Skip to main content
Banner Image

Media, Popular Culture, and Communication Rights Research Guide: Television & Cable

Research strategies and resources on media, popular culture, journalism, copyright, digital society, and related topics.

Resources on Theater History, Theory & Criticism

What's Here


This page lists selected:

If you're looking for sources of reviews and commentary on theater and drama in newspapers and magazines, the sources listed at Reviews and Popular Journalism page cover materials as far back as the late 17th century.


See the Subject Guides for History for guidance on general historical research.


Find Materials on Theater History, Criticism and Theory in Orbis


One can search Orbis for materials in several several ways, such as by location (country, region), period, genre and movement. Notice in the following examples the different ways a subject heading might be constructed.

History and Theater Genres

Theory, Criticism and Styles

Selected Theater History Reference Sources


The following represents only a portion of the many reference resources available at Yale. Search Orbis to find more.

American Variety Stage

The American Variety Stage is a multimedia anthology selected from various Library of Congress holdings. This collection illustrates the vibrant and diverse forms of popular entertainment, especially vaudeville, that thrived from 1870-1920. Included are 334 English- and Yiddish-language playscripts, 146 theater playbills and programs, 61 motion pictures, 10 sound recordings, and 143 photographs and 29 memorabilia items documenting the life and career of Harry Houdini. Groups of theater posters and additional sound recordings will be added to this anthology in the future.

The Cambridge companion to British theatre, 1730-1830. Ed. Jane Moody and Daniel O'Quinn. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

SML Reference, PN2593 C25 2007


The Cambridge Companion to English Restoration Theatre. Ed. Deborah Payne Fisk.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

SML Reference and Arts Library, PR691 C35 2000


The Cambridge Guide to American Theatre. Ed. Don Wilmeth. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

SML Reference, PN2220 C35 2007


Continuum Companion to Twentieth Century Theatre.  Ed. Colin Chambers. London; New York: Continuum, 2002.

SML Reference and Arts Library Reference, PN2035 C65X 2002


English theatrical literature, 1559-1900: a bibliography; incorporating Robert W. Lowe's 'A bibliographical account of English theatrical literature' published in 1888. James Fullarton Arnott. London, Society for Theatre Research, 1970.

SML Reference, Z2014 D7 A75 (LC)


Historical dictionary of postmodernist literature and theater. Fran Mason. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2007.

SML Reference, PN771 .M36X 2007


Historical dictionary of Russian theater. Laurence Senelick. Lanham, Md. : Scarecrow Press, 2007.

SML Reference, PN2721 .S46X 2007


History of the Theater. 10th ed. Oscar C. Brockett and Franklin J. Hildy. Boston: Pearson, 2008.

Bass Stacks, PN2101 .B68X 2008 (LC)

One of the standard textbooks.

Internet Broadway Database (IBDB)

IBDB provides information on Broadway productions, both historical and current.  You can search for titles, genres, people, theaters, characters, awards and more. The historical information is slowly reaching farther back.

The London stage, 1660-1800; a calendar of plays, entertainments & afterpieces, together with casts, box-receipts and contemporary comment. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1960-68.

SML & Bass Stacks, PN2592 L65

A crucial reference work for studying theater during the "long 18th century," compiled from playbills, newspapers and theatrical diaries of the period.

North American Theatre Online

A major information resource covering all aspects of American and Canadian theater, with much information on production history.  Searchable by play, production, company, theater, people and more.  NATO includes many images and also incorporates important reference works and histories of North American theater, such as American Theatre Companies, American Theatre: A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama and Annals of the New York Stage.  (Unfortunately there's nothing similar covering Europe or the rest of the world.)

Theatre histories: an introduction. Phillip B. Zarrilli et al. New York; London: Routledge, 2006.

Bass Stacks, PN2101 .T44X 2006

A less traditional textbook on theater history.

Theatre Profiles

A database created by the Theatre Communications Group through which one can find information about TCG member theatres and their productions, going back to 1995. A useful resource for production history.

Theatre research resources in New York City. Ed. Amy Hughes. New York: Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, 2004.

SML Reference, PN2289 .T545X 2004


Twentieth-century literary movements dictionary. Detroit, Mich.: Omnigraphics, Inc., 2000.

SML Reference, PN597 T94X 2000


United States theatre: a bibliography, from the beginning to 1990. Silvester, Robert. New York: G.K. Hall; Romsey, England: Motley Press, 1993.

SML Reference, Z5781 +S55X 1993 (LC)


Selected Specialized Web Resources for Theater History



Theatre History on the Web

Theatron Project (online 3-D models of theaters)


Europe: pre-1800s

Early Modern London Theatres

Development of Scenic Spectacle - Renaissance and baroque



United Kingdom

British Women Playwrights around 1800

London Stage 1800 - 1900 - documents and calendar

Records of Early English Drama (REED)

Shakespearean Prompt-Books of the Seventeenth Century


Continental Europe

Ancient Greek Theatre

Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama

Calendrier des spectacles sous l'Ancien Régime 1601 - 1774

Calendrier éléctronique des spectacles sous l'Ancien Régime et sous la Révolution (CESAR)

Drottningholm Theater video clips: 1 2 3 4

Didaskalia: Ancient Theater Today

Early Twentieth-Century Russian Drama

German Theater, Film & Performing Arts


Suda On Line: Byzantine Lexicography - with theater entries

Théâtrales - French theater studies

Le Theatre de la Foire à Paris

North America

19th Century Actors Photographs

American Vaudeville Museum

Broadway Archives Theater Videos

Center for Popular Music - 19th century posters, playbills and programs

Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia

Internet Broadway Database (IBDB)

Internet Off-Broadway Database - Lortel Archives

Native American Women Playwrights Archive

Ringling Collection - images of 19th Century American and British actors



Japanese Text Initiative - includes sections with Noh and Kabuki plays

Kabuki for Everyone


New Performance Forms

Digital Performance Archive

Live Art Archive - a record of performance art events in the UK from 1960 to 2001


Critical Approaches/Resources

Drama Criticism at the English Server

Television and Cable

What's Here

This page lists resources on the the study of television, themes, and the TV industry.  There are many more, of course, especially if you're interested in a particular genre of television show.  Yale even has guides on particular shows, such as Lost.

On This Page:

See also:

Key Databases for Scholarly Articles

Communication & Mass Media Complete

CMMC is an excellent database for articles on television, with a highly expansive range of subject headings.

FIAF International Index to Film Periodicals

Indexes over 330 international periodicals. Use the Film Index for articles on TV shows. In addition to the usual types of searches, one can search for articles on a particular television series or show.

Film & Television Literature Index

By going into Advanced Search, one can search search for articles on a TV series or show (choose the REVIEWS & PRODUCTS field).

International Index to Performing Arts

IIPA draws its current content from more than 200 international periodicals and also indexes articles and obituaries appearing in the New York Times and the Washington Post. IIPA covers nearly all aspects of the world of performing arts, including television, film, theater, and opera.

Selected Subject Headings for Searching Orbis

Librarian for Literature in English, Comparative Literature, and Linguistics

Todd Gilman's picture
Todd Gilman
Sterling Memorial Library

130 Wall Street

PO Box 208240

New Haven, CT 06520-8240

(203)-432-1761 (office phone)