African-American Theater History research guide

This is a legacy resource guide for a past course. Please email Sara Smith with questions about these resources or research in this subject area.

Listed in: Theater and Dance, as THDA-153
Moodle site: Course (Login required)
Faculty: Ninoska M. Escobar 

 This course guide contains information and suggested resources that may help you in your dramaturgical pursuits. Click through each of the tabs below to see various types of reference, database, media, and web resources.

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            Some example subject headings to search in the Five College Library Catalog:

            • African American actors
            • African American Dramatists
            • African American Theater
            • Performance Art
            • Performing Arts
            • Musicals 
            • American drama -- African American authors -- History and criticism.
            • African American theater – History
            • Drama -- Black authors – Bibliography
            • African Americans in the performing arts
            • African American press
            • African American women -- Drama
            • American drama -- African American authors
            • American drama -- African American authors -- History and criticism
            • Black theater


            Finding Scripts in the Five College Library catalog:

            Enter the title of a play as a Keyword search in quotes, for example “Book of Grace” or “six characters in search of an author.” This will find the play as a standalone title and also within anthologies or collections.

            Too many results? Try leaving quotes off and searching by Title rather than Keyword.

            No results? Try WorldCat, with the title in quotes, to look for the play within a collection or anthology, then search the title of the collection or anthology in the Five Colleges Catalog. WorldCat is also a good way to find citations for items not held by the Five Colleges, so that you can place a request through Get It @AC.

            You can also do an ADVANCED SEARCH in the catalog to find a broad array of African American theater texts.  Search for African American drama AND African American authors.  This will result in play titles and collections. You can add a third term to narrow to a specific author or genre, or use the Publication Date selection to find plays in a specific date range. Your list will also contain anthologies, bibliographies, research texts, and video. 


              SOME TIPS:

              • Search the catalog for biographies of playwrights, directors, etc., play scripts, and contextual scholarship.
              • For production/performance histories, you can look for reviews (in newspapers, magazines, journals) or primary sources that document the performance (like playbills, promptbooks, images).
              • The Wayback Machine can also be helpful if you need to go back to a theater company's website at an earlier point in time.
              • Besides films or recordings found in the library catalog and Kanopy, look for adaptations on YouTube, Vimeo, or elsewhere on the internet. You can also find photographs online (see the "Web" tab of this guide).


              Visit the "Books" tab of this guide to see more tips for searching the Five College Library Catalog.