Drama and Dance Subject Guide
Humanities Liaison Librarian
If you are researching a topic in theatrical history, you might want to start with a reference book to get an overview of your topic and ideas of other sources to find. I recommend The Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance, Nagler’s Source Book in Theatrical History, and Brockett’s History of the Theatre.
Searching TIGER by keyword or subject is often the fastest way to find books about your topic.
For books that we don’t own here at Colorado College, or books that are checked out or otherwise unavailable, use Prospector - Colorado Unified Catalog . You’ll find books (and CDs, DVDs, etc.) in libraries across Colorado that you can request and have sent to the Tutt Library circulation desk where you can check them out.
For books not available in TIGER or Prospector, you can request through Interlibrary Loan via WorldCat .
Please ask a librarian if you need help with TIGER, Prospector, or WorldCat.
Sometimes simply browsing the library shelves in the appropriate call number areas is the best way to find books that you might otherwise not have known about. Here is an overview of the call numbers most useful for drama and dance.
Drama and performing arts in general
Books about the theater, theater history, acting, etc. are assigned call numbers that begin with PN. Plays are shelved with other literary works by language or author’s country of origin (see below).
- PN1530 The monologue.
- PN1551 The dialogue.
- PN1560-1590 The performing arts. Show business.
- PN1600-3307 Drama.
- PN1635-1650 Relation to, and treatment of, special subjects.
- PN1660-1693 Technique of dramatic composition.
- PN1720-1861 History.
- PN1865-1988 Special types.
- PN1990-1992.92 Broadcasting.
- PN1993-1999 Motion pictures.
- PN1997-1997.85 Plays, scenarios, etc..
- PN2000-3307 Dramatic representation. The theater.
- PN2061-2071 Art of acting.
- PN2085-2091 The stage and accessories.
- PN2131-2193 By period.
- PN2131-2145 Ancient.
- PN2152-2160 Medieval.
- PN2171-2179 Renaissance.
- PN2181-2193 Modern.
- PN2219.3-3030 Special regions or countries.
- PN2920 Japanese Thestre.
- PN3035 The Jewish theater.
- PN 3151-3171 Amateur theater.
- PN3175-3191 College and school theatricals.
There is no separate section for plays. Instead, plays are shelved with other literature (novels, poems, etc.) and organized first by the language or nationality of the author and then in large chronological chunks.
- PQ French literature – Italian literature – Spanish literature – Portuguese literature
- PR English literature
- PS American literature
- PT German literature – Scandinavian literature
International Bibliography Of Theatre & Dance With Full Text is a good place to start for articles on theatre and dance, including scholarly articles and reviews of performances.
Beyond that, MLA International Bibliography indexes many of the more academic and critical journals in the field, while Academic Search Complete indexes some academic journals and many popular sources that are good for finding reviews. JSTOR has a small collection of excellent performing arts journals, all in full text, but lacks the most recent years of all journals.
Complete list of databases for Drama and Dance
- Asian American Drama
- Coverage: 1891 - current
- 250+ plays (some never before published) by 40+ authors together with detailed, indexed information on related productions, theaters, production companies, and more. Cross-searchable under North American Theater Online.
- Black Drama, 1850 To Present
- Coverage: 1846 - current
- Contains the full text of over 1,400 rare and hard-to-find plays written from the 1850's to the present by playwrights from North America, English-speaking Africa, the Caribbean, and other African Diaspora countries. Search by author, title, subject, date, full-text, etc. Cross-searchable under North American Theater Online.
- Drama Criticism
- Online, full-text literary criticism, anthologized and excerpted from books and journal articles. A full range of criticism on each playwright included. Part of Literature Criticism Online
- Early English Books Online
- Coverage: 1475 - 1700
- Contains the full text of over 100,000 English books, pamphlets, and more, from the first book published in English through the age of Spenser and Shakespeare.
