Welcome to the The Williamsburg Theater Project

The Williamsburg Theater Project (WTP) aims to create a portrait of movie-going—and cultural life more generally—in the "Colonial Capitol," Williamsburg, Virginia, USA, starting in about 1900 and running to the present. Many of us envision Williamsburg as a place lodged in the late eighteenth century, but of course, beside being a museum (founded in 1926), Williamsburg has always been a fully functioning, ordinary, mid-sized, mid-Atlantic town. As such, it has had a fully modern, twentieth- (and now twenty-first-) century cultural scene, and that has included a lively movie-going scene.

The Project, once fully developed, will have several parts. The core is a database, fully searchable, of all the movies ever shown in Williamsburg, at the several cinemas that have been in business in town. This database, gleaned from the local newspapers (primarily The Virginia Gazette) also contains information about other advertised cultural events like concerts, art shows, and literary events, as well as contextual information about events of the day. To start delving into the WTP, click on any of the decades in the timeline at the top. The timeline will let you zoom in an out of different temporal perspectives: a decade, a year, a month. If you're looking for a particular film or event, click search films or search events at the top right. At the moment, the WTP has information about thousands of films and events. The project is being actively developed. Much more information about movies will be added in spring 2007, and new features to access and analyze the WTP's data will be added in the coming months. If you have a comment about the WTP, we encourage you to write us at iaknig@wm.edu.