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Drama: Dramaturgy: Overview

in this guide..

Basic resources covering library catalogs, article databases, textbooks, reference works such as encyclopedias and dictionaries and local special collection venues to aid in production research.

Mo Dawley
Art and Drama Librarian

Related course guides:
Drama Research Guide

54-281 Foundations II: 20th Century Productions

New Databases

1550 plays: classic to contemporary
L.A. Theatre Works audio plays

Globe on Screen streaming video


Life Magazine Archive. Cover to cover from 1926-2000.


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. For questions, contact Jeff Hinkelman.

New Books

Georgelou, Konstantina, Efrosini Protopapa, and Danae Theodoridou. The Practice of Dramaturgy: Working On Actions in Performance. Amsterdam: Valiz, 2017.

The Pittsburgh Tatler

The Pittsburgh Tatler: A blog by CMU School of Drama Wendy Arons
…theatre reviews, observations on local culture, comments from fictionalized readers, ruminations on the life academic, and the occasional tidbit of juicy gossip…

Basic Resources

Library Catalogs
Cameo Carnegie Mellon University Libraries catalog
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Catalog has the most comprehensive public music collection in the city.
Pittcat The University of Pittsburgh library catalog
WorldCat to verify the existence of materials in the holdings of hundreds of libraries nationwide and internationally for resources CMU Libraries don't have, and to get citation information for using  Interlibrary Loan.

Basic Reference

Chemers, Michael M. Ghost Light : An Introductory Handbook for Dramaturgy.
Southern Illinois University Press, 2010.
HUNT FA-REF PN2053 .C44X 2010

Trencsényi, Katalin. Dramaturgy in the Making: A Users Guide for Theatre Practitioners. London, UK : New York: Methuen Drama, 2015.
HUNT STACKS-4 PN1660.5 .T84 2015


Cody, Gabrielle H. and evert Sprinchorn. The Columbia Encyclopedia of Modern Drama. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007.
HUNT FA-REF PN1861 . C65 2007 (2 volumes)
Critical essays on individuals, plays, and types of drama from 1860 to present; cites first production of plays; emphasis placed on cultural context of dramatic works and their authors; appendices include synoptic outline of contents, directory of contributors. Bibliographies. Extensive index.

Hawkins-Dady, Mark, ed.and  Leanda Shrimpton, picture editor. International Dictionary of Theatre.Chicago and London: St. James Press, 1992. 3 volumes
HUNT FA-REF PN2035 .I49 1992
Plays Volume 1
Detailed information about play publication and production. Includes date of first production, translations and bibliography;critical summary of each play.
Playwrights Volume 2
Detailed information on life and work; critical summary; bibliography
Actors, Directors and Designers Volume 3
Detailed information on life and work, critical summary;

New York Theatre Critics' Reviews
HUNT FA-REF PN2000 .N76, 1940-1995 (Look for the red binders directly behing the Arts Reference Desk.)
Facsimiles of newspaper reviews. Sometimes provides detailed information about the production

Magill, Frank N. Critical Survey of Drama : English Language Series. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. : Salem Press, 1985.
HUNT FA-REF-1 PR623 .C75 1985 6 vols.
Biographical summaries; critical essays examine representative plays and identify themes and characteristics employed by English language dramatists.

Magill, Frank N. Critical Survey of Drama : Foreign Language Series. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. : Salem Press, 1986.
HUNT FA-REF-1 PN1625 .C74 1986, 6 vols. with 1987 supplement
Biographical summaries; critical essays examine representative plays and identify themes and characteristics employed by more than 170 non-English speaking dramatists.

MLA International Bibliography database
Venerated reference database for finding citations to books, book chapters, periodical articles, and dissertations in all languages for all periods from the Middle Ages to present.

Carpenter, Charles A. Modern Drama: Scholarship and Criticism, 1981-1990: An International Bibliography. Toronto, Buffalo and London: Modern Drama and University of Toronto Press, 1997.
FA-REF-4Z5781 .C37 1997

Literature Resource Center
Database for research on literary topics, authors and their works in all genres, disciplines, time periods and regions worldwide.
You can also search by content type: biography, multimedia, news, literary criticism, primary sources, literary work, and topics.

