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Brief Guide to Research for Theatre: Selected Print Resources

General Works

    • Bailey, Claudia Jean. A Guide to Reference and Bibliography for Theatre Research. 2nd ed., rev and exp. Columbus: Publications Committee, Ohio State University, 1983. [PN 1620 A1 Z991 1983]
    • An introductory descriptive guide to reference materials on theater and drama, this work offers annotations to entries which mostly include works from the United States and Western Europe.

    • Banham, Martin, ed. The Cambridge Guide to Theatre. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988. [Ref PN 2035 C27 1995]
    • This single-volume encyclopedia offers entries which cover theatre-related topics (movements, directors, acting companies, playwrights, etc.) as they pertain to world theatre. Sections on national traditions and general topics also include bibliographies.

    • Brockett, Oscar G. and Franklin J. Hildy. History of the Theatre. 9th, ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2003. [RBR PN 2101 B68 2003]
    • This general history of the theater provides overviews of aspects of European and American theater as well as the theater of Asia, Africa, etc. Greek, Roman, and Renaissance theater elements are also dealt with. A bibliography and an index are included.

      • Catalog of the Theatre and Drama Collections. 51 vols. New York Public Library. The Research LIbraries. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1967-1976. [OVER (**) PN 1584 Z999 N46x SUP. BldgOnly]
      • This catalog is made up of three parts. Part I,

Drama Collection: Author Listing


Listing by Cultural Origin

        , includes plays published separately or in anthologies or periodicals. Part II,

Theatre Collection: Books on the Theatre

        , includes reference books on aspects of the theatre. Part III,

Non-Book Collection

        , consists of thirty volumes and includes programs, photographs, press clippings, etc. Coverage continued for parts I and II in

Bibliographic Guide to Theatre Arts


    • Charles, Jill, et al., eds. Directory of Theatre Training Programs: Profiles of College and Conservatory Programs Throughout the United States. 6th ed. Dorset: Theatre Directories, 1997. [Ref PN 2078 U6 D56 1997-99]
    • This reference contains entries for approximately 400 college and conservatory performing arts programs in the U.S. Entries are alphabetical by state and include information such as contacts and admission, degrees, classes, professional associations, etc. Appendices and indexes are also included.

      • Hartnoll, Phyllis. The Oxford Companion to the Theatre. 4th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1983. [Ref PN 2035 O9 1983]
      • The


      covers topics pertaining to both classical and contemporary theatre. Included are entries on actresses, directors, techniques, acting companies, etc. The 4th edition, however, does not include ballet, opera, and dance. A bibliography is also provided.

    • Hochman, Stanley, ed.-in-chief. McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of World Drama: An International Reference Work. 2nd ed. 5 vols. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1984. [Ref PN 1625 M3 1984]
    • This illustrated reference includes biographies of dramatists, some summaries, and biographical and critical references. Volume 5 is a general index, and articles on theater companies provide additional information.

    • International Bibliography of Theatre. New York: Theatre Research Data Center, Brooklyn College, City University of New York, 1985. [Ref PN 1561 I58x]
    • Sources pertaining to theatrical performance topics are the focus of this resource. Entries are organized into nine sections including puppetry, mime, and dance. Entries are further divided into the type of performance and geographical location. Descriptive annotations are provided along with three indexes: subject, geographical, and scholars.

    • Leiter, Samuel L., and Holly Hill, eds. The Encyclopedia of the New York Stage, 1920-1930. 2 vols. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1985. [Ref PN 2277 N5 L36 1985]
    • This resource covers Broadway and off-Broadway musical and non-musical theater between 16 June 1920 and 15 June 1930. Information provided in entries includes: director, producer, author, length of run, etc. Appendices include a subject listing, foreign-language productions, seasonal statistics, awards, etc. Indexes by name and title and a bibliography are also provided.

    • Loney, Glenn Meredith. 20th Century Theatre. 2 vols. New York: Facts on File, 1983. [Ref PN 2189 L65 1983]
    • Theatrical details from the United States and Great Britain are chronologically ordered in this reference. Years included are 1900-1979. The book is organized by topics within the year in which they took place. Within each topic, entries are listed in chronological order. Production photographs and a general index are included.

