Digital Performance Archive


The Digital Performance Archive (DPA) was an outcome of an Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB) funded research project led by Professor Barry Smith (then Nottingham Trent University) and Professor Steve Dixon (then Salford University) to undertake a major collection and analysis of digital performance events and developments that occurred during the 1990s. The project was called DRIP-DROP, standing for Digital Resources In Performance-Digital Resources On Performance, and it documented developments in the creative use of computer technologies - from live theatre and dance productions that incorporated digital media, to cyberspace interactive dramas and web-casts. The project led to the publication of an 800-page book: Digital Performance: A History of New Media in Theater, Dance, Performance Art and Installation by Steve Dixon and Barry Smith (MIT Press 2007).

In 2011, with funding from JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee), the analogue videos in the collection were digitised. In 2019, a full catalogue of the collection was prepared and all digital files ingested into the University of Bristol's Digital Asset Management system 'Preservica', in order to preserve the collection's digital content. 

What the collection holds

The collection contains videos, CD-Roms and printed materials, including press cuttings, promotional printed materials and research papers, that were collected during the course of the project, together with project administration papers and webpages from the original DPA project website. View the full collection catalogue (clicking on the underlined Ref No will begin to open up the directory, or 'hierarchy' of the archive catalogue.) All items, including digitised copies of the videos in the collection, are available to view on site at the University of Bristol Theatre Collection.

Further information

The DRIP-DROP project from which the DPA developed was run through the Digital Research Unit (DRU) at Nottingham Trent University. The Unit's Principal Research Fellow at the time, the artist Stelarc, also collaborated with the DRU on a number of significant projects and information on these can be found by following the link to Stelarc's website.

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