Theatre & Dance

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Theatre vs. Theater

Theatre  vs. Theater
In performing any kind of theatre research take into account that theatre may also be spelled theater--and in many databases searching one will not retrieve books and articles that use the other.
  • Run two searches.
  • Within the same parenthesis OR the two spellings together--(theatre or theater).
  • Use the truncation symbol that most databases allow you to attach to a root in order to search all possible endings--for example, theat* (truncation symbols vary--check Help--but the asterisk is probably the most common).
The spelling used in Library of Congress Subject Headings is Theater. For the sake of consistency, this guide will use the -er spelling, except where a particular resource requires the -re.

Drama: by Country

  • To find resources on the plays and literary traditions of a particular country, run a Subject search using the adjective form of the country before "drama."
American dramaFrench dramaSpanish dramaEnglish dramaRussian drama.

Note: The best books on the dramatic tradition of a country will often be found under the subheading "History and Criticism":

English drama--Early modern and Elizabethan--History and criticism
French drama--18th century--History and criticism
American drama--20th century--History and criticism
  • Play texts and criticism are shelved by country, then by period, then by author. For example, Russian literature has call numbers beginning with PG, French PQ, British PR, and American PS. Within the range for each country, drama is interfiled with poetry and fiction of the same era. There is no single dramatic literature section to browse.
  • To find resources on the history/politics/society/culture of a particular country at a particular time, run a Subject search on the name of the country and look especially at the subheadings --Civilization, --Description and travel, --History, --Politics and government, --Social conditions, and --Social life and customs. All of these subheadings may be further subdivided by time period.
  • Also see my research guide for History of Theatre.

Drama: by Playwright

  •  Works about playwrights:
Begin by running a Subject search on your author. For example, a Subject search on O'Neill, Eugene in the IC Library catalog retrieves--

# Titles Headings
20 O'Neill, Eugene, 1888-1953.
2 O'Neill, Eugene, 1888-1953--Biography.
1 O'Neill, Eugene, 1888-1953--Characters--Cornelius Melody.
17 O'Neill, Eugene, 1888-1953--Criticism and interpretation.
2 O'Neill, Eugene, 1888-1953--Film and video adaptations.
2 O'Neill, Eugene, 1888-1953. Iceman cometh.
1 O'Neill, Eugene, 1888-1953. Long day's journey into night.
1 O'Neill, Eugene, 1888-1953--Manuscripts.
1 O'Neill, Eugene, 1888-1953--Philosophy.
1 O'Neill, Eugene, 1888-1953--Political and social views.
2 O'Neill, Eugene, 1888-1953--Stage history.
3 O'Neill, Eugene, 1888-1953--Technique.
Note that most criticism will be assigned the subheading "History and Criticism." Also note that critical studies of a single work will take the title as a subheading.
  • Works by playwrights:
     Since you probably have the texts you are writing about, running an Author search might seem unnecessary. But Author searches often uncover collections of letters, essays, works in other genres, and adaptations for other media--all shedding light on the writer and the work. An Author search on O'Neill, Eugene retrieves--

Desire under the elms [videorecording] / Paramount ; directed by Delbert Mann.
Emperor Jones : opera in two acts
Emperor Jones. [sound recording]
Long day's journey into night [videorecording] /directed by Sidney Lumet.
Lost plays / by Eugene O'Neill.
Nine plays / by Eugene O'Neill; selected by the author; introduction by Joseph Wood Krutch.
Poems, 1912-1944 / Eugene O'Neill ; edited by Donald Gallup.
Six short plays of Eugene O'Neill
"Theatre we worked for" : the letters of Eugene O'Neill to Kenneth Macgowan

Individual Plays: Multimedia Adaptations

  • To find a movie version or a filmed stage production of a play, enter a Keyword search in the IC Library catalog with the name of the play + the word "videorecording." If the play title is more than one word, put it in quotation marks to search it as a single phrase. Note: the search term "videorecording" targets both videos and dvds. If you use "dvd" instead of "videorecording," you won't retrieve the videos.
  • To find a sound recording of a play or a cast recording of a musical, enter a Keyword search in the IC Library catalog with the name of the play + the word "recording." If the play title is more than one word, put it in quotation marks to search it as a single phrase. Note: the search term "recording" targets records, cassettes, and cds.
  • To access an alphabetical list of all sound recordings, videos, and dvds of musicals in the Library's collection, enter " Musicals" as a Subject search and then click on that Heading.

Actors' resources

Dancers' Resources

Playwriting Resources

     Although  Playwriting might seem the obvious Subject search, the bulk of a library's resources on how to construct a play will be found under  Drama--Technique. See also  Characters and characteristics in literatureDialogue, and  Plots (Drama, novel, etc.). For works on writing a screenplay try  Motion picture authorship. And  Creative writing covers all literary genres.

Technical Theater/Theater Design

Theater & Society

Theater and society
Theater and society--England
Theater and society--Great Britain
Theater and society--France
Theater and society--United States

Women in the theater
Feminism and theater
Feminist theater
American drama--Women authors--History and criticism
Women in the performing arts
Women in the performing arts--Cross-cultural studies
Women in literature
Sexism in literature​
     Also look for the subheading Characters--Women under the names of individual authors: Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616--Characters--Women

Race in the theater
African American theater
African Americans in the performing arts
American drama--African American authors--History and criticism
American drama--Minority authors--History and criticism
African Americans in literature
Race in literature
Racism in literature
Minorities in literature

Hispanic American theater
Hispanic Americans in the performing arts
American drama--Hispanic American authors
Ethnic groups in literature

Emigration and immigration in literature
Immigrants in literature
Postcolonialism in literature

Homosexuality and theater
Gay theater--United States
Sex role in the theater
Gays and the performing arts
Homosexuality in literature
Sex role in literature
Gender identity in literature

Jews in the performing arts
Jews in literature
Antisemitism in literature

Social classes in literature
Money in literature
Poor in literature
Poverty in literature
Middle class in literature
Wealth in literature
Social conflict in literature
Social conflict--United States

Performance art
Performance art--United States
Performance art--Political aspects--United States
Performance art--New York (State)--New York

Other (Philosophy) in literature
Outsiders in literature
Identity (Philosophical concept) in literature
Difference (Psychology) in literature
Alienation (Social psychology) in literature
Deviant behavior in literature
Dissenters in literature