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Theatre Studies

An overview of the resources available for researchers in the field of Theatre Studies.

Introduction to Primary Sources: A Definition

What is a primary source?  A primary source (also called original source) is a document, recording, artifact, or other source of information that was created at the time under study, usually by a source with direct personal knowledge of the events being described. It serves as an original source of information about the topic.

Primary Sources

  • Materials that contain direct evidence, first-hand testimony, or an eyewitness account of a topic or event under investigation
  • Primary sources provide the raw data for your research

Secondary Sources

  • Examples of secondary sources include materials like scholarly books and articles
  • Secondary sources use primary data to solve research problems


Online Theatre Reviews

Print Reviews

A Guide to Critical Reviews, by James M. Salem. New York, Scarecrow Press, 1966-71. 4 parts in 5 vols. NYU Bobst: Z5782 .S34

  • Contents:
    • pt. 1. American drama from O'Neill to Albee.--
    • pt. 2. The musical from Rodgers and Hart to Lerner and Loewe.--
    • pt. 3. British & continental drama from Ibsen to Pinter.--
    • pt. 4. The screenplay, from The jazz singer to Dr. Strangelove (2 v.)
  • Contents 2nd edition. 1973-76:
    • pt. 1. American drama, 1909-1969.--
    • pt. 2. The musical, 1909-1974.--
    • pt. 3. Foreign drama, 1909-1977 
  • Contents 3rd edition. 1984-1991:
    • pt. 1. American drama, 1909-1982 --
    • pt. 2. The musical. 1909-1989.

New York Theatre Critics' Reviews. New York, Critics' Theatre Reviews, inc. 1940-1994.  NYU Bobst: PN1601 .N4 

  • "Theatre reviews is a complete guide and record of the New York stage, reprinted from New York sun, New York times, New York herald tribune, New York post, New York daily news, New York world telegram" 1940- ; reprinted from the New York daily news, Wall Street journal, Time, New York post, Women's wear daily, New York times, Christian science monitor, Newsweek, NBC. 

Theatre Record (formerly London Theatre Record). 1991 - date.  NYU Bobst: PN2596.L6 L66 

  • Reprints published reviews of theatrical performances in London and elsewhere in the UK. Includes production credits and dates of performance. Review sources include The Spectator, The Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, Independent, Time Out, Guardian, The Times and other UK publications. Annual Index.

New York Times Theater Reviews. New York Times and Arno, 1971- .  Bobst : PN1581 .N42n; YEARS:1971-1999/2000​​ 

  • Facsimile reprints of the reviews of theater productions as they appeared in the New York Times. Arranged chronologically, the set also includes appendices of awards and prizes and of productions and runs by season as well as indexes by title, production company, and personal name. The first 21 volumes cover the years 1870-1970. Since then volumes have been published biannually. [NOTE: these reviews can also be found online through Proquest Historical Newspapers]

Samples, Gordon. How to Locate Reviews of Plays and Films: a Bibliography of Criticism from the Beginnings to the Present. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1976. Bobst: Z5781 .S19

  • Lists resources for finding theatrical reviews, including indexing services, theatre periodicals, reference guides, etc. Somewhat dated, but still useful for historical research.