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Librarian for Theatre

Amy Rachuba | (920)-748-8747 | [email protected]

Lane Library Staff - Amy Rachuba

Assistant Librarian-Resource Services Lane Library
Departments: Electronic Resources, Government Documents, Serials

Librarian for Business, Economics, Education, Exercise Science, Music, Politics and Government, Psychology, Sociology and Theatre

Background Information

Looking for information resources on plays or theatre history? This guide is intended to help you locate materials available at Ripon College.

Ripon College production of Blithe Spirit in 1947

Ripon College production of Blithe Spirit in 1947


Encyclopedias are a good starting place for an overview of your topic. Be sure to check the bibliographies for a list of scholarly sources.

Online Encyclopedias

Literary Reference Center

Search several major reference works simultaneously to find

  • biographies of playwrights
  • overviews of literary/theatrical movements
  • synopses of well known works
Credo Reference

Great starting point for research projects. Search in hundreds of encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri, quotations, and subject-specific titles, as well as 200,000+ images and audio files, and nearly 200 videos.

Print and Electronic Encyclopedias

The Cambridge Guide to Asian Theatre

A broad-ranging pan-Asian resource includes the basic themes of ritual, dance, puppetry, masks, training, performance, as well as information on the historical development of theatre in 20 countries. Major theatre forms of each country are accompanied by entries on significant playwrights, actors and directors.

The Cambridge Guide to Theatre

A broad resource with entries on plays, playwrights, traditions, movements, theories, practitioners, and venues.

Critical Survey of Drama Multi-volume set with entries on major playwrights offer a discussion of their styles and themes.

Encyclopedia of Asian Theatre Two volume set alphabetically arranged entries present information about playwrights, directors, actors, places, themes, styles, costumes, and includes both modern and traditional Asian theater.

McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of World Drama A biographical dictionary of playwrights, with brief analyses of their best known works.

The Oxford companion to American theatre Includes entries on playwrights, plays, actors, and more that have influenced American dramatic development.

Reader’s Encyclopedia of World Drama Comprehensive work traces world drama from its earliest ritual forms to modern times, focusing on the literary content of the plays.

The World encyclopedia of contemporary theatre In six volumes, this work documents artistic development all over the world, country by country, region by region. Coverage includes playwriting, music theatre, dance theatre, theatre for young audiences, puppet theatre, design, architecture and developments in theatre technology, theatre training, criticism and scholarship.

Additional Books

Please click on the link below, which will bring you to a list of books on the following subject, grouped with tags in the library catalog.

Plays and Plots

Plays and plots

Literary Reference Center

Find plot summaries and thematic analyses for thousands of plays.

Library Catalog

Search for theatre books, e-books and journals held at Lane

Where is the collection held?

The Theatre collection is located on the third floor (main floor), in between the Faculty and Alumni collection. This collection includes a variety of books from individual plays to collections of monologues. Other theatre books (including plays) are mainly located in the P call number areas in the library.

PN: general literature & plays

PR: English literature & plays

PS: American literature & plays


Search for books not available at Lane
Library and borrow them from another library (Learn more about interlibrary loan under “ILL” in Library Services. )

Critical Literature

Critical Literature

Listed below are a few ways to access journals and articles on theatre. However, in addition to incorporating others’ criticism, you’ll often need to provide your own critical interpretation of a play. Some tips to get you started:

Articles on Theatre

Humanities International Complete

Full text for more than fifty theatre periodicals.

Literary Reference Center

Search by playwright, then look under the “Literary Criticism” and “Periodicals” tabs.

MLA International Bibliography

Our main database for literary criticism; includes several key theatre periodicals.

Oxford English Dictionary (OED)

Entries offer detailed descriptions of the history, meaning, and pronunciation of English words.

Are you unable to find an article full-text online, please fill out the online interlibrary loan (ILL) “request an article” form found under the ILL section of Library services. (Learn more about Interlibrary Loan ).

General Databases

Academic Search Complete

Covers a wide range of academic disciplines, with more than 8600 periodicals available in full text.


A full-text archive of over 400 scholarly journals in the arts and sciences. Issues from the past three to five years may not be available.

ProQuest Research Library

Includes both popular and scholarly periodicals covering a variety of subjects, with over 3300 titles available in full text.


