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Select your Performers

Your local artist and performers are one of the driving forces behind your DEN event. So selecting, inviting, and preparing them for the big day will be one of the most important tasks you’ll have.

Finding extraordinary artist isn’t always an easy task. Here are some guiding principles to follow in your search for Performing Artist:


Look for talent, not a name

It’s actually not a big name you should be searching for, but the talent of a local artist with ties to, and impact on, the community. Is the artist innovating or introducing a unique or new perspective on a classic artistic style? Is he or she motivating the community? This is a great way to decipher between a DEN performing artist and a talented artist with a big name. What will the audience walk away knowing – that this person exists, or a new and exciting form of art?


For example, if you were to describe a potential artist to a stranger and say more about the person (“this lady who sings in her local choir,” “this guy who made this film”) than the art, that's a clue that you need to go back to that artist and find their unique perspective, not their identity.

So, what ideas are you looking for?

  • Look for new art that originates in your community but are widely relatable

  • Look for art that needs to be defended – not something self-evident, but an interesting take on a standard

  • Look for an artist the local DEN community hasn't heard of before. (In other words, not a copy of an artist you like!)

  • Look for an artist that change perceptions. (e.g., an artist using art to change youth lives).


DEN Performer Checklist

Is this artist is...

  • a local voice that few people have heard before?

  • someone who can present their art in a new light?

  • someone with a perspective to which the national or global DEN community may not have access?

  • diverse by demographic, ethnicity, background, topic and/or genre?


Know where to look

Here are some approaches to finding great speakers:

  • Use your event's theme - This is the time to use it as a guide to finding artists. Are there individuals in your community with new ideas & perspectives?

  • Research local businesses and charities - Find the innovative, important work that is uniquely being done in your local community.

  • Read a local paper - Local papers can be a great source for discovering individuals with accomplishments that truly represent your region.

  • Read big publications - Flip through headlines in different art magazines, trade publications, political affairs journals, and newspapers. Look at the people who the writers quote, and find out if they live nearby.

  • Search your social networks - Look to your most impressive friends, their friends, and their friends’ friends for surprising talks.


Vet your Performers

Every potential DEN Performer should be vetted. After all, sometimes it’s difficult to know whether an artist is worth sharing with the greater DEN community or not – and specifically, whether they are legitimate. Here are some ways to figure that out:

  • Research university websites, reputable music or art blogs to verify potential artist credentials. 

  • Ask a friendly journalist (or PR person, if you’re working with one) to fact-check the artist’s work to journalistic standards.

If you’re still not sure about the performer or credibility, you can always email your DEN Worldwide corporate team member. If you're organizing an event that you suspect a performer doesn’t meet our guidelines, let us know. We will help review the material and determine whether or not he/she/they should perform for our community. 


Choosing performers

Performers can make a bold statement with their act, or can simply be a beautiful “palate cleanser” for the audience during your Seated Dinner. Your performers should be local – use it as an opportunity to highlight the incredible artistry that comes from your community!

DEN performers include:

  • Spoken word poets

  • Singers and musicians

  • Modern dancers

  • Comedians


Make an organized list

Once you have a list of potential performers that your selection committee has decided on, you should:

  1. Gather all suggestions and group performers by genre.

  2. For each genre, pick your first, second and third performer choices.

You’ll be using this list to create the line up of your event’s program. 

For this first attempt, simply choose what matters most to you (or your selection committee). 


Choose an event emcee

One of the most important speakers at your event is your event’s emcee. In an ideal situation, the event’s lead organizer is not the onstage host. The onstage host – the master of ceremonies – is the public face of your DEN event. The host will be responsible for introducing the artists, time-keeping for the DEN event program, make any necessary announcements, and encourage audience participation.

Generally, your host should:

  • Have experience with public speaking or hosting events.

  • Be from the local community, so they can easily connect with the audience.

  • Know the DEN spirit well, so they can communicate the brand effortlessly.


Thank you for your interest in performing at an upcoming Dîner en Noir event!  Just to remind you, all event performances are specially curated by local Dîner en Noir committees and are meant to support and celebrate new & up and coming artists by introducing them to a supportive new audience.


Given that Dîner en Noir events are community fundraising events that support the local arts & small business communities, there is NO COMPENSATION offered for performers.  Our events give the artist a platform and space to connect to the  local community, network, and receive new opportunities and resources.  And of course, you're meant to have some FUN. 


This is a LIVE and curated artist showcase and artist ARE EXPECTED to be able to PERFORM LIVE (vs. performing over a track) with a band and or instrumental playing in the background.

Performers Include:


Hip-Hop Artists



Spoken word Artists/Poets


You must be 21+ to apply

While there is no cost to perform but there is a highly selective process. 

Applying does not guarantee you'll be selected.

Perfor a DEN
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