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Drama: Databases for Theatre: Overview

In this guide...

Databases for theatre research including
Cameo and other library catalogs; full-text play databases and books; streaming video, streaming music, music performance and scores online; plays, articles, dissertations, reviews, images, employment and performance archives. 

Mo Dawley
Art and Drama Librarian

Databases for Theatre

Cameo and Other Library Catalogs

Cameo: Carnegie Mellon University Libraries catalog to find books, articles, media, videos, recordings and more at CMU.

Pittcat: University of Pittsburgh Library holdings

The Catalog:   Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh holdings; excellent music and scores collection

Pittsburgh library catalogs of 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.

Clothing and Fashion

Berg Fashion Library
An integrated text and image database including the Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion, articles, essays, e-books and more.

Full-Text Play and Book Databases

Twentieth Century North American Drama is a growing full-text database, currently containing 850 plays including the complete works of major playwrights as well as plays by emerging playwrights. Searchable by keyword, author, play title, characters, scenes, subjects, years, productions, theaters, and companies. Additional information on playwrights, theaters, companies, productions and performances is included along with a selection of playbills, posters and other ephemera.

Asian American Drama
Contains the full-text of 250 plays by Asian American playwrights. It is searchable by author, play title, characters, scenes, subjects, years, productions, theatres, and companies. The database also contains playwright biographies, details on productions, theatres and theatrical companies, as well as production photographs, selected playbills and other information related to the plays.

Black Drama
Contains the full-text of 1200 plays by black playwrights. It is searchable by author, play title, characters, scenes, subjects, years, productions, theatres, and companies, including related resource and biographical information.

Drama Online
1550 plays: classic to contemporary; L.A. Theatre Works audio plays; Globe on Screen streaming video, more....

Early English Books Online
A searchable full text database of over 95,000 titles published between 1475 and 1700.

Eighteenth Century Collections Online
Scanned images from a diverse collection of 18th century printed material including books, directories, Bibles, sheet music, advertisements, sermons; collections on the French Revolution and works by woman writers; editions of the works of Shakespeare.

North American Women's Drama
over 1,500 full-text plays by women from colonial times to the present. Allows in-depth browsing and searching; includes detailed information on related productions, theaters, production companies and and more. Plays were selected by the Alexander Street Press editorial board using recognized play bibliographies and in consultation with other scholars and playwrights.

Internet Shakespeare Editions (ISE) is an open-access, non-profit scholarly website presenting full-text Shakespeare plays and poems, Shakespeare’s life and times, and Shakespeare in performance.

Streaming Video Databases

Digital Theatre Plus
Recent British theatre productions streamed in high definition; additional educational content. One year trial.

Drama Online Globe on Screen
World-class performance at the Globe on streaming video.

Kanopy Streaming Service. Provides remote access to over 25,000 documentary and feature films on many subjects: arts, business, global studies, health, sciences, technical training, etc.
Offers filmed concerts performed by today’s greatest names in classical music, archive movies, inspiring documentaries on performers and composers, educational programs, and master classes.

Met Opera on Demand
Provides unlimited access to more than 450 extraordinary Met performances.
High-quality films of full-length performances by current provocative artists working in dance, theater, music and other forms.

Dance in Video and documentaries in streaming video with influential performers and companies of the 20th century. Includes ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, experimental, improvisational dance, and forerunners of the forms and the pioneers of modern concert dance;
search, browse, cite or bookmark videos to the moment; make custom clips, annotate and share them.

Opera in Video
...important opera performances, captured on video through staged productions, interviews and documentaries; selections are based on a work’s importance to the operatic canon.

Theatre in Video
...definitive performances and documentaries in streaming video with leading actors, playwrights and directors covering a wide range of 20th century theatre history. Includes contemporary revivals of classic works, television broadcasts of New York productions, experimental performances and more;
search, browse and bookmark scenes, monologues, and staging examples to a link that can be shared.

World Newsreels Online
Captures full runs of many of the key international newsreels produced during the early twentieth century. Newsreels are in English, French and Japanese.

Streaming Music, Music Performance and Scores Online

American Song
Streaming music from Americans of diverse origins and all walks of life, from America’s past and present.

Classical Music in Video
Streaming video of classical music performances by leading orchestras, chamber music, oratorio, and solo performances, along with masterclasses and interviews with master teachers from around the world.

Classical Music Library
Streaming audio with a supplementary reference database, enabling patrons to listen while simultaneously searching and browsing the Classical reference database. Send-to-mobile functionality.

