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Washington Area Performing Arts Video Archives (WAPAVA) Collection

Identifier: 047

Scope and Contents

Collection consists of recordings (VHS Video and DVD) and programs from selected local theatre performances.


  • Creation: 1995-2016


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Use

Materials in this collection are viewing copies only and cannot be duplicated or loaned to any party without the written permission of WAPAVA.

Biographical / Historical

The Washington Area Performing Arts Video Archive (WAPAVA) was founded in 1993 by James J. Taylor who wanted to preserve live theatre performances. Taylor, a retired city planner turned actor, secured the permission to document performances through an agreement with the Actors’ Equity Association to produce a single camera, one take, recordings of selected performances each year. Performances to be recorded are selected by the WAPAVA advisory board and are selected for their historical and educational value in support of the archive’s mission as a resource for theatre professionals, scholars, students, and educational programs.


54 Linear feet

108 Boxes


Performances are arranged chronologically and then alphabetically under that. A database maintained by WAPAVA lists performances by name, date, theatre/troupe name, and run dates for the performance.

Custodial History

Yearly deposits from WAPAVA have occurred since 1995. In 2004 agreement between WAPAVA, the Library, and the University of Maryland’s Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library (MSPAL) established the latter as the primary repository for the collection, with viewing copies to be housed at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.

Related Materials

University of Maryland WAPAVA Videos:

Washington Area Performing Arts Video Archives (WAPAVA)
An inventory of Washington Area Performing Arts Video Archives (WAPAVA) at DC Public Library
Finding aid prepared by DC Public Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the The People's Archive, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library Repository

901 G Street NW
4th Floor East
Washington DC 20001