Theatre journals available through online access or in print at the library.

Comparative Drama

A scholarly journal devoted to studies international in spirit and interdisciplinary in scope. Essay submissions are invited from scholars in all areas of drama.

Modern Drama

Features articles that enhance our understanding of plays in both formal and historical terms, largely treating literature of the past two centuries from diverse geo-political contexts, as well as an extensive book review section.

TDR (The Drama Review)

TDR provides scholarship on performances and their social, economic and political contexts. With an emphasis on the experimental, avant-garde, intercultural and interdisciplinary, it covers dance theatre, performance art, popular entertainment, media, sports, rituals and performance in politics and everyday life.

TD&T: Theatre Design & Technology

The journal for design, production, and technology professionals in the performing arts and entertainment industry.

Theatre History Studies

Presents critical, analytical, and descriptive articles on all aspects of theatre history since 1981.

Theatre Notebook

British Drama & Theater Arts; Theater History.

Theatre Symposium

Features select papers presented at the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC) Theatre Symposium Event, and each year focuses on a single scholarly topic.

Theatre Forum

Focuses on contemporary international performance. Each issue includes at least two previously unpublished scripts.

Biographical Information

Biographical information

This information can be found both in print and online databases.

Online biographies

Literary Reference Center

Search several major reference works simultaneously to find biographies of playwrights.

Print Biographies

The following works are located in various areas of the library, and some are for use in library only. Please check the link for the record in the library catalog, and look at the “location” and “status” near the bottom of the page for specific information on the books listed.

Contemporary Authors 150+ volume bio-bibliographical guide to current writers in fiction, general nonfiction, poetry, journalism, drama, motion pictures, television and other fields.

Contemporary Dramatists Guide to more than 300 living dramatists in the English language, including biography, bibliography, and a critical essay for each playwright.

Critical Survey of Drama 6 volume set, listing the author’s principal dramatic works, other literary works, achievements, biography, a brief critical analysis, other major works, a bibliography, and a contributor byline. Of particular importance to anyone doing drama research, the dates of both first performance and first publication are provided for every play cited.

European writers – 14 volume set containing biographies and criticisms.

Twentieth-century German dramatists 1889-1918

Twentieth-century German dramatists 1919-1992



Academic Search Complete, Humanities International Complete, and Newspaper Source Plus

The above link will simultaneously search these three databases for theatre reviews. Leave the subject term search for “THEATER — reviews” in the first box, and add a keyword search for the title of the play in quotes.

LexisNexis Theatre Reviews

When following this link, click on “Search by content type” on the right, and click on “all news”. Now click on “Advanced options”, which will bring up a new search box. Within that search box, look for the “article type”, and check the box for “Theater reviews”. Now you can do a keyword search for your play by title in the search box. If you do not get the results you were looking for, edit your search by changing the “type” in the “select source” area in the “advanced options” (from “newspapers” to another option).

Proquest Research Library

From the advanced search screen, select “Review” from the Document Type menu, and do a keyword search for the title of the play in quotes.

Useful Theatre Websites

Useful Theatre Websites

A Brief Guide to Internet Resources in Theatre and Performance Studies

A list of websites related to theatre. Each site listed has been vetted by Professor Ken McCoy from Stetson University.

Glossary of Technical Theatre Terms

From the University of Exeter Drama Department in Britain, this extensive, searchable glossary includes British and American terms.

Internet Broadway Database

IBDB (Internet Broadway Database) archive is the official database for Broadway theatre information. IBDB provides records of productions from the beginnings of New York theatre until today.

Library of Congress Performing Arts Reading Room

From the Library of Congress, this site includes the Performing Arts Encyclopedia (PAE), as well as a well organized list of performing arts internet resources.

Speech Accent Archive

Browse or search this audio collection of over 1200 samples from George Mason University, in which “Native and non-native speakers of English read the same paragraph and are carefully transcribed.” Potentially useful for actors wishing to use various English language accents.

Theatre Database

A collection of theatre history resources, with coverage from ancient times to the present.

Theatre History on the Web

A well organized list of websites useful for theatre scholars and practitioners.

Theatre History

Biographies and articles about plays, playwrights, and actors.