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THS Announces First Recipients of Thomas R. DuBuque Research Fellowship

news clipartThe Theatre Historical Society of America (THS) is pleased to announce the first recipients of the Thomas R. DuBuque Research Fellowship (TDRF). The recipients were selected by the TDRF Committee, a group of 5 judges drawn from the Board of Directors and THS members.

Due to the generous support of the Springhill Suites by Marriott in Elmhurst, the committee was able to select two recipients this year.  Each awardee will receive up to $750 cash award for travel related expenses, up to $750 (the remainder of the $1,500 award) for amounts customarily charged by THS for research related fees, and complimentary accommodations and transportation at the SpringHill Suites by Marriott in Elmhurst, Illinois. The awardees will travel to Elmhurst to conduct research in the Archives during the 2013 calendar year.

The recipients of the 2013 Thomas R. DuBuque Research Fellowship are:

Dr. Ross Melnick
Assistant Professor, Department of Film and Media Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara
Current book project: Cine Metro: American Film Exhibitors in Global Markets

Summary: The project will focus on research examining how MGM, Paramount, Fox, and Warner Bros. operated movie theatres around the world from Cairo to Calcutta beginning in 1925 in order to secure distribution of their films and attract local moviegoers to American-style cinemas featuring American studio product. During this period, the influence of these theatres’ multi-class admissions policies, the marketing of Hollywood-style premieres (often featuring stars flown to these locations), and the creation of child-oriented moviegoing clubs created an Americanized cinema experience that has continued to this day. Similarly, the influence of American architects like Thomas Lamb (who designed several international Loew’s theatres) on indigenous architecture and the proliferation of the Art Deco and atmospheric styles, respectively, had a dramatic impact on movie theatre design in India, Australia, Egypt, and other nations where American-owned theatres were constructed.

Amy Davis
Award-winning photojournalist
Baltimore Sun
Current book project: Flickering Treasures: Rediscovering Baltimore’s Forgotten Movie Theaters

Summary: Movie theaters, the setting where our culture’s dreams and desires have been projected for a century, provided a portal into a world where moviegoers could escape their everyday lives. Baltimore, a thriving city at the dawn of the movie-going era, had well over 200 movie theaters at different times in the 20th century. At least half of these theaters survive in some form as cinematic ghosts on gritty urban streets. About 60 theater buildings, ranging from theater “palaces” to more modest neighborhood movie houses, will be included in the photo book and display a wide range of architectural styles. Flickering Treasures illuminates these mostly forgotten cinemas through evocative color images that capture their evanescence. An artistic documentary approach uses techniques like selective focus to suggest the transitory, precarious existence of these cultural icons. Each new theater image will be paired with an historic photograph from its heyday, showing the dramatic transformation caused by deterioration, renovation or adaptive reuse.

About Dr. Thomas R. DuBuque and the Fellowship:  The Fellowship, offered for the first time in 2012, was created by the Board of Directors to honor and perpetuate the memory of past THS president, Conclave/Theatre Tour planner, and dedicated volunteer Tom DuBuque. Tom had a lifelong interest in theatres and was a member of THS from 1979 until his death in 2011.  The Fellowship was created to support scholars conducting research in the Society’s archives and collections, to increase awareness of the Archives, and encourage its use. Grants of up to $1,500 are available to students, faculty, authors, and other users who would like to visit the archives for research in support of a publicly available product, such as an article, film, book, or exhibit. Grants may be used to fund travel, copying, scanning, photo reproduction, publication rights, and other research expenses. Preferred projects will involve the study of theatre architecture, theatre architects, and the operation of theatres in the United States.  Completed applications should be sent to the Archive Director no later than November 1st of each year.

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