Professional Writing for Performance Assignment #2: Program Note & Shorter Program Bio

Choose one of two preselected videos (one theater-based, one dance-based) and write the director/choreographer’s program note which will introduce that work to an audience that is sitting in its seats 10 minutes before the show begins.  You will find that you’ll need to do research to fully understand the context behind the piece (e.g. locate interviews with the artist(s), or materials that served as the artist(s) inspiration) so that you can describe it to others.  At the same time: submit a program-length version of a biographical statement.  Here you have two options:  you may choose to write a program bio for the artist who created the artwork you viewed for the program notes, OR, you may choose to write a program-length bio based on the bio you wrote for assignment #1. (4 pages double-spaced – three for the program notes and one for the bio – plus two 1 page cover letters, one for first draft and one for revision.  Total pages: 6)


An audience, in their seats with limited time to read before the lights go down, and perhaps looking for guidance on how to view the imminent performance.

Versions submitted

Two, first draft and final, with in-class peer review after first draft

Learning Goals

  • Performing contextual research and incorporating research materials
  • Learning the standard of citation appropriate to this form (in-text attribution)
  • Editing for concision
  • Writing to the inclinations and needs of a particular audience
  • Crafting more complex and active sentences

Pre-draft assignments

  • In-class close reading of sample program notes and bios
  • In-class writing practice “introducing” short video segments
  • In-class research tutorial and exercise
  • In-class technique exercise:  placement of modifiers
  • In-class technique exercise:  parallel structure
  • In-class technique exercise:  avoiding the passive voice
  • Blog assignment on “Roadblocks.”


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