Cuban Theater Digital Archive

About the CTDA

The CTDA not only serves as a repository for original materials and scholarship on the history Cuban theater, its staff is also engaged in education and outreach to its community of scholarly and artistic users on best practices for documenting and researching theater using digital tools.  CTDA staff has extensive first-hand experience documenting live performance, digitizing theater ephemera, and preparing theater content for the web, and shares its knowledge and tools in the venues below.

Filming Live Performance

CTDA staff is skilled in filming live performance to serve as historical documentation of ephemeral culture, primarily in two and one-camera shoots in a variety of venue types.  The document CTDA Guide to Filming Live Theater provides an overview of both the conceptual approach and practical details involved in documenting theater on tape.  The guide features information on camera position, audio recording, shot selection, editing, and recording equipment used by CTDA videographers.

Digitizing Theater on Tape

The CTDA has established a small yet robust Digital Video Production Lab for the conversion of a variety of video formats to archival video at the University of Miami Richter Library.  The lab is equipped with three Mac Pro work stations and video players capable of playing most current and recent formats of magnetic tape media.  The document CTDA Technical Guide provides a comprehensive overview of standards, procedures, and workflows in place at the University of Miami.

Preservation of Physical Materials

The CTDA's virtual presence is augmented by a partnership with the University of Miami's Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC).  The CHC collects, preserves, and provides access to primary and secondary sources of enduring historical, research, and artifactual value that relate to Cuba and the Cuban diaspora from colonial times to the present.  The CHC has collected numerous papers of theater artists in Cuba and the diaspora, principally the papers of playwrights, designers, performers, directors, and theater companies, many of which have been digitized for online presentation in the CTDA.  Owners of original materials related to the history of Cuban theater are encouraged to consider the CHC as a potential home. In Cuba, you may also contact the Centro de Estudios del Diseño Escénico in Havana or La Casa de la Memoria Escénica in Matanzas. 

Intellectual Property

The CTDA is committed to providing electronic access to digital content related to theater while respecting to the utmost the intellectual property rights and sharing preferences of the community of artists it serves.  Rights issues related to digital content are carefully considered prior to web publication;  however, CTDA staff will comply with all reasonable requests from content owners to take down content they would prefer to protect from broad online diffusion.  To empower artists and other content owners to define the rights associated with their digital content, CTDA staff has worked with University of Miami’s attorneys to finalize an intellectual property policy based on the Creative Commons intellectual property framework.  Contributors of digital video, audio, and visual content related to theater performance can use the CTDA Permission Form to specify whether their materials will be shared with all rights reserved, contributed to the public domain, or according to a specific Creative Commons category.


The CTDA is powered by Romeu, an open source content management system designed especially for the collaborative documentation of theater performance.  Written in Python using the Django content management framework, it was named after the Cuban jazz musician Armando Romeu.  The Romeu system is available for free download.  Potential implementors are cautioned that Romeu's developers have not yet authored user comprehensive documentation of the system, which is still in its alpha development phase.       

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