Theatre: Encyclopedias & Reference Books
This guide provides links to basic theatre research: history, design, acting, production, scripts, videos, and careers.
These are general encyclopedias that will provide cursory background information about nearly any topic.
- Oxford Reference Online: Performing ArtsOnline access to encyclopedias, dictionaries, maps, timelines, and quotations. Covers a wide variety of topics, including the performing and visual arts.
- Credo Reference3,000,000 full-text entries in over 500 encyclopedias, dictionaries, biographies, quotations, and other sources.
Types of Reference Books
All reference books can be general or on very specific topics. If you can imagine it, there's probably a reference book about it.
- Dictionaries: Brief definitions of words, technical terminology.
- Encyclopedias: Background information about a topic.
- Articles are written by experts, who often point to other source materials.
- Almanacs: Tiimelines, statistics, and factual data.
- Handbooks: Brief information/lists for facts, formulas, technical information, etc.
- Biographical Dictionaries: Brief background information about a person or named group.
- Yearbooks: Annual summary of events, awards, and notable changes (including obituaries).
- Directories: Contact information and list of services/resource provided by organizations, often updated annually.
Some Key Theatre History Reference Books
We have hundreds of encyclopedias in print editions on topics ranging from American Theatre to Zombies! To find them:
- Go to Usearch, the library catalog
- Search for: Encyclopedias AND ...
- Replace the .... with a concept or research topic. For example: Encyclopedias AND Women
- If needed, limit your results using the Resource Type and Subject options in the left-hand column.
- If you see a tab under the title that says "Location & Request", the encyclopedia is available in print. If you see a link for "Online Access" it's available as an e-book.
- Bibliography of Medieval Drama byMarriott Library, General Collection, Level 2: PN2152Z .S78 1972
- The Cambridge history of British theatre, v. 1-3 byMarriott Library, General Collection, Level 2: PN2581 .C36 2004
- Crowell's handbook of classical drama byMarriott Library, General Collection, Level 2: PA3024 .H35
- Critical survey of drama byMarriott Library, General Collection, Level 2: PN1625 .C68 2003
- German theatre: A bibliography from the beginning to 1995 byMarriott Library, General Collection, Level 1: Z2234 .D7 P379 1996
- A guide to reference and bibliography for theatre research byMarriott Library, General Collection, Level 2: PN 1620.A1Z B15 1983
- International dictionary of theatre byMarriott Library, General Collection, Level 2: PN2035.I49 1992
This is a three-volume set (plays; playwrights; and actors, directors & designers) with timelines and extensive bibliographies, pointing you to additional source materials.
- McGraw-Hill encyclopedia of world drama, vol. 1-5. byMarriott Library, General Collection, Level 2: PN1625.M3 1984
- The reader's encyclopedia of Shakespeare byMarriott Library, General Collection, Level 2: PR2892.C3
- The reader's encyclopedia of world drama byMarriott Library, General Collection, Level 2: PN1625.G3 1969
- Theatre and Drama in the Making byMarriott Library, Level 2, General Collection: PN1621.G3 1964.
An anthology of essays from the classical theatre and from Renaissance theatre.