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Theatre & Dance

guide to Theatre and Dance research at UT Austin

Research in Theatre & Dance

Research in Theatre & Dance

Research both in Theatre and in Dance are similar.  Everything here will work for both.

Note the tab to the left with advice for researching Dance specifically.


to research a play's themes, plot, style, or other literary elements -

             reference sources and journal articles can help you analyze your play in depth


search for them in these databases:


TIP: if your play or playwright is well known,

search for books of critical analysis of the playwright's work

using the Subject Search of the Library Catalog

search for the playwright (last name first) and look for subheadings, such as:

Williams, Tennessee -- Criticism and interpretation


Williams, Tennessee -- Streetcar Named Desire


to find in-depth criticism and reviews of productions of your play, look in these databases:


to find in depth criticism in books,

use the Keyword Search in the Library