Much of the material and information on the site is based on Helen Rickards A Handspan of 25 Years (unpublished) which was researched, collated and written from 2004 to 2008. A great deal has been written, or re-written, for the gloriously greater capacity of website publication. Some of the material from the manuscript, likely to be a better read in a book, is not included at this time, pending its future publication in e-book format.
From 2009 - 2014, Helen collated, captioned and catalogued Handspan's photographic records, now added to the Arts Centre Melbourne's Performing Arts Collection, and trawled some private collections of Handspan members to extend the illustrative material originally selected for the proposed manuscript, for inclusion in this online format.
Maeve Vella joined the project to set up the technical side of the website and to restore and organise the photo collection for viewing onscreen.
The site relies mainly on open-source wiki software from TikiWiki, designed for collaborative online projects. The wiki format provides ease of editing and plenty of built-in tools for organising and cross-referencing a large amount of content.
The work of other Handspan archivists has also contributed to the development of the site:
- LIzz Talbot catalogued Handspan's production details to accompany the Handspan Theatre Collection in the Performing Arts Collection at the Arts Centre, Melbourne. Her publication The Productions Created by Handspan Theatre (2003) is the foundation for the detailed data tables on the pages of this site.
- Andrew Hansen undertook the digitising and cataloguing of Handspan's archival videotape and film footage - about 270 hours of material (2013 -14) and this means its now possible to edit short illustrative clips of Handspan's work for addition to the website chronicles.
- Andrew Bleby has reviewed and logged the video material for some of the shows in the collection and his edited clips are included as samples on the relevant show pages.
- Since Handspan closed, the Performing Arts Collection at Melbourne's Arts Centre has facilitated and supported the collection of Handspan Theatre's documents as well as its artefacts. All the original photographic material on the site, as well as the documents on which its research is based are held in the Collection. This catalogued material has been generously made available to website authors for extended research.
- Photographers, video makers and artists have been credited in image captions unless unknown and permission has been sought for the inclusion of all media material on the site from copyright owners. Stephen Hall has kindly contributed high-resolution scans of his photographs of Secrets and Cho Cho San and Jeff Busby has supplied additional photographs from his archives for Lift 'Em Up Socks.
- Many other Handspan members and friends have generously contributed material from their private collections.