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Theatre & Performance Studies

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

The Reference Desk

The General Humanities and Social Sciences Reference Room  is located on the 1st floor of Bobst.  If you have questions, a librarian is there to help.

Why Use Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, Bibliographies, and Indexes?

Start your research

by using the Histories, Encyclopedias and Dictionaries available in the reference room of Bobst Library: 

  • The General Humanities and Social Sciences Reference Room is located on the 1st fl. of Bobst.  If you are just getting started these tools will acquaint you with the terms and ideas in your topic.  Many of these are available online. 
  • Histories are a chronological record of events, as of the life or development of a people or institution, often including an explanation of or commentary on those events. 
  • Encyclopedias are a comprehensive reference works containing articles on a wide range of subjects or on numerous aspects of a particular field, usually arranged alphabetically. Dictionaries are a reference books containing an alphabetical list of words, with information given for each word, usually including meaning, pronunciation, and etymology.
  • A bibliography is a list of writings that share a common factor: this may be a topic, a language, a period, or some other theme. The list may be comprehensive or selective. One particular instance of this is the list of sources used or considered in preparing a work, sometimes called a reference list.  A bibliography may be arranged by author, topic, or some other scheme. Annotated bibliographies give descriptions about how each source is useful to an author in constructing a paper or argument. These descriptions, usually a few sentences long, provide a summary of the source and describe its relevance. Reference management software, such as, may be used to keep track of references and generate bibliographies as required.
  • Indexes are an alphabetical list of names or subjects dealt with in a book, indicating where they are referred to a file or catalogue in a library which enables a book or reference to be found. You will find a number of Indexes in the Finding Articles area of this guide, however the ones listed here are only available in print.

Biographical and Contextual Information

Online Bibliographies

Bibliographies in Print

A sampling of other useful theater performance bibliographies would include:

  • Allen, Richard F. Teatro Hispanoamericano: Una Bibliografia Anotada
    Bobst Ref1 Z1609.D7 A44 1987
  • Asian Theatre: A Study Guide and Annotated Bibliography
    Bobst Ref1 Z3008.D7 A84 Avail. OFFSITE
  • Fordyce, Rachel. Children's Theatre and Creative Dramatics: An Annotated Bibliography of Critical Works.
    Bobst Ref1 Z5784.C5 F67 and Bobst Z5784.C5 F67 Avail. OFFSITE
  • Grimes, Ronald L. Research in Ritual Studies: A Programmatic Essay and Bibliography.
    Bobst Z5118.R5 G75 1985 Avail. OFFSITE

Online Indexes

Books Stored Off Site

Play Annuals

  • Best plays of ... 1894- .
    • Call Number: Bobst PN2266 .A2 B5
    • Description: For each season, digests and provides critical comments on select plays. Also has information about the theater in several US cities, with an extensive entry on Broadway and Off-Broadway productions in New York City. Lists the Pulitzer Prize winners and Drama Critics Circle Awards.

Resources About Playwrights

  • Contemporary Dramatists. K.A. Berney, editor. 6th Ed. Chicago, IL: St. James Press, 1999.
    • Call Number: Bobst REF1 PR737.C57 6th Ed. Now located OFFSITE
    • Description: Provides information for over three hundred living dramatists who publish in English. Entries include a brief biography, list of publications and professional activities, and a critical essay about the dramatist and his or her work. No reprints or revivals are included.
  • International Dictionary of Theatre. Edited by Mark Hawkins-Dady. Chicago: St. James Press, 1991.
    • Call Number: Bobst REF1 PN2000.I474 1991 vols. 1-3; Volume II: Playwrights
    • Description: Volume II includes information on 485 playwrights from all periods and nationalities, selected for inclusion by an academic advisory panel. Entries include a brief biographical sketch, list of works, a bibliography, and a critical overview with cross-references to Volume I [see below] where appropriate.
  • Performing Arts Biography Master Index. 2nd ed. B. McNeil & M. C. Herbert, eds. Detroit, MI: Gale, 1982.
    • Call Number: Bobst REF1 PN1583.M37 1982 Now Avail. OFFSITE
    • Description: Lists citations to biographical reference sources in the performing arts (e.g., biographical dictionaries, encyclopedias), including theater, film, television, dance, music, puppetry and magic.

Resources about Plays

  • Critical Survey of Drama. Frank N. Magill, editor. Pasadena, CA: Salem Press.
  • English Language Series, Revised Edition: Bobst REF1 PR623.C75 1994 v. 1-7
  • Foreign Language Series: Bobst REF1 PN1625.C74 1986 v. 1-6

Description: Information about individual dramatists, dramatic works, and overview essays concerning trends in drama.

  • International Dictionary of Theatre. Edited by Mark Hawkins-Dady. Chicago: St. James Press, 1991.
    • Call Number: Bobst REF1 PN2000.I474 1991 vols. 1-3: Volume I: Plays
    • Description: Volume I includes information on over 600 plays (concentrating on English-speaking world), selected for inclusion by an academic advisory panel. Entries include dramatist, date of first publication and production, translations into English and a bibliography relating to the piece. Also provides a critical essay with plot summary.
  • Theatre World. 1944- .
    • Call Number: Bobst REF1 PN2277.N5 A17
    • Description: An illustrated yearbook, with production photographs, of the American theater, listing productions performed each season. Includes cast, production credits, dates of run, brief performer bios and obits, with a list of awards. Emphasizes New York City, but also includes information on other cities and traveling productions.


  • Guide to Critical Reviews, by James Salem. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1979 ; 1984.
    • Call Number: Bobst REF1 Z5782.S34 1984 parts 1-3 Avail. OFFSITE
    • Description: Provides critical reviews of Broadway, Off Broadway, and Off-Off Broadway production from 1909-1982.
    • Organization: Arranged alphabetically. Part 1: American Drama, 1984 - indexed by playwright; Part 2: The Musical, 1909-1974 - indexed by title; Part 3: Foreign Dr

Complete Reprints of Reviews

  • Theatre Record. 1981 to date. Bi-weekly. Titled London Theatre Record from 1981 to 1990. Avail. OFFSITE
    • Bobst REFl PN2596.L6L66 (1981 on microfiche in Microforms Center--MF5)
  • New York Theatre Critics' Reviews. 1958 to 1996. Weekly. Titled National Theatre Critics' Reviews from 1995 to 1996.
    • Bobst REF1 PN1601.N4 (1940-1957 on microfilm in Microform Center, LL2--titled Critics' Theatre Reviews from 1940 to 1942.)

The National Endowment for the Arts