Theatre Research

Finding Articles


The Library does not own an index devoted solely to theatre journals, but the following databases can be helpful. Start with:

Academic Search Premier via EBSCOhost
This database helps you find articles from some theatre and drama journals and has some full text.

ProQuest Central
This database contains some theatre titles and has some full text.

Then try:

JSTOR: Selected Collections
This database provides access to the full text of many core scholarly journals in the arts and sciences. Please note: Coverage dates vary from journal to journal.

Taylor & Francis Online: Social Science and Humanities Collection
Contains several full-text journals in the performing arts. 

MLA Bibliography
This database indexes drama and literature journals back to the 1960s. Search results include citations and abstracts, not full-text articles.

If you are doing historical theater research, you might also want to try:

America: History and Life
This database indexes the literature of American and Canadian history written since 1954. Search results include citations and abstracts, not full-text articles.

Historical Abstracts via EBSCOhost
This database indexes the literature of world history, excluding the United States and Canada, written since 1954. Search results include citations and abstracts, not full-text articles.

New York Times Historical via ProQuest
The database has full-text and full-image articles beginning with the newspaper's first issue in 1851. You may find articles and profiles on theatre figures as well as reviews.

Tip: Sometimes the word theatre is spelled theater. You can search for both variations by using a technique called truncation. In most databases, you can type in theat* to search for both words, but please ask a reference librarian if this doesn't work.

If your topic deals with plays or playwrights, try:

Literature Resource Center
This database provides full-text access to biographies and critical analysis of authors from every age and literary discipline. It covers more than 90,000 writers with additional in-depth coverage of 2,500 of the most studied authors.

Twayne Authors Series
This literary reference resource series provides literary criticism for nearly 600 authors.

If you are looking for play reviews since 1990 or so, try:

This full-text database provides access to many North American and international newspapers.

Research Library and National Newspapers via ProQuest
This database provides access to many full-text magazine and newspaper articles.

Finding Books and Films


To locate books owned by Niagara University Library, use the Library Catalog.

Tip: When looking at a book in the Library catalog, be sure to check which collection it is shelved in. Many art books are shelved in the Oversize collection, which is located on the basement level of the Library to the right. When looking at a DVD, check to see if it is in the Educational or Recreational Collection. Both are  located on the first floor.

The ebrary electronic book collection offers full-text access to many titles.

There are three places to look for educational video and documentaries owned by Niagara University Library.

  1. The Educational DVD Collection is located on the first floor of the Library.
    This collection exceeds 1,500 titles and can be viewed and searched via the NU Library Catalog.
  2. Films on Demand. More than 6,000 video titles are available for streaming anywhere on campus.
  3. The web is a good source of video as well. Refseek links to some of the best sites:

If you want to search for books and DVDs owned by other libraries, too, then try searching WorldCat, a catalog that contains references to more than 57 million items owned by 9,000 libraries worldwide. Don't worry - if you need a book owned by another library, you can request it. To learn how, jump to the section called Obtaining Materials NU Library Does Not Own.

Finding Dissertations and Theses


Doctoral dissertations and master's theses may be useful to your research.

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses: The Humanities and Social Sciences Collection
This is a comprehensive collection of scholarly research in the humanities and social sciences covering more than one million dissertations and theses, many in full text.

Finding Facts and Web Sites


Theatre is a broad discipline that includes topics such as acting, costumes, music, playwriting and stagecraft, just to name a few. A collection of theatre reference books can be found in the Library's Reference Collection. For example:

  • Dictionary of the Theatre: Terms, Concepts and Analysis (PN2035 .P2913x 1998)
  • The Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre & Performance (PN2035 .O94 2003)
  • The World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre (PN2189 .W67x 1994)

The Reference Collection is located on the first floor.

Tip: Reference books can also help you locate keywords to help you perform better searches. For example, suppose you are doing a paper on the history of drama in the Middle Ages. If you take a few minutes to look in a theatre encyclopedia, you will learn more about the topic and find keywords like medieval, early English drama, Elizabethan, liturgical drama, miracle-plays and mysteries. Knowing more background information and keywords will help you do better and more comprehensive research.

If you are looking for specific information on the World Wide Web, visit a search engine like Google and type your keywords in.

If you would like to browse a directory of theatre web sites, try this one:

Internet Public Library: Drama & Performance (Theater & Stagecraft)

Obtaining Materials NU Library Does Not Own


If you need an article or a book that NU Library does not own, you can make use of Interlibrary Loan to obtain it.

Tip: In a hurry? If the article or book you need is owned by another library in Western New York, you can visit that library and use their resources on site (view a list of Western New York library web sites).

Please note: If you wish to borrow a book from another Western New York library, you can get an InfoPass card at the Reference Desk.

Citing Your Sources


Check with your professor first, but the most commonly used style manual in the Theatre Studies Department is the following:

  • MLA Handbook For Writers of Research Papers (Ref LB2369 .G53 2003b)

This manual is the definitive source, but you will find some online guides as well.

Try a Google search of "MLA Style" to see other guides.

Tip: Please talk to your professor if you have questions about how to cite your sources.