    • Nicoll, Allardyce. A History of English Drama, 1600-1900. 6 vols. [PR 625 N52 1952 BldgOnly]
    • Focusing on the history of the stage and forms of drama, this reference includes an appendix on playhouses, information on minor writers, and chapters regarding types of dramatic productions. Also included in each volume is a list of plays, along with their authors, first printed or produced during the timeframe examined by that volume. It is indexed by persons and subjects.

  • Trapido, Joel, et al. An International Dictionary of Theatre Language. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1985. [Ref PN 2035 I5 1985]
  • With approximately 10,000 English-language and 5,000 foriegn-language terms included, this reference provides brief definitions of terminology relating to the theatre. Works cited are also included should the reader want to explore further discussions of terms.


      • Allen, Beverly J. ed. Dance Directory. Reston, VA: National Dance Association, 1990--. [Ref GV 1754 A1 D3 1997]
      • The


      provides listings of programs in professional dance in high schools, colleges, and universities. Entries are arranged geographically and include information on faculty, degrees, course listings, etc.

    • Benbow-Pfalzgraf, Taryn, and Glynis Benbow-Niemier. International Dictionary of Modern Dance. Detroit: St. James Press, 1998. [Ref GV 1585 B46 1998]
    • 425 biographies on dancers, choreographers, and others associated with modern dance, along with information on dance companies, are contained in this reference. Critical essays, awards, black-and-white photographs, a chronology, a bibliography, and an index are also provided.

    • Chujoy, Anatole, and Phyllis Winifred Manchester, comps. The Dance Encyclopedia. Rev. and enl. ed. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1967. [Ref GV 1585 C5 1967]
    • Approximately 5,000 entries focus on ballet and dance forms in this work. Ballets are accompanied by summaries and information about performance.

    • Cohen, Selma J, et al., eds. International Encyclopedia of Dance: A Project of Dance Perspectives Foundation, Inc.. 6 vols. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. [Ref GV 1585 I586 1998]
    • This reference covers different forms of dance from a variety of time periods and geographic regions. Photographs and illustrations, as well as articles on dance from different countries are included. Includes an index.

    • Cohen-Stratyner, Barbara Naomi. Biographical Dictionary of Dance. New York: Schirmer Books/Macmillan, 1982. [Ref GV 1785 A1 C58 1982]
    • In this source, biographical information is presented for performers, designers, composers, choreographers, etc. Figures of both Europe and America are covered. Entries occur in alphabetical order and include career information, training, education, etc. A variety of dance styles and venues for dance (Broadway, televison, ballet, etc.) are included.

      • Preston-Dunlop, Valerie. Dance Words. Newark: Harwood Academic/Gordon & Breach, 1995. [RBR GV 1585 P74x 1995]
      • Broken down into seven areas including movement and choreographic concepts among others, this book deals with dance terms. The terms are not arranged alphabetically, but instead, by concept similarities, with quotations included. Indexes provide access to terms and personal names, and a bibliography is also included.

        • Raffe, W. G., comp. Dictionary of the Dance. New York: A. S. Barnes, 1964. [Ref GV 1585 R3 1965]

Dictionary of the Dance

      is arranged alphabetically and includes more than 5,000 entries pertaining to dance with origin and development explored. Emphasis is on folk and ethnic dances. Also included in this work are: a geographical index, subject index, pictures, and a bibliography concerning dance from the 15th century to the present day.

  • Robertson, Allen, and Donald Hutera. The Dance Handbook. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1988. [Ref GV 1601 R63 1990]
  • Western ballet and modern dance are the main focus of this reference. Sections are arranged chronologically and examine the development of dances within the timeframe of the section. Information regarding dancers, choreographers and dance companies is provided. Entries include listings of related dancers or dances, commentary, bibliographies, etc. Also provided are: a glossary, general index, and directory of international information sources.

