Performing Arts Legacy Project

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

Getting Organized

Click here for a downloadable, printable version of our Guide to Getting Organized.

Click the headings below for more on the topic.

Where's My Stuff?

Make a list of the various places where you keep your memorabilia.

Generally, this could be:

  1. Apartment/Home
  2. 2 residences
  3. Storage Unit(s) and where
What Kind of Stuff?

Materials: Here are the items we asked you about in the eligibility survey. It might be helpful to think about what categories of materials you have and separating them accordingly.

  1. audio
  2. choreography
  3. compositions
  4. contracts
  5. correspondence
  6. costume designs
  7. lighting designs
  8.  set designs
  9. educational materials
  10. film
  11. financial records
  12. lighting designs
  13. maquettes
  14.  notes for roles
  15. photographs
  16. playbills/programs
  17. posters
  18. press materials
  19. reviews
  20. scrapbooks
  21. scripts
  22. set designs
  23.  video
  24. 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 we are likely to be working in. This way, we will be able to find things more easily.

  • By room with specifics:
    • 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, this would be the 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, which you will construct with a fellow.

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.
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