Theater and Dance Research Guide

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Try these databases first to find journal articles in this discipline.
  • Arts & Humanities Database
    Full-text publications that focus on art, architecture, design, history, philosophy, music, literature, theatre and cultural studies.
  • World Shakespeare Bibliography Online (1972 to present)
    Includes annotated entries for books, articles, reviews, productions, and more.
  • Performing Arts Periodicals Database (1864 to present)
    Covers a broad spectrum of the arts and entertainment industry - including dance, drama, theater, opera, film, television and more.
  • Academic Search Premier (date coverage varies)
    Full-text articles from over 3,600 journals in the social sciences, arts and humanities, and sciences.
  • Project Muse
    Online database of more than 200 journals from nonprofit publishers. (Alumni access)
  • JSTOR
    Full-text backfiles of over two thousand leading academic journals across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. (Alumni access)
  • Music & Performing Arts
    Cross-searches audio, video, scores, and full-text reference content from all Alexander Street Press music databases.
  • Dance In Video
    Dance productions and documentaries by the most influential performers and companies of the 20th century

For more databases, use the subject filter on A-Z Databases

Use these encyclopedias and reference works to get started on a topic.

Print reference:
Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion by Valerie Steele  Frost Reference GT507 .E53 2005
The Dictionary of Fashion History by Valerie Cumming  
Frost Reference GT507 .C86 2010

Find images and streaming audio and video in these collections (also see the Web tab in this guide and the Images Research Guide).
  • OntheBoards.tv
    Videos of full-length performances by contemporary artists working in dance, theater, music, and other performance forms.
  • Dance In Video
    Dance productions and documentaries by the most influential performers and companies of the 20th century
  • ARTstor
    Image database including architecture, painting, sculpture, photography, decorative arts, and design as well as many other forms of visual culture.
  • Ensemble [An Open Database of the Performing Arts]
    A database of transcriptions and digitized images of early 20th century theater programs collected by the NY Public Library of the Performing Arts.
  • Kanopy Streaming Video
    Kanopy offers a broad selection of thousands of streaming films, documentaries, and theatrical releases covering a wide variety of subject areas, with additional new releases launched monthly. If close-captioning is not included, it can be requested. Interactive transcripts are included. Note that US feature films are not typically part of the Kanopy offerings.
  • Aluka
    Digital resources and data in three major content areas: African Cultural Heritage Sites and Landscapes, The African Plants Initiative and Struggles for Freedom in Southern Africa.
  • Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) Digital Archive
    Production photographs, programs and playbills, and other digitized media from the history of this performing arts venue.
  • Classical Performance In Video
    Video resources for the study of classical music, including full operas, dance titles, masterclasses, documentaries, scores and interviews
  • Music & Performing Arts
    Cross-searches audio, video, scores, and full-text reference content from all Alexander Street Press music databases.

Audio and Video sites:

The Chocolate Factory Theater on Vimeo
Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive
Jerome Robbins Dance Division Moving Image Archive at NYPL
The Joyce Theater on YouTube
National Theater (London) video
New York Live Arts on Vimeo
OntheBoardsTV
PS122 TV
Walker Art Center Dance
Walker Art Center Theater

Start with these recommended freely available resources in this discipline.

Online Databases and Exhibits:

Hemispheric Institute Digital Video Library
Digital video library of performance practices in the Americas. Includes artist profiles,interviews, bibliographies, production information, image galleries, scripts, and additional materials.

Internet Broadway Database
Online database of Broadway production history

Performing Arts Encyclopedia
Database of performing arts resources at the Library of Congress. Includes digitized photographs, manuscripts, correspondence and ephemera.

PBS American Masters Database--Performing Arts
Biographical profiles, video clips of interviews, interactive career timelines, and interviews with artists

Performing Arts in America, 1875-1923
Database of 16,000 objects representing archival materials from the New York Performing Arts Library collections.

Ensemble [An Open Database of the Performing Arts]
A database of transcriptions and digitized images of early 20th century theater programs collected by the NY Public Library of the Performing Arts.

The Theatrical Lighting Database of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
Digitized plots, focus charts, and cue sheets from landmark productions in the collections of the New York Public Library

Global Shakespeare (MIT)
The archive is a work in progress and currently includes a catalog of more than 397 productions, 75 video clips, and online videos of over 30 full productions.