Play Sources & Production

  • Montgomery, Denise L. Ottemiller's Index to Plays in Collections: An Author and Title Index to Plays Appearing in Collections Published Since 1900.. 8th ed., rev. and enl. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2011. [Ref Z 5781 O8 2011]
  • This resource indexes 10,141 plays in 2094 play collections. There are author, title, and anthology indexes. There are also appendixes of: author by country, race, and ethnic group; women authors; and authors by sexual orientation.
  • Corson, Richard. Stage Makeup. 9th ed. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon, 2001. [RBR OVER (*) PN 2068 C65 2001]
  • A variety of aspects concerning stage makeup are present in this work. Sections include: "Facial Anatomy," "Hair and Wigs," Prosthetic Makeup," and "Relating the Makeup to the Character," etc. Appendices include "Makeup Materials," "Sources of Makeup Materials," "Health and Safety," "Fashions in Hair," "Makeup in Color," and "Makeup Color Tables". An index is also provided.

  • Furtado, Ken, and Nancy Hellner. Gay and Lesbian American Plays: An Annotated Bibliography. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1993. [RBR PS 153 G38 Z991 1993]
  • Entries in this reference contain primary themes or characters that are homosexual. Listings include plot descriptions, characters, setting, etc. Appendicies include information on where plays are produced, names and addresses of playwrights, etc.

  • Hatch, James V. and OMANii Abdullah, comps. and eds. Black Playwrights, 1823-1977: An Annotated Bibliography. New York: Bowker, 1977. [RBR PS 338 N4 Z991]
  • Plays by approximately 900 African Americans are covered in this work. Entries include a summary, cast, and permission information, and where to locate a copy of the play. A majority of the entries are stage plays, although there are also other entries as well. Three appendices and selected bibliographies are also included.

  • Keller, Dean H. Index to Plays in Periodicals. Rev. and exp ed. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1979. [Ref PN 1721 Z999 K44x 1979]
  • International in scope, this source includes entries for approximately 10,000 plays. Section one includes author information, along with brief information about the play and where it may be located. The second section is organized by title and leads the user to the author section.

  • Mitchell, Theresa. Movement: From Person to Actor to Character. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 1998. [RBR PN 2071 M6 M55 1998]
  • Organized into three main parts, the author of this reference begins by looking at the body's framework and suggesting exercises for examining body movement. There is a section concerning diet and athletic information, as well as sections devoted to relaxation and breathing exercises. Section three concentrates on character. An index is provided.

  • Play Index. New York: H. W. Wilson, 1949/1952-. [Ready Ref Z 5781 P53]
  • Items in this work are indexed by author, title, and subject. Entries are of English-language plays and translations and include brief plot summaries.

Specialized: Chronologically or Geographically

    • Bordman, Gerald. The Oxford Companion to American Theatre. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. [Ref PN 2220 B6 1992]
    • The emphasis in this reference is on Broadway theater. Many off-Broadway and regional works are left out. Entries on plays include information such as the producer, the length of the play's run, the original date of production, etc. Entries for people are also included with information regarding their careers.
    • Fisher, James.  Historical Dictionary of Contemporary American Theater: 1930-2010, 2011.  2 vols.  Lanham, Md.:Scarecrow Press.  Presents the plays and personages, movements and institutions, and cultural developments of the American stage from 1930 to 2010.  It covers major movements, persons, plays, and events, done through a chronology, an introductory essay, an extensive bibliography, and over 1,500 cross-referenced dictionary entries. 
    • James.  Historical Dictionary of Contemporary American Theater: 1930-2010, 2011.  2 vols.  Lanham, Md.:Scarecrow Press.  Presents the plays and personages, movements and institutions, and cultural developments of the American stage from 1930 to 2010.
    • Kullman, Colby H., and William C. Young, eds.Theatre Companies of the World. 2 vols. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1986. [Ref PN 2052 T48 1986]
    • This reference provides an international directory of theater companies. Information included consists of: facilities, playwrights associated with companies, names, addresses, histories, etc.
        • Lounsbury, Warren C., and Norman Boulanger. Theatre Backstage from A to Z. 4th ed., rev.and expanded by Norman C. Boulanger. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1972. [RBR OVER (*) PN 2035 L6 1972]
        • Introduced by an essay on lighting from the seventeenth century to the present time,

heatre Backstage

Theatre Backstage

      provides terms and information concerning lighting, sound, set construction, etc. Information on computers and electronic equipment, drawings and black-and-white photographs, a bibliography, and a directory of manufacturers and distributors are also present.