- Humanities International Complete
- Coverage: 1929 - current
- A comprehensive humanities database, with almost 500 full text titles and indexing and abstracting for more than 1,700 titles. Subject areas include (but are not limited to) literature, philosophy, the arts, history, culture-oriented and multi-disciplinary humanities titles with some coverage going back as far as 1929. This database replaces Humanities Abstracts.
- International Bibliography Of Theatre & Dance With Full Text
- Coverage: 1960s to current
- Our major database for the performing arts. Journal indexing with full text, plus over 100 books in full text.
- Latino Literature
- Coverage: 1872 - current
- 100,000+ pages of poetry, fiction, and over 450 plays written in English and Spanish by hundreds of Chicano, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Dominican, and other Latino authors working in the United States. Some works have never been published before. Also includes 130,000+ pages of Chicago folk tales and audio files of selected poems and plays. Some materials are cross-searchable under North American Theater Online.
- Literature Criticism Online
- Online, full-text literary criticism, anthologized and excerpted from books and journal articles. Covers literature from the classical era to today in all genres
- MLA International Bibliography
- Coverage: 1963 - current
- Literature, languages, linguistics, and folklore from over journals and series published worldwide.
- The Music Index
- Coverage: 1979 - current
- Indexes over 670 international music periodicals, covering a broad range of subjects. Good subject headings for searches; citations only.
- National Network For Artist Placement
- Over 700 organizations and more than 2,500 current listings, updated monthly, weekly, daily, in every art discipline: arts institutions, dance companies, museums, galleries, filmmakers, theatre companies, and music organizations throughout the nation. This title replaces National Directory of Arts Internships. (See reference librarian for username and password.)
- North American Indian Drama
- Coverage: 1926 - current
- 170+ plays by 30+ playwrights together with detailed, indexed information on related productions, theaters, production companies, and more. Also includes bibliographies and the Native Playwrights' Newsletter. Cross-searchable under North American Theater Online.
- North American Theatre Online
- Coverage: 1321 - current
- Cross-searchable version of Street Drama covering Black Drama, Twentieth Century North American Drama, Asian American Drama, North American Women's Drama, Latino Drama, North American Indian Drama. Organized for detailed browsing and searching by play, people, production, theatre, awards, companies and more.
- North American Women's Drama
- Coverage: 1714 - current
- 1500+ plays (some never before published) by 300+ playwrights together with detailed, indexed information on related productions, theaters, production companies, and more. Also includes selected playbills, production photographs and other ephemera. Cross-searchable under North American Theater Online.
- Twentieth Century North American Drama
- Coverage: 1835 - current
- 1,500+ plays (some never before published) by 200 playwrights, together with detailed, indexed information on related productions, theaters, production companies, and more. The database also includes selected playbills, production photographs and other ephemera related to the plays. Cross-searchable under North American Theater Online.
- The World Shakespeare Bibliography
- Coverage: 1962 - current
- Provides annotated entries for all important books, articles, book reviews, dissertations, theatrical productions, reviews of productions, audiovisual materials, electronic media, and other scholarly and popular materials related to Shakespeare.
Online journal archives
Unlike the subject-specific article databases, these online journal archives don’t concentrate on any one academic subject. Instead, they take leading journals from many fields, or all the journals from one publisher, and provide extensive archives of the full text of those journals online, usually in the form of PDF files.
- Coverage: varies; usually late 1990's to current
- Searchable collection of full text periodicals. Scholarly sources.
- Coverage: late 1800's - most recent 0-5 years
- Archival access to many scholarly periodicals. Some titles include current issues while others have a moving wall imposed on them.
- Oxford University Press Journals
- Coverage: varies; usually late 1990's - current
- A searchable collection of full text periodicals. Scholarly sources.
Periodicals Archive Online
- Coverage: 1665-2000
- Online periodical archive containing the digitized backfiles of periodicals in the humanities and social sciences.
- Project Muse
- Coverage: varies
- Project Muse Standard Collection of core scholarly titles from John Hopkins University. Offers current and back issues. Please note: we do not subscribe to the Premium Collection. We have access to most, but not all, Project Muse titles.