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Drama: Acting: Overview

In this guide

Basic reference books, new books online and selected links for voice, accents, physical and interactive theater and organizations.

See also these guides:
Drama Basic Resources:Theatre Reference Shelf: Biography

Find Plays and Monologues

Library Catalogs

Books on acting generally congregate in the Language and Literature section of the library represented by P-PQ in LC Library of Congress Classification  but are also scattered in different locations, or they may be online.

Tips on searching Cameo library catalog for books in print and online

Browse the stacks: PN2061-2078
and search Cameo to find more resources in various other locations.

Sample searches
Actors history
Actor training
      Psychological Aspects
      Study and Teaching

  Television acting
  Motion picture acting
  Vocational guidance
  Professional guidance

Find plays in other library catalogs

Pittcat  University of Pittsburgh Library holdings

Other Pittsburgh library catalogs  Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University, Chatham University, Carlow University, Point Park University, and Robert Morris University.

WorldCat includes holdings for all of the above as well as other local, regional, national and international library holdings

Selected web links

Voice and Accents

Fitzmaurice Voicework
Approach to voice training that explores "the dynamics between body, breath, voice, the imagination, language and presence" encouraging "vibrant voices that communicate intention and feeling without excess effort."

NCVS (National Center for Voice and Speech)
A non-profit organization concerned with vocal research and health. Includes other links.

Proper Elizabethan Accents (Renaissance Faire)
Includes pronunciation, pronunciation drills, grammar, vocabulary, songs, forms of address, insults and references.

Speech Accent Archive (Program in Linguistics,George Mason University)
A sound archive of speech accents from native and non-native speakers of English.

Physical and Interactive Theater

Alexander Technique for Actors
"We bring people together to explore an essential process that is foundational to the empowerment of actors —in their work and in their lives..We aim to make the Alexander Technique accessible and available to actors at every level so all can benefit from the work.  We also want to provide opportunities for Alexander Technique professionals to expand and refine their understanding of the Alexander Technique as it applies to the specific skills an actor needs."

Applied and Interactive Theater Guide (Toni Sant)
A resource of non-traditional theater techniques and styles.

The New Improv Page (Fuzzy Gerdes)
A clearinghouse for information on improvisational theater.

Interactive Dramas (Brian David Phillips)
"Theatre-Style Live Action Roleplaying Games"


Actors' Equity Association
Actors' Equity Association, founded in 1913, is the labor union representing actors and stage managers in the legitimate theatre in the United States.

ATME The Association of Theatre Movement Educators
Web site not functioning (accessed 4/17/14)
A service organization for movement educators in actor training

Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists merged March 2012.


Mo Dawley
Art and Drama Librarian


Osnes, Beth. Acting: An International Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, California; Denver, Colorado: ABC-CLIO, 2001.
FA-REF-4 PN2035 .O84 2001


Sharp, Harold, S. Index to Characters in the Performing Arts. New York: Scarecrow Press, 1966
HUNT FA-REF-4 PN1579 .S45 (6 volumes)

Williams, Simon. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Stage Actors and Acting. Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015. 

New Acqs of Interest

Rob Urbinati. Play Readings: A Complete Guide for Theatre Practitioners (online) Burlington, MA ; Abingdon, Oxon: Focal Press, 2016.


Fotis, Matt, and Siobhan O'Hara. The Comedy Improv Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to University Improvisational Comedy in Theatre and Performance. (online). New York, NY: Focal Press, 2016.