In this article, the first of a sequence on the ways in which women's bodies are recorded in performance documentation, Anna Cutler offers a new conception and systematic definition of three performance documentations – the ‘Proper’, the ‘Processual’ and the ‘Residual’. She argues against traditional and literary forms of documentation (the ‘Proper’) as a means by which women and women's bodies have been and continue to be excluded from performance records, and proceeds to discuss two theoretical types of body in performance: the ‘Inscribed’ (which represents an ideologically shaped, constructed, and censored body) and the ‘Potential’ (which represents the creative and ongoing moments of change made by the body in performance). She proposes the ‘Potential Body’ as a model for performance documentation, since, though difficult to translate into written forms, it offers a more effective communication of both the body and of live performance. Given the continuing prevalence of the written word as the primary mode of performance documentation, the author makes a case for écriture féminine to be appropriated as a writerly tool to document women's bodies and particularly the ‘Potential Body’ in performance. She concludes with a discussion of the theory and practice of Hélène Cixous' writing in relation to women's performance methodologies. The debate is taken up by Susan Melrose in the article following this. Anna Cutler is currently producing events for the Belfast Festival, while completing her doctoral research in the Department of Literary and Media Studies at the University of North London.