Classical Scores Library
Encompasses more than one million pages of classical scores for teaching and study. Includes a mix of public domain, previously unpublished, and in-copyright works from all major classical music genres and time periods.

Library Music Source
This is the online version of the CD Sheet Music and Orchestra Musician’s CD-ROM Library CD-ROMs. The music is selected from out-of-copyright standard editions from publishers such as Breitkopf and Hartel, C.F. Peters, G. Schirmer, Carl Fischer, G. Ricordi, Durand and many others. The editorial staff for CD Sheet Music has chosen the best edition available for each work.
Offers filmed concerts performed by today’s greatest names in classical music, archive movies, inspiring documentaries on performers and composers, educational programs, and master classes.

Met Opera on Demand
Provides unlimited access to more than 450 extraordinary Met performances.

Music Online Collections
Streaming audio, video, scores and full text reference content from all Alexander Street Press perfomance databases to which Carnegie Mellon subscribes: American Song, Classical Music Library, Classical Music Video, Classical Scores Library, Opera in Video, Dance in Video, Theatre in Video.

Naxos Music Library
Streaming recordings for genres such as Classical, Jazz, Blues, Nostalgia, World, Contemporary Instrumental, Chinese, Pop and Rock, Gospel, Spoken Word, and Relaxation. iPhone and Android apps available.

Naxos Music Library Jazz
Streaming music from the artists and collections of Fantasy Records.
Watch high-quality films of full-length performances by some of today’s most provocative artists working in dance, theater, music and other forms that defy categorization.

Play Indexes

Play Index Online
Indexes plays in published sources (1949-present) by subject, author, title, style, genre, cast type and more with plot summaries and musical, cast and scenery requirements. Includes one-act plays, pageants, plays in verse, radio and television plays and classic drama. Links to selected full-text plays on the web.

To see if a play in Play Index is accessible via Carnegie Mellon Libraries check Cameo (library catalog). Other plays may be requested online on Interlibrary Loan via Illiad. Contact Mo Dawley, Art and Drama Librarian, to request plays for the collection!

DEEP: Database of Early English Playbooks
Provides data regarding the publishing, printing and marketing of English Renaissance playbooks from the beginning of printing through 1660. Created by by Alan B. Farmer and Zachary Lesser.

Image Databases


Visual Resources Collection for excellent high resolution image databases and selected interdisciplinary open-web links.


GloPad: Global Performing Arts Database
Records in the database include authoritative, detailed, multilingual descriptions of digital images, texts, video clips, sound recordings, and complex media objects related to the performing arts around the world, plus information about related pieces, productions, performers, and creators.
Developed with the support of: Cornell University and the Institute of Museum and Library Services

Employment Databases

national listings of jobs, internships, fellowships and other employment opportunities in the arts

Artsearch (Theatre Communications Group)
performing arts employment and opportunities in the U. S. and Canada. Artsearch (bimonthly journal) is also available in the current journals display area of Arts and Special Collection, Hunt Library, 4th floor.

Performance Archives

AHDS Performing Arts (Arts and Humantities Data Service)
AHDS "collects, documents, preserves and promotes the use of digital resources to support research and teaching across the broad field of the performing arts: music, film, broadcast arts, theatre, dance" ; rich archive for all researchers, though UK researchers, teachers and students in higher education are the target audience; includes the Digital Performance Archive.

Featured Databases

Drama Online

  • 1550 plays: classic to contemporary
  • L.A. Theatre Works audio plays
  • Globe on Screen streaming video
  • more....

Find Articles, Reviews, Dissertations

Articles and Dissertations
Try the following databases to begin. Other arts, humanities or literature databases will also be worth examining. For a complete list of databases and access to articles in the Carnegie Mellon Libraries link to Databases A-Z.

African American Studies Center
Combines Oxford University Press scholarly reference works in one online resource focusing on the lives and events shaping African American and African history and culture.

Dissertations and Theses Global
Dissertations and theses from around the world, from 1861 to the present, with full text for most added since 1997.

Dissertations and Theses @ Carnegie Mellon 1920-present
Citations and abstracts of dissertations and theses CMU graduate students have published through UMI Dissertation Publishing. In addition to citations and abstracts, the service provides free access to 24 page previews and the full text in PDF format, when available. In most cases, this will be works published in 1997 forward.

