Participation Guidelines

Performances and Creative Works


Deadline Past

The presentation of your performance or creative work should be similar to the activities expected at a professional fine arts conference or festival. Consult with your faculty sponsor as to what is the most appropriate format for your presentation. Performance or creative work presentations are limited to 40 minutes including time for questions (unless otherwise arranged).

For performance or creative work presentations with a performance component, one possible format is to introduce your performance with a brief (one or two minute) verbal description of what the audience will experience. It is important to remember that the audience will be interested in, but not informed about, a project that you have struggled to create. The structure of your introduction should begin with an overview and/or history such as: The following demonstration of Mime is a replication of the type and style found in France in the 1870's.

Follow the introduction by highlighting what is significant or most interesting about your performance or creative work. In a short period of time, you must guide your audience's experience and appreciation of the work. Summarize your key points/features in your conclusion. Make eye contact during your introduction with a variety of people in the audience. After the entire presentation is completed, allow a few moments for questions.

Consider the use of small excerpts or incremental elements of the performance in your introduction. These can be effective devices for guiding an audience's appreciation. Limit the number of examples (probably 2 - 3 at most).

  • Limit the length of your examples (make them just long enough to make your point and for them to be understood in context).
  • Prepare the examples in advance, especially if they involve performers other than you.
  • If you or other performers are using scores or scripts, prepare separate parts for the examples to smooth the process of finding one's place.

Presentation Tips

Make a detailed outline of your introduction and account for all examples. Practice your introduction and revise it so that both it, and the performance, fit in the allotted time. Practice discussing the examples, especially in the context of the introduction. Practice your entire presentation including performance out loud and preferably to an audience and/or videotape. Keep a positive attitude.  Your audience is generally sympathetic and interested both in what you have to say and in your presentation.

If your performance or creative work presentation allows, focus on those that are smiling or offering supportive body language. Avoid distracting gestures and verbal miscues, such as saying "umm," "you know," "like," or "cuz," fumbling with keys or putting your hands in your pockets.

Performance Resources

  • Sheperd, S. (2004). Drama/theatre/performance. (Miller Center Electronic book)
  • Nicola, J. (2002). Playing the audience: the practical actor’s guide to live performance. (Miller Center Basement PN2061.N53 2002)
  • Tschinkel, P. (2001). Laurie Anderson: on performance-Video (Miller Center Circulation Desk NX512.A54L38 2001x)
  • Applied and Interactive Theater Guide
  • The Improv Page
  • Small-Case One-Act Guide Online


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