Global Performing Arts Database
Digital images, texts, video clips, sound recordings, and complex media objects related to the performing arts around the world

North American Indian Drama
Full text of plays by American Indian, First Nation, and Pacific Islanders playwrights of the 20th century; information about the plays and their production, and biographical data. Also includes issues of the Native playwrights' newsletter. 

Kyoto Costume Institute timeline
Digital images and information about objects in the Kyoto Costume Instituite collections

Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute highlights
Digital images and information about objects in the Met's Costume Instituite collections

Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) Museum collections
Digital images and information about objects from the FIT Musuem

Victoria & Albert Fashion Collections
Digital images and information about clothing in the Victoria & Albert Musuem

New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts houses one of the worlds most extensive combination of circulating, reference, and rare archival collections in its field. These materials are available free of charge, along with a wide range of special programs, including exhibitions, seminars, and performances.

Billy Rose Theatre Division of the NYPL for the Performing Arts
The Billy Rose Theatre Division of The New York Public Library is one of the largest and most comprehensive archives devoted to the theatrical arts.

Theatre on Film and Tape Archive, NYPL Performing Arts
Since 1970, the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive (TOFT) has preserved live theatrical productions and documented the creative contributions of distinguished artists and legendary figures of the theatre. This is one of the only places you will be able to see taped performances of live theatre productions. Be sure to read the guidelines for using the collection.

Digital Public Library of America
A free, online portal to the digitized collections of various libraries, archives and museums.

 

Audio and Video sites:

The Chocolate Factory Theater on Vimeo
Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive
Jerome Robbins Dance Division Moving Image Archive at NYPL
The Joyce Theater on YouTube
New York Live Arts on Vimeo
OntheBoardsTV
PS122 TV
Walker Art Center Dance
Walker Art Center Theater

    The sentient archive : bodies, performance, and memory Frost Library; GV1588 .S46 2018

    Dance me a song : Astaire, Balanchine, Kelly, and the American Film Musical (Genné, Beth, author.) Frost Library; GV1779 .G46 2018

    Circus life : performing and laboring under America's big top shows, 1830-1920 (Childress, Micah, author.) Frost Library; GV1815 .C48 2018

    Affect, animals, and autists : feeling around the edges of the human in performance (Carlson, Marla, author.) Frost Library; PN1590.A94 C37 2018

    A stranger's journey : race, identity, and narrative craft in writing (Mura, David, author.) Frost Library; PN187 .M87 2018

    Mit dem Schreiben anfangen (Ortheil, Hanns-Josef.) Frost Library; PN189 .O78 2017

    European literary history : an introduction Frost Library; PN201 .E87 2018

    Senses of style : poetry before interpretation (Dolven, Jeffrey Andrew, author.) Frost Library; PN203 .D65 2017

    Performed ethnography and communication : improvisation and embodied experience (Madison, D. Soyini, author.) Frost Library; PN2041.A57 M33 2018

    Forties and fifties fashion for the stage : patterns from vintage clothing (Parr, Jessica, author.) Frost Library; PN2067 .P275 2018

    A new practical guide to rhetorical gesture and action (National Theater of the United States of America, author.) Frost Library; PN2071.G4 N38 2017

    Viral performance : contagious theaters from modernism to the digital age (Felton-Dansky, Miriam, author.) Frost Library; PN2193.E86 F45 2018

    Intermediality in theatre and performance Frost Library; PN2193.E86 I58 2006

    Bruce Lee : a life (Polly, Matthew, author.) Frost Library; PN2287.L2897 P65 2018

    Robin (Itzkoff, Dave, author.) Frost Library; PN2287.W473 I89 2018

    Performance studies in Canada Frost Library; PN2301 .P47 2017

    The work of literary translation (Scott, Clive, 1943-, author.) Frost Library; PN241 .S37 2018

    Theatre and the English public from Reformation to Revolution (Beushausen, Katrin, author.) Frost Library; PN2589 .B48 2018

    Commedia dell'arte in context Frost Library; PN2671 .C66 2018

    La place du prince (Marciak, Dorothée.) Frost Library; PN2686.F5 M373 2005