University Library

Theater/Dance Subject Guide

Suggested Resources

Writing in the Disciplines: Theater and Dance

  • Good writing begins with close reading of the text. In the case of theater, texts include both plays in written form and performances. One must "read" a performance closely by understanding its content, the historical, social, and cultural background of the performance, as well as by analyzing the components of the performance.
  • Honesty is important when writing for theater classes; your initial reaction to the text is often where the strongest writing begins.
  • Be sure not to employ top down writing; this means that one should not begin with a claim and force sources to fit their idea and ignore evidence that is contradictory to their claim. Let the evidence speak to you and arrive at a claim based on the evidence.
  • Beginner writers tend simply state "I liked it" or "I didn't like it" without elaborating intelligently on their reactions. A high level of personal engagement with the material is a cue of strong theater writing. One should have an emotional response to the work rather than treating the assignment as a distanced intellectual exercise. (from the U of Richmond)


W&L Writing Center    Peer tutors offer "individual tutorial assistance to students on any college writing task, from papers and lab reports in any stage of completion to resumes and application essays."   Located on the Main Floor of Leyburn Library.