Article Databases
For more databases across disciplines go to  Databases A-Z or  Arts Databases.  To check to see if we have access to journals electronically link to  e-Journals. Also check Cameo for journal titles we subscribe to in print and online.

Drama Databases
International Bibliography of Theatre and Dance
Database citing journal articles and books with selected access to full-text content relating to all aspects of performance and the theatre; replaces the scholarly print edition of the International Bibliography of Theatre.

International Index to the Performing Arts
Database provides citations to international scholarly and poplular articles on the performing arts, except music. It also cites performing arts articles and obituaries appearing in The New York Times and The Washington Post. Most records include an abstract in addition to the citation. The retrospective database draws citations from 46 periodicals and dates back to 1864

Humanities and Social Sciences databases
17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers
Search and display the text of 1,000 pamphlets, proclamations, newsbooks and newspapers. Most of the newspapers are from England, Ireland, and Scotland, with a handful from the British colonies in the Americas and Asia.

18th Century Journals: A Portal to Newspapers and Periodicals, c1685-1835
Contains unique and extremely rare eighteenth century periodicals between 1685 and 1835. Subjects include class and social structure, domestic and foreign affairs, colonialism & empire, literature, drama, theater, music, economics, the industrial revolution, slavery, and much more.

19th Century U.S. Newspapers
Search and display pages from 500 U. S. newspapers from the 19th century.

19th Century British Library Newspapers
Search and display the full text of 48 (forty-eight) 19th century newspapers from England, Scotland, and Ireland.

19th Century Masterfile (NCM)
Voluminous resource for citing historical research prior to 1925 in periodicals, newspapers, books, U.S. Congressional Record, US and UK government documents and U.S. patents.

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.

America History and Life
Citations and some abstracts to journal articles, dissertations, and book and media reviews on United States and Canadian history from prehistory to the present; HA contains citations and some abstracts of journal articles, books, and dissertations on world history from 1450 to the present (excluding the United States and Canada).

Pages of Harper's Weekly from 1857-1912 as scanned images. Users can browse by date or literary genre. Searches can be done by occupation or role in society, by searching any combination of four indexes: subject; illustrations; literature and publishing; advertising, or by full text.

Literature Resource Center
Database for research on literary topics, authors and their works in all genres, disciplines, time periods and regions worldwide.
You can also search by content type: biography, multimedia, news, literary criticism, primary sources, literary work and topics.

MLA International Bibliography online
Venerated reference tool for finding citations to books, book chapters, periodical articles, and dissertations in all languages for all periods from the Middle Ages to present.

Project Muse
Current humanities and social science journals from a variety of university presses.

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.

Cross-Disciplinary General Article Databases
Academic OneFile
Articles on all subjects

ArticleFirst Scholarly citations in all disciplines

General OneFile Articles on all subjects

LexisNexis Academic News, law & business information

ProQuest U.S. newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, dissertations and reports

Plays Online

Alexander Street Press full-text collections contain information about plays, playwrights and productions with selected visual material

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.

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.

Early English Books Online
A searchable full text database of over 95,000 titles published between 1475 and 1700. Over 125,000 titles anticipated (new titles are added each year). Searchable by author, title, subject & imprint information. Documents can be viewed online and or downloaded in PDF format (Adobe).

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. Fields covered include history, literature, religion, law, fine arts, science and more.


Drama Online

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

Media and Image Resources

Berg Fashion Library
A searchable database which includes the the Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion with the advantage of regular updates. Search for articles and images examined with an emphasis on multi-disciplinary and cross-cultural perspectives regarding all aspects of dress and fashion globally from pre-history to the present.

CMU Film and Video Collections
The best way to search Cameo, the library catalog, for videos is to do an Advanced Search and choose VIDEO-BSMT for location in the pull down menu.