    • Stratman, Carl J., C.S.V., David G. Spenser, and Mary Elizabeth Devine, eds. Restoration and Eighteenth Century Theatre Research: A Bibliographical Guide, 1900-1968. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP; London: Feffer, 1971. [RBR Z 2014 D7 S854]
    • This annotated bibliography of editions and studies on drama and theater through 1967 has approximately 6,000 entries and is arranged by subject headings. Included are indexes by persons and subject headings.

      • Vince, Ronald W, ed. A Companion to the Medieval Theatre. New York: Greenwood, 1989. [Ref PN 2152 C66 1989]
      • With an alphabetical arrangement,

A Companion to Medieval Theatre

      offers approximately 250 entries covering the period from 900-1550 AD. Some entries are longer than others and provide information on topics such as music, dance, etc. A chronology and four indexes (person, play, place, subject) are also provided.

  • Woll, Allen. Dictionary of the Black Theatre: Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Selected Harlem Theatre. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1983. [Ref PN 2270 A35 W64 1983]
  • Divided into two major sections, approximately 300 works are treated in this resource. The first section deals with the works and includes information such as the cast, songs, writers, review excerpts, etc. The second part provides information on people and organizations. Cross-references are given.

Biographical Sources

  • Biography and Genealogy Master Index Detroit:Gale Research Co., 1980. [Z 5305 U5 B56XA 1998 BldgOnly]
  • Over 3 million listings of biographies found in other works are contained in the Index. This resource allows the user to find out where a biography or biographies may be located. If a picture is included with a biography, it is indicated. Birth and death dates are also provided. Entries are in alphabetical order. Available electronically as Biography and Genealogy Master Index. Accessible to University at Albany users only.

  • Contemporary Dramatists. 6th ed. Detroit: St. James Press, 1998. [Ref PR 106 V5 1999]
  • Entries for each dramatist in this work include biographical details, a critical essay, a works list, etc. Some also include a comment by the person listed. Entries are indexed by nationalities and the titles of plays.

  • Highfill, Philip H., et al. A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers, and Other Stage Personnel in London, 1660-1800. 16 vols. Carbondale: Illinois University Press, 1973-1993. [PN 2597 H5 BldgOnly]
  • This source contains information on entertainments and includes entries on magicians, acrobats, dancers, public orators, animal trainers and others. Portraits are included if they exist. Entries are based on research from primary sources.

  • Mikotowicz, Thomas J., ed. Theatrical Designers: An International Biographical Dictionary. New York: Greenwood, 1992. [Ref PN 2096 A1 T48 1992]
  • Included in this book is biographical information for 270 designers from the 15th century to the present, arranged alphabetically. Many of the designers are modern. An index of names and titles along with appendices with designers listed chronologically and by the country of their birth are also included in this text.

  • Peterson, Bernard L. Jr. Early Black American Playwrights and Dramatic Writers: A Biographical Directory and Catalog of Plays, Films, and Broadcasting Scripts. New York: Greenwood, 1990. [Ref PS 153 N5 P44 1990]
  • Entries in this source are alphabetical by author. Biographies of writers between the 1820s-1940s are provided. Commentaries and bibliographies pertaining to an author's works are included as well as a general index. Appendices include pre-1950s titles, a chronology, and muscial librettists.

  • Weintraub, Stanley, ed. British Dramatists Since World War II. 2 vols. Detroit: Gale Research, 1982. [Ref PS 129 D53x v.13]
  • Sixty-nine dramatists are examined in this reference. Biographies, critical commentary, books published, and production photographs concerning these dramatists are part of the book's composition. Contained in the appendices are essays on various topics including stage censorship. A bibliography is also included.

