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

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

Before you get started, we recommend exploring examples of professionals’ grids by browsing other PAL sites.

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. Asking yourself, “ What do I want to save/to tell/to pass on?” and then “What have I got? What do I need to find?” will help you begin. See our Guide to Getting Organized to get your materials in order.

Some people have “given everything away.” Still, they retain their stories, can research the context of the period around things in those stories, and can link to audio, video, library collections to flesh out their stories. Do you primarily work in one (theatre) or across several (theatre, music, and/or dance)?

How do you want to organize your professional work?

  • By decade?
  • By date(s) of performance, event, etc.?
  • By theme?
  • By artistic field – musicals, drama, theatre, film, dance, etc.?
  • By periods in theatrical history?
  • By geography (regional, local, national, international)?

What memorabilia do you have (or what can you access)?

  • Audio
  • Biographical information
  • Contracts
  • Correspondence
  • Educational materials
  • Film
  • Financial records
  • Notes for roles
  • Photographs
  • Playbills/programs
  • Posters
  • Press materials
  • Reviews
  • Scrapbooks
  • Scripts
  • Video
  • Other

Create key words so that work can be accessed according to these. Examples: drama of protest, poetic interpretation, protest art, etc.

Identify topics in addition to performance you want to include, such as:

  • Important teachers, mentors, companies
  • Performing techniques
  • Career entry options
  • Particular challenges and opportunities: Examples: Creative block, physical modifications
  • Marketplace Judgments: grants, awards, fellowships, financial assistance, representation by managers, agents, publicist
  • Tips to include or watch for in contracts
  • Working in the profit vs the nonprofit sector, institutions.
  • What about interviews – radio, television, live?

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