Project History

The Comédie-Française Registers Project (CFRP) is inspired by an earlier online project devoted to pre-1800 French theater, CESAR (Calendrier Électronique des Spectacles sous l’Ancien Régime et sous la Révolution). CESAR is an online repository of over 400,000 data items covering plays, playwrights, actors, performance spaces and any other information on all types of spectacle in the francophone world between 1600 and 1800. The CFRP seeks to build on the CESAR project by focusing exclusively on the rich administrative archives of the Comédie-Française (CF), the most important theater troupe in France from its founding in 1680 until the French Revolution.

  • 2008: The creation of an initial project prototype based on the daily receipt registers of the Comédie-Française by Massachusetts Institute of Technology historian Jeffrey Ravel and his team of students. Initial collaboration with HyperStudio, MIT’s Digital Humanities Laboratory.
  • 2009: Presentation of the initial prototype to Agathe Sanjuan, the Conservatrice of the Bibliothèque-Musée de la Comédie-Française, and to Christian Biet, Sara Harvey, and Agnès Lamy, the Director and members, respectively, of the Laboratory HAR-Histoire des arts et des représentations at Paris University-West Nanterre.
  • 2010: Intellectual Property agreement signed between the Comédie-Française and MIT governing the use of high-resolution images of the register pages for the 1680-1793 period and the data they contain. The next phase of work begins with a limited team from the HAR at Paris University-West Nanterre (Damien Chardonnet Darmaillacq, Florence Filippi, Sara Harvey et Agnès Lamy). The goal is to establish a data entry protocol. Establishment of partnership with paris University-Sorbonne.
  • 2011: Preparation of funding requests in France (Agence nationale de la Recherche, Ministère de la Culture, Labex) and in the United States (Florence Gould Foundation). Subventions from MIT and Harvard University.
  • 2013: Grants from multiple sources (ANR, Ministère de la culture, Labex Passé dans le Présent, Labex H2H-Arts, IUF et Paris-Sorbonne). Work on full-scale version of the project begins.
  • 2015: Project goes live online.