Reviews and Criticism

  • Arnott, James Fullarton and John William Robinson. English Theatrical Literature, 1559-1900: A Bibliography Incorporating Robert W. Lowe's A Bibliographic Account of English Theatrical Literature Published in 1888. London: Soc. for Theatre Research, 1970. [RBR Z 2014 D7 A75X]
  • Works published between 1559 and 1900 regarding British theater are the topic of this bibliography. This book is divided into sections including opera, irregular forms, biography, theory and criticism, etc. Each section is then chronologically ordered. Not included are works pertaining to the ballet or circus. Indexes include: authors, titles, and places of publication.

  • Carpenter, Charles A. Modern Drama Scholarship and Criticism, 1966-1980: An International Bibliography. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1986. [Ref PN 1621 Z999 C37X]
  • Although this work excludes publications of works in non-Latin alphabets, it does cover 25 years of worldwide drama studies. Dramatist entries include lists of primary works, essays, etc. Some of the entries also have annotations.

  • Eddleman, Floyd Eugene. American Drama Criticism: Interpretations, 1890-1977. 2nd ed. Hamden, CT: Shoe String Press, 1979. [Ready Ref PS 332 Z999 E34x 1979]
  • This resource contains references to interpretations of American plays found in books, monographs, and periodicals. Entries are included by playwright, then title. It includes mostly works of United States dramatists with a few exceptions. Musical plays are also examined. Indexes include critics and adapted authors and works.

  • Griffiths, Trevor R., ed. Stagecraft: The Complete Guide to Theatrical Practice. Oxford, UK: Phaidon, 1982. [RBR PN 3151 S73 1982]
  • Elements of the theater such as directing, stage management, set design, makeup, etc. are explored in this reference. Color and black-and-white illustrations, as well as a glossary and a general index are also included. British termninology is used.

  • Magill, Frank N., ed. Critical Survey of Drama. Rev. ed. 7 vols. Pasadena, CA: Salem Press, 1994. [Ref PR 625 C74x 1994]
  • Arranged alphabetically by individual authors, this reference contains biographical information about the authors and their works, including significant achievements. Authors are included from around the world and various historical periods are represented. Critical essays on drama and its developments over the years are located in the last volume of this set.

  • The New York Times Theatre Reviews, 1870-1992. 27 vols. Hamden, CT: Garland, 1992. [Ref PN 1581 N4 1999/2000]
  • Inlcuded in this reference are chronological reviews of the theater by the New York Times. Supplements are biennial. Appendices of awards, prizes, and runs by season are also located within this work. Indexes are arranged by titles, performer names, production companies, etc.

  • Stein, Rita, et al., comps, and eds. Major Modern Dramatists. 2 vols. New York: Ungar, 1984. [Ref PN 1861 M27 1984]
  • Excerpts of literary criticism regarding dramatists from various countries are represented in this work. Only major dramatists are covered, however, beginning with the late nineteenth-century.

  • Wells, Stanley, ed. English Drama (Excluding Shakespeare): Select Bibliographical Guides. London: Oxford UP, 1975. [RBR Z 2014 D7 W44X]
  • Essays in this work serve to evaluate works that were published through the early 1970s. These cover a range from medieval drama to contemporary work including the Irish School, Shaw, Middleton, Dryden, etc. Entries are indexed by dramatists and anonymous plays.

  • Wilson, F.P. The English Drama, 1485-1585. Ed. G.K. Hunter. Oxford: Clarendon-Oxford UP, 1969. [RBR PR 641 W58 1969]
  • Indexed by authors, titles, and subjects, this resource contains a chapter on the major dramatic companies, a chronology, and the history of a variety of drama types including comedy, tragedy, and morality.

  • The Year's Work in English Studies. London: Published for the English Association by John Murray (etc.), [Ref PE 58 E6]
  • This journal is arranged chronologically and is indexed by author and subject. Entries included in the journal are evaluated. Entries may contain information on books and articles from Great Britain, the United States, and Continential Europe.