Research Center for Arts & Culture
The Actors Fund

Performing Arts Legacy Project

An online platform to document and represent the careers of older performing arts professionals

Preparing to Work with the Grid

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  2. Contributor Manual
  3. 3. Mapping the Legacy
  4. Preparing to Work with the Grid

Helpful Tip: Before you get started, we recommend exploring examples of professionals’ grids by browsing other PAL sites. This will help you conceptualize your site and see how, even within a common structure like Mapping the Legacy, Professionals can customize their Mapping the Legacy according to their unique journey and story.

Getting Started

You, the performing arts professional, will want to articulate the moments, experiences, stories, events, productions, performances, you wish to memorialize, document, save and pass on.

Start by asking yourself two key questions:

  1. “ What do I want to save/to tell/to pass on?”
  2. “What have I got? What do I need to find?”

Click the headings below to explore how to prepare the questions posed above.

What do I have to save/to tell/to pass on?

Some people have “given everything away.” Still, they retain their stories. Ask yourself the following questions as you conceptualize your site and the stories you want to tell.

  1. Is there context of the period around things in those stories that you’d like to explore and share?
  2. Do you primarily work in one medium (ex. theatre) or across several (theatre, music, and/or dance)? How did that transition or fluidity across medium transpire?
  3. How do you want to organize your professional work? What organization best suites your journey and tells the story you want to share?
    1. By decade?
    2. By date(s) of performance, event, etc.?
    3. By theme?
    4. By artistic field – musicals, drama, theatre, film, dance, etc.?
    5. By periods in theatrical history?
    6. By geography (regional, local, national, international)?
  4. What key words connect your work? Examples: poetic interpretation, protest art, feminist theater, etc.
  5. Identify topics outside of your “credits” that you want to include, such as:
    1. Important teachers, mentors, companies
    2. Performing techniques
    3. Career entry options
    4. Particular challenges and opportunities: Examples: Creative block, physical modifications
    5. Marketplace Judgments: grants, awards, fellowships, financial assistance, representation by managers, agents, publicist
    6. Tips to include or watch for in contracts
    7. Working in the profit vs the nonprofit sector, institutions.
    8. Interviews – radio, television, live, etc.
What have I got? What do I need to find?

See our Guide to Getting Organized to get your materials in order. Many times seeing what you have in terms of memorabilia can help shape the stories you want to tell or enlighten to projects that really influenced your journey.

If you do not have much or any memorabilia, do not fret. In our digital age, there are resources that we can use to help find memorabilia to supplement your story should you want memorabilia at all (also an option). Ask yourself:  Are there links or resources to library collections? Interviews (audio or video)? Photos? Articles?

As professionals get ready to work on their Mapping the Legacy, some prefer to write out the information about projects in one place either by hand or on a separate document. If this would be helpful for you, here is a template you can use to help organize this information.

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