This prototype edition features a representative range of dramatic records, collected by Jessica Freeman, that pertain to the Fortune theatre on Golding Lane, north of the London City wall. The Fortune was built in 1600 and operated until the mid-17th century. Our prototype does not include every Fortune theatre record that will eventually appear in Dr Freeman’s Middlesex collection in the REED series, but the records here have served as a useful sample for development of a new online production environment for REED editorial staff, experimentation with TEI markup of complex texts, digital indexing of persons and places, and linking with related data in REED’s Early Modern London Theatres and Patrons and Performances websites.
The public interface for this Fortune Theatre Records project is intended to share initial results of our collaboration and to give our users an early glimpse of some aspects of the form a digital REED collection might take.
We are pleased to make freely available the Fortune Theatre TEI records in a ZIP file on the REED information website, linked here. The data is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Fuller details of the project are provided in the partners’ white paper, also on the REED website. We welcome contact and suggestions.
The Fortune Theatre Records is a draft selection of dramatic records only, not intended to be as comprehensive or as thoroughly vetted as a typical REED edition. The Records text has been transcribed according to long-established REED editorial principles and checked in paleographical detail. Document descriptions and textual notes are here linked directly with their records. However, the user will not find a full Introduction, Translations, or Glossaries and the Endnotes remain a work in progress, so only those drafts contributed by the editor are linked with their records.
At present, as part of our experimental process, we have enabled searching the Records via only selected facets for people, places, troupes, and play titles on the left side of the screen.
The Records of Early English Drama (REED) is an international humanities research project whose aim is to find, transcribe, and publish original records of English dramatic and other secular entertainment from earliest times to 1642. From the beginning, the principal product of the REED enterprise has been the conventional print volume, now numbering 33, with another set of volumes in production for Civic London to 1558. REED’s main focus has, of necessity, been directed toward activities related to the ongoing, regular production of volumes in the series. This has meant that only limited resources, both in terms of staff time and funding, could be allocated to implementing the digital transformation of its primary output, which REED sees as a critical change, essential to its future role in scholarship.
In recent years REED has been working in deliberate steps towards the transition from a traditional editorial project producing a print series to a digital humanities-oriented project producing REED Online, a web-accessible repository of all REED’s resources. At present there are two research and educational datasets available as open access websites: Patrons and Performances, launched in 2003 in partnership with the University of Toronto Libraries, and Early Modern London Theatres, launched in 2011 in partnership with the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London (DDH) and the University of Southampton. REED is now determined to revolutionize its production processes in order to deliver forthcoming county and city collections as fully searchable, interactive online editions linked with other resources on the internet and integrated with its own current digital projects, Patrons and Performances and EMLoT.
There has been considerable exploration of the components of this digital future, first through a NEH Digital Humanities Startup grant (2007–9) and then thanks to a SSHRC-funded 2011 workshop ‘Envisioning REED in the Digital Age’ that brought together 20 digital humanists to advise and bring fresh perspectives to the challenge of moving REED fully online. The 2012 grant from the Mellon Foundation for the Fortune Theatre Records prototype has amply demonstrated and tested some of the essential features of the online editorial production processes and moved REED significantly closer to realizing its digital goals.