CREATIVE SERVICES FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS: DESIGN • PUBLISHING • MARKETING • CONSULTING

CREATIVE SERVICES FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS: DESIGN • PUBLISHING • MARKETING • CONSULTING

Biography Structure

BIOGRAPHY STRUCTURE

Playbill biographies engage audiences with relevant, informative, and interesting information about you, the artist. A good biography enhances audience awareness of your accomplishments. We assume that every theatre artist has written a playbill biography at least once, with the periodic updates (usually right before the deadline!) for new credits and accomplishments.

Some basic biography suggestions for your next update include:

  • Write with the audience in mind and use an objective reporting approach.
  • Use whole sentences and correct spelling. Try to stay within 100 to 150 words.
  • Write in the third person. (Add any “first-person quotes” toward the end.)
  • Start with your first name and then alternate between your chosen pronouns and first name for variety.
  • Arrange credit lists in a “Character-or-Role in-or-for Production Title (Venue Name)” order.
  • Limit lists of credits to five or fewer items per sentence. More than that becomes a blur.

EXAMPLE:

MARY SMITH
Reno Sweeney
Mary (she, her) is making her Downtown Theatre debut. Favorite roles include Joanne in Company and Jane in Tarzan (Hometown Players), Chrissy in Hair (Musical Playhouse), and Cassie in A Chorus Line (Centerplace Stage). Regional credits include Hello, Dolly! (East Coast Stage) and Medea (Canada Repertory Theatre). Mary is the general sales manager at Stagecraft Lighting and earned a BA in design from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an MFA in theatre communications from American Conservatory Theater. She relaxes by walking Toby, her beloved Chihuahua-terrier mix, and binge-watching Netflix series from Europe. “Much love to John, my Angels, and the rest of this amazing cast.” marysmith.com

SUGGESTED ELEMENTS TO INCLUDE:

  • PRONOUNS: Not required, but listing your preferred pronouns allows you to define yourself and helps others, including the media, properly identify you. Our style is to list pronouns after the first instance of the artist’s name: “Chris (they, their) is…”
  • TRAINING: If relevant. Include full school name, type of degree (BA, MA, MBA, MFA, PhD), and field of study. .
  • AFFILIATIONS: If relevant. Include union memberships and other professional memberships.
  • PERSONAL DATA: Include a sentence about your “day job” employment, family, hobbies, past accomplishments not related to theatre, or something else unique to you.
  • DEDICATIONS OR QUOTES: A message from you to specific others or to the whole audience.
  • WEBSITE: URLs lead a patron to extended information about you. URLs in our digital playbills are hyperlinked so patrons reading on a computer or device can connect to your site instantly.

Not every biography requires every component listed above, but some combination of these elements will work for every artist. For a range of detailed writing tips, please visit our Content Style page.

Questions? Suggestions? Write to operations@baystages.services or call 415.552.8040 for more information.