Virtual Study represents the culmination of the Theatre Institute’s prior work in the area of digitising and establishing databases of its collections. Virtual Study is founded on two large databases—the Verbis database by the KP-SYS company (used by the Library and Bibliography Department) and the Divadlo database developed for the Information and Documents Department (theatre productions, video library, theatre events, key figures, stage plays). The related databases (photographs, scenography) provide direct access to digitised items.

The electronic processing of our collections received significant support from several grant projects. The most significant achievement in this area was the complete inclusion of information on Czech theatre productions since 1945 and the digitisation of nearly 180,000 images from our documentary collection, performed in 2008-2011 as part of the project ‘Preserving and Presenting the Cultural Heritage of Czech and World Theatre’, which was made possible by a grant from Norway through the Norwegian Financial Mechanism.

Virtual Study provides comprehensive access to information and the digitised resources in our databases. These include a library catalogue with a research module and user account administration tool, an extensive bibliographic database of articles linked to the full texts of articles (accessible only via the Institute’s internal network), a video library, a database of Czech theatre productions since 1945, a database of theatre photographs containing 198,202 digitised images, and a database of scenographic items and documentation containing copies of 21,367 stage and costume designs.

In the process of digitising our collections and making them publicly accessible, we made sure to observe the provisions of Act No. 121/2000 on copyright protection. For this reason, some digitised materials cannot be made available via the internet, but are available to registered researchers for study purposes at the offices of the Arts and Theatre Institute. This mainly concerns digitised items published after 1900, some designs in the scenographic collection, and photographs for which we were unable to obtain publishing permission from the copyright holders. These items are labelled accordingly on the internet. Anyone interested in studying these materials may do so in the study rooms of the ATI.

Resources accessible via Virtual Study:


Other electronic resources of the Theatre Institute

Project coordinator: Ondřej Svoboda, ondrej.svoboda(at), +420 224 809 164

As the institute for the performing arts, VTi is willing to take up its role in the preparation for this round of subsidies. Through facts and figures, our research provides an objective description of the current practice and policy in the performing arts in Flanders, placing it in a historical perspective and an international context. With this factual description, it provides an initial impulse for a debate about the ways forward for this performing arts practice and policy. What are potential pathways for a more sustainable practice within the performing arts and the policy that governs this?

The results of our research are published in these two field analyses:

Metamorphoses. Performing arts in Flanders since 1993 (2007)
Ins & outs. A field analysis of the performing arts in Flanders (2011)

For an overview of the most important producing companies in Flanders, visit the ‘Producers‘ section on the VTi website.

VTi also offers recent outlines of the Flemish performing arts landscape.


Children’s and youth performing arts

The Flemish children’s and youth performing arts are a prized export. In the 2009-10 season Flemish youth productions were presented in other European countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, France, Austria, Great Britain and Denmark, as well as further afield, in Canada, the United States, and even Australia and New Zealand. Both established names and new faces are doing well internationally.

Download the attachment to read more.



The Flemish theatrical landscape is a rich and varied field with an unrivalled dynamism. The driving force behind this dynamism is rooted in the developments of the eighties, when theatre-makers like Jan Fabre, Jan Lauwers, Jan Decorte and many others set their sights on the very essence of theatre, namely the concept of theatrical representation. Add to this the absence of a clearly defined canon or tradition, and the structural influence of performance art on theatrical practice, and you get a fundamentally different vision of the role of the actor.

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 Contemporary dance from Flanders is a household name in the international dance world, and it has been exactly that for more than 20 years already. It is, however, becoming more and more difficult to make an accurate description of this so-called ‘Belgian style’. It used to be all about intense movements and odd, often black clothing, wearing sneakers and boots while dancing, and lots of chairs on stage. Today, choreographers such as De Keersmaeker, Vandekeybus, Platel or Fabre are still highly regarded and important.

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Photo: Nisran Azouaghe.

Flanders Arts Institute

Flanders Arts Institute is the support centre for visual arts, performing arts and classical music in Flanders. It aims to be an inspiration, source of knowledge, data provider, fact-checker, facilitator and innovator.

The organisation collects, analyses and publishes data on the arts and policy by consulting with all parties concerned, an active involvement in the field and research into the artistic ecosystem.

It supports the development of artists and art organisations through knowledge sharing. It releases publications and presentations, organises information sessions and provides individual advice focused on the sustainable long-term development of the artistic practice.
Flanders Arts Institute supports internationalisation by organising visitor and exchange programmes and putting spotlights on Flanders abroad.


Flanders Arts Institute
Ravensteingalerij 38, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

Tom Ruette, Head of Information and Data


The main objective of the Centro de investigación y recursos de las artes escénicas de Andalucía (CIRAE) has been to increase knowledge and understanding and to promote the study of history in the Andalusian Performing Arts. In this sense, since the birth of the centre, the audio-visual department has been recording all main events: professional theatre and dance performances, workshops and courses by theatre and dance practitioners, seminars etc. in order to maintain the evolution of our collection for students, researchers and the general public – for both present and future generations. In this context we have since 2007 conducted and recorded 20 Oral Histories’ interviews, about 40 hours’ worth in total, with performing arts’ personalities responsible for, or related to, performances produced in the 60’s and 70’s. Actors, directors, authors, critics, technicians, dancers etc. have all been included. These interviews are full life histories with the emphasis given to the narrator’s own personal experience, and a unique point of view as a source of knowledge.

Archive and documentation
Photo: CIRAE/Fernando Alda

In this database we are collecting, cataloguing and preserving the documentation that is to be the graphic memory of theatre and dance in Andalusia. Programmes, posters, photographs (prints and negatives), press cuttings, costume and set designs… are systematically digitalized and catalogued in our electronic archive (AEI) that holds over 130.000 images from the beginning of the XXth century till today. In near future, it will be available online.

State of the project: in progress, started in 1992

The aim of this plan is similar to the filming project: collecting illustrated feature productions of theatrical and dance performances, training courses, workshops, etc. After being selected, they are incorporated in the performing arts digital archive, where they are catalogued and put at the disposal of the researchers, teachers, and any other person interested.

Currently holding 8,024 photographic reports. We are in the process of digitalizing our audiovisual funds.

State of the project: in progress, started in 2004.

The filming plan aims to record all main events such as professional theatre and dance performances, workshops, festivals… in our region providing a double service both to the companies, who get a free videotape of their work, and to the centre that, being the producer of the videos, has the copyright of these materials.

Currently holding over 7,065 video recordings in all formats: beta, vhs, betacam, 8 mm, and in digital mini dv format.

State of the project: in progress, started in 1999.