Derby Arts and Theatre Association (DATA) was founded in 1986 and registered as a charity a little later. For a brief period, DATA operated an arts centre and cafe in St. Werburgh's Church, Cheapside, Derby. Sometime later "Our Founder" (see right) the late Tony Jaggers (with others) instigated the DATA Diary, which has continued every since.
Another organisation - Derby New Theatre Association (DNTA) - was founded in 2003 and registered as a charity in 2005. DNTA was formed with the purpose of establishing a community theatre in Derby. Although much work was done in the early years, it became clear that establishing a community theatre, run by amateurs, was not going to be a viable proposition. DNTA evolved, therefore, into a lobbying and networking group. It also published, twice-yearly, a leaflet called "Spotlight", publicising amateur theatre productions.
Both charities had as their objectives, educating the public in and developing the performing arts in Derby, and both publicised their members' productions and events. There was also a considerable overlap in the membership of the two boards of trustees. So it was decided that it would be sensible to merge the two organisations under the banner of DATA, which has a broader area of coverage of the performing arts as it includes amateur music and concert groups as well as theatre groups.
At a special general meeting held on 21st November 2017, DNTA members agreed to dissolve the association and charity and to authorise the trustees to apply any remaining property or money by transfer to DATA, being a registered charity with objectives similar to DNTA.
DATA has taken on the lobbying role of DNTA, including making representations to relevant organisations about performance venues. Effectively, DATA has become the only representative body for amateur arts organisations in the Derby area, and consequently the sector now has a stronger claim to be consulted about, and a stronger voice to influence, arts developments in the city.
DATA was founded in 1985 by Tony Jaggers, in the days before the Internet! The Diary Scheme was an arrangement whereby member societies agreed to list each others' events in their programmes.
Sadly, Tony passed away in February 2016. His contribution to amateur performing arts in the Derby area is immeasurable. DATA and The Diary Scheme's continuing success is one way in which his presence in our community is still manifested.