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)
    Full-text backfiles of over two thousand leading academic journals across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. (Alumni access)

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).
    Videos of full-length performances by contemporary artists working in dance, theater, music, and other performance forms.
  • 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.

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
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
PS122 TV
Walker Art Center Dance
Walker Art Center Theater

    Spacescapes : dance & drawing since 1962 Frost Library; GV1588.3 .S63 2017

    Choreutika : performing and theorising dance in Ancient Greece Frost Library; GV1617 .C485 2017

    Making ballet American : modernism before and beyond Balanchine (Harris, Andrea, author.) Frost Library; GV1623 .H37 2017

    Dancing in the blood : modern dance and European culture on the eve of the First World War (Dickinson, Edward Ross, author.) Frost Library; GV1643 .D53 2017

    Rethinking dance history : issues and methodologies Frost Library; GV1781 .R48 2018

    The Green Table : a dance of death in 8 scenes Frost Library; GV1783.2 .G74

    Sunday : Pierre Droulers choreographer Frost Library; GV1785.D768 S853 2017 x

    Sarah Michelson : modern dance Frost Library; GV1785.M4865 S37 2017

    Honest bodies : revolutionary modernism in the dances of Anna Sokolow (Kosstrin, Hannah, author.) Frost Library; GV1785.S59 L67 2017

    Performing animals : history, agency, theater Frost Library; PN1590.A54 P474 2017

    Black performance on the outskirts of the left : a history of the impossible (Gaines, Malik, author.) Frost Library; PN1590.B53 G35 2017

    Time slips : queer temporalities, contemporary performance, and the hole of history (Pryor, Jaclyn I., author.) Frost Library; PN1590.S6 P79 2017

    What editors do : the art, craft, and business of book editing Frost Library; PN162 .W465 2017

    Character, scene, and story : new tools from The dramatic writer's companion (Dunne, Will, author.) Frost Library; PN1661 .D859 2017

    The dramatic writer's companion : tools to develop characters, cause scenes, and build stories (Dunne, Will, author.) Frost Library; PN1661 .D86 2017

    The value of time in early modern English literature (Skouen, Tina, author.) Frost Library; PN171.P83 S66 2017

    Liturgical drama and the reimagining of medieval theater (Norton, Michael Lee, author.) Frost Library; PN1761 .N67 2017

    The history and theory of rhetoric : an introduction (Herrick, James A., author.) Frost Library; PN183 .H47 2018

    Irony and the modern theatre (Storm, William, 1949-) Frost Library; PN1929.I7 S76 2011

    Horrible prettiness : burlesque and American culture (Allen, Robert Clyde, 1950-) Frost Library; PN1948.U6 A45 1991

    Standing in space : the six viewpoints theory & practice (Overlie, Mary, author.) Frost Library; PN2016.O94 S73 2016

    World theories of theatre (Odom, Glenn, 1975- author.) Frost Library; PN2039 .O35 2017

    Costume in performance : materiality, culture, and the body (Barbieri, Donatella, author.) Frost Library; PN2067 .B23 2017

    Terrific combat!!! : theatrical duels, brawls and battles, 1800-1920 (Wolf, Tony.) Frost Library; PN2071.F5 T47 2009

    Stage management (Stern, Lawrence, 1935-, author.) Frost Library; PN2085 .S77 2017

    Scenography expanded : an introduction to contemporary performance design Frost Library; PN2091.S8 S298 2017

    Before reading : narrative conventions and the politics of interpretation (Rabinowitz, Peter J., 1944-) Frost Library; PN212 .R33 1987

    Medieval theatre performance : actors, dancers, automata and their audiences Frost Library; PN2152 .M43 2017

    Theatre, globalization and the Cold War Frost Library; PN2189 .T5135 2017

    Richard Maxwell and the New York City Players. The theater years Frost Library; PN2193.E86 R53 2017 x

    Spectacular men : race, gender, and nation on the early American stage (Chinn, Sarah E., author.) Frost Library; PN2260.M37 C55 2017

    The scene of foreplay : theater, labor, and leisure in 1960s New York (Palladini, Giulia, author.) Frost Library; PN2277.N5 P255 2017

    Anne Bancroft : a life (Daniel, Douglass K., author.) Frost Library; PN2287.B164 D36 2017

    Charlie Chaplin (Carr, Richard, 1985-, author.) Frost Library; PN2287.C5 C35 2017

    London in a box : Englishness and theatre in revolutionary America (Johnson, Odai, 1959-, author.) Frost Library; PN2287.D543 J64 2017

    Hank & Jim : the fifty-year friendship of Henry Fonda and James Stewart (Eyman, Scott, 1951-, author.) Frost Library; PN2287.F558 E95 2017

    I can't make this up : life lessons (Hart, Kevin, 1979-, author.) Frost Library; PN2287.H26 A3 2017

    William Ivey Long : costume designs 2007-2016 Frost Library; PN2287.L632 W55 2017

    We're going to need more wine : stories that are funny, complicated, and true (Union, Gabrielle, author.) Frost Library; PN2287.U65 A3 2017

    Performing the intercultural city (Knowles, Richard Paul, 1950-, author.) Frost Library; PN2306.T6 K667 2017

    Independent theatre in contemporary Europe : structures - aesthetics - cultural policy Frost Library; PN2570 .F74513 2017

    Musical response in the early modern playhouse, 1603-1625 (Smith, Simon, 1984- author.) Frost Library; PN2592.13.M88 S65 2017

    Shakespeare's two playhouses (Dustagheer, Sarah, author.) Frost Library; PN2596.L6 D87 2017

    Theatre and governance in Britain, 1500-1900 : democracy, disorder and the state (Fisher, Tony, 1964-, author.) Frost Library; PN2596.L6 F485 2017

    Performing unification : history and nation in German theater after 1989 (Cornish, Matt, author.) Frost Library; PN2654 .C67 2017

    Beau monde on empire's edge : state and stage in Soviet Ukraine (Fowler, Mayhill Courtney, 1974-, author.) Frost Library; PN2859.U47 F69 2017

    Explorations in southern African drama, theatre and performance (Ebewo, Patrick, author.) Frost Library; PN2981.5 .E24 2017