibal), Ben Kingsley, Juliet Stevenson, and Zoë Wanamaker, to name just a few.
When complete, Theatre in Video will contain more than 350 full-length plays and documentaries.