International Bibliography of Theatre and Dance with Full-Text
The online edition of the scholarly International Bibliography of Theatre.
The print citation-only editions from 1982-1999 are available on the 4th floor of Hunt Library in the Arts Reference section. FA-REF-4 Z6935 .I53

Full-text access to important academic journals in all disciplines

Kurt Weill Newsletter
Published twice a year; features articles and reviews (books, performances, recordings) that center on Kurt Weill with a broader look at issues of twentieth-century music and theater.

Lexis-Nexis Academic (full-text)
Business, legal and general medical/health information; continually updated news items, background information on current issues, industry news and financial information, law reviews, federal case law; access to quick information through online reference resources and directories.

MLA:International Bibliography (Distributed in FirstSearch)
A reference database for the critical study of language, literature, and folkore. Provides citations to books, book chapters, periodical articles, and dissertations in all languages for all periods beginning with the Middle Ages. Look for the SFX button to find full-text and related resources in each bibliographic source cited.

Music Index Online
Index to music-related scholarly and popular periodicals. Citations from over 640 international music periodicals cover a broad range of topics, including performance and recording reviews, obituaries, and first performances.

Music Online
Allows cross-searching of audio, video, scores and full text reference content from all Alexander Street Press Music databases to which Carnegie Mellon subscribes.

Performing Arts Periodicals Database (formerly International Index to the Performing Arts)
Database indexes articles (1988-present) from more than 140 international performing arts periodicals from 9 countries, and also indexes feature performing arts articles and obituaries appearing in The New York Times and The Washington Post. Covers all aspects of the world of the performing arts, except music. Both scholarly and popular subjects are addressed. Most entries include an abstract in addition to the citation. The retrospective database draws citations from 46 periodicals and dates back to 1864.

Proquest U.S. Newspapers, magazines, dissertations and reports

RILM Abstract of Music Literature
Database of international music sources. All scholarly works are included: articles, books, bibliographies, catalogues, dissertations, Festschriften, films and videos, iconographies, critical commentaries to complete works, ethnographic recordings, conference proceedings, reviews, etc.. (formerly known as RILM, The Repertoire International de
Litterature Musicale Abstracts of Music Literature.

The following databases are recommended first for finding performing arts reviews. Ask about more possibilities for finding historic reviews!

Proquest U.S. newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, dissertations and reports in all subjects

International Bibliography of Theatre and Dance -Selected full-text or PDF articles

International Index to the Performing Arts -Citations to articles and a few full-text

Literature Resource Center includes criticism and reviews

Academic OneFile Articles on all subjects

ArticleFirst Scholarly citations in all disciplines

General OneFile Articles on all subjects

LexisNexis Academic News, law & business information

Full-text print reviews from 1870-1996 in Hunt Library
Find these print resources on the Arts Reference shelves located directly behind the Arts Reference Desk.

Critics' Theatre Reviews. New York, N.Y. : Critics Theatre Reviews.
FA-REF-4 PN2000 .N76 (1940-1942)
Full-text weekly reviews as they originally appeared in appeared the New York Sun, New York Post, New York Herald Tribune, New York Newspaper "PM," New York Times, New York Daily News, New York World-Telegram and New York Journal American.

New York Theatre Critics' Reviews. New York, N.Y. : Critics' Theatre Reviews, Inc.
FA-REF-4 PN2000 .N76, 1943-1996.
Continuing Critics' Theatre Reviews.
Full-text reviews from prominent New York publications and other sources.

The New York Times Theater Reviews. New York: New York Times.
FA-REF-4 PN2266 .N48, 1870-1982, 1985-1990, 1993-2000

Reviews: Open Access Web Resources

Aisle Say (TheatreNet Enterprises)
"An internet magazine of reviews and opinions." Updated bi-weekly.

An internet magazine of theater reviews and features.

Internet Broadway Database
Broadway theatre archive

The New York Times - Current day
Full text, recent theater, film, video, TV, dance and music reviews. Currently free, but registration is required.
For back issues ofthe NY Times online Carnegie Mellon users can log into the Proquest databse.

Playbill OnLine-Current day
Includes reviews.

Building Codes and other Standards

Online access to International (ICC) building codes, related standards from ASHRAE, ASTM, NFPA, etc., USGBC LEED Reference Guides, and Wiley’s Graphic Standards.

Contact the Drama Librarian to request a standard.
Carnegie Mellon Libraries has a deposit account with Techstreet for ordering standards and related documents for CMU faculty and students when we don't have what you need in or elsewhere in our collections.