Dance in Video
Streaming video of influential performers and companies of the 20th century

IBDB Internet Broadway Database
This is a good place to start in researching productions. Best practice is to check information with scholarly resources.
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.

New York Theatre, 1919-1961 [microform]
26,000 photographs from the Vandamm Collection
in The New York Public Library, Library and Museum of the Performing Arts. Teaneck, N.Y. : Somerset House ; Cambridge [England] : Chadwyck-Healey, 1980.MFICHE-3 792 N532 (Hunt Library, 3rd floor)
Includes captioned photographs of 900 stage productions.

Life Magazine Archive. Cover to cover from 1926-2000.

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.
Streaming video of performances, interviews, and documentaries that cover the full range of operatic composition, from the Baroque to the 20th century.

Theatre in Video
Streaming video of definitive theatre performances and documentarie

Visual Resources Collection (Arts Library at Carnegie Mellon)
Link to this guide to access well-researched high resolution subscription and open-web image resources. Of particular note is ArtStor a subscription image database with a growing collection of historical and contemporary images from museum collections in the U.S. Note that the article database JSTOR noted above links to ArtStor images.

VADS: The Online Resource for Visual Arts
Online "visual art collections comprising over 100,000 images that are freely available and copyright cleared for use in learning, teaching and research in the UK." Includes the Learning Index, a series of teaching resources based in the collection by subject specialists and lecturers.
Especially useful for theatre are the Central Saint Martins Museum & Study Collection which includes the theatre design collection, the Constance Howard Resource and Research Centre in Textiles:
Material Collection and Slide Collection, John Johnson Collection of Trades and Professions, London College of Fashion - College Archive, Oxford Portraits (various media/leaders in all professions in the UK); Textiles Collection: University for the Creative Arts at Farnham, with a number of other collections focusing on design, history, posters, artists, architecture and more.


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

Dissertations and Theses @ Carnegie Mellon
ca. 1920-present; some full-text from 1997-.

Dissertations and theses CMU graduate students have published through UMI Dissertation Publishing; provides free access to 24 page previews and the full text in PDF format, when available.

General Reference

Credo Reference
Cross disciplinary encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri, quotations.  Includes:

Cambridge Guide to Theatre

Continuum Companion to Twentieth Century Theatre

Shakespeare's Theatre: A Dictionary of His Stage Context

Dictionary of Fashion and Fashion Designers

Martial Arts of the World and more.

Also links to Bridgeman Art Library.

Oxford Reference Online (ORO)
Language and subject dictionaries. Titles include:

A Dictionary of Shakespeare

Oxford Companion to Shakespeare

Oxford Companion to American Theatre

International Encyclopedia of Dance

Oxford Dictionary of Dance

Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance

Concise Oxford Companion to Theatre


Historic Play Lists

Play Index database
Includes classic drama, one-acts, pageants, radio and television plays from 1949 to the present published individually or in collections; search for subject, style, genre and cast type ;  includes very brief plot summaries, musical, cast and scenery requirements.

Lists of Plays Published in Magazines (pre-1980)

Chicorel Theater Index to Plays in Anthologies, Periodicals, Discs, and Tapes . New York: Chicorel Library Publishing Co., 1970-.
HUNT FA-REF-4 PN1655 .C43X, VOL.1-3 (4th floor Hunt Library)

The Drama Scholars' Index to Plays and Film Scripts: A Guide to Plays and Film Scripts in Selected Anthologies, Series, and Periodicals . Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1974.
HUNT FA-REF-4 Z5781 .S17, 3 Vols
Indexes foreign language scripts, translations; 18th- and 19th- century anthologies and collections as well as modern film scripts.

Keller, Dean H. Index to Plays in Periodicals. Rev. and expanded ed. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1979.
HUNT FA-REF-4 Z5781 .K43 1979 (4th Floor Hunt Library)
Indexes thousands of plays in hundreds of periodicals, by playwright or title.

Patterson, Charlotte A. Plays in Periodicals: An Index to English Language Scripts in Twentieth Century Journals. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1970.
Lists 4,000 plays in 97 English language journals published between 1900 and 1968.