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

Getting Organized

Where’s My Stuff?

Make a list of the various places where you keep your career memorabilia. Generally, this could be:

  • Apartment/Home
  • Multiple residences
  • Storage unit(s)
What Kinds of Stuff?

Materials: Here are the items we’d like you to document. It might be helpful to think about what categories of materials you have and separating them accordingly.

  • audio
  • biographical information
  • contracts
  • correspondence
  • educational materials
  • film
  • financial records
  • notes for roles
  • photographs
  • playbills/programs
  • posters
  • press materials
  • reviews
  • scrapbooks
  • scripts
  • other (please specify briefly)
Where EXACTLY Is My Stuff?

More specifically, create a ground plan for where things are in your main space, the ones you are likely to be working in. This way, you will be able to find things more easily. Make an outline, by room, with specifics, e.g.:

  • Living room – 2 filing cabinets East wall
  • Hall closet: 6 boxes
  • Study – top 3 bookcase shelves
  • On walls of a) hallway, b) living room, c) bedroom
  • Bedroom closet

Then list what kinds of memorabilia are in each place and LABEL each place if possible – if your memorabilia is NOT organized at all, it’s always a good time to start and these categories may help.

If you have materials organized chronologically, it will be helpful to record this as well (see below).

Also note if you have documents electronically.

  • Living room – 2 filing cabinets East wall : Theatre Reviews (1960-1980) (1980-1985) (1985-2000), Correspondence, Playbills, Contracts – Theatre, Film, TV, Teaching ; Financial Records (Taxes-online, folder TAXES 2015, etc)
  • Hall closet: 6 boxes: Box A-scripts; Box B-audiotapes of interviews; Box C-film reels of performances; Box D-dvds of TV shows
  • Study – top 3 bookcase shelves
  • On walls of a) hallway, b) living room, c) bedroom
  • Bedroom closet

By organizing, you may begin to think about the framework you will be creating for our Mapping the Legacy exercise which will be your own personal grid about your professional career.

For example, do you want to organize your story by decade, by production, by kinds of work – musicals, drama, readings, etc? By kind of venue, by location/city/country? Do you want to organize by your work as an actor, director, playwright, teacher, singer, dancer, etc? Starting in what year? To the present?

Identifying My Stuff

For materials without obvious identifiers (photos, dvds, notes for role, etc), this would be time to identify them on a separate list or on the back of the object. And to include a note about the condition of the object since you may want to create a list of fragile objects which need scanning first.


  1. Photos – location, year, subjects in photo (L to R) and if a significant event like King Lear or a Protest March for XXX
  2. DVDs – Songs from/Score of A Little Night Music (your name and role, copyright year, publisher)
  3. Notes: Note for role of Brutus in Julius Caesar, Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Ontario, CA, June-July 1975.

© 2017 Research Center for Arts and Culture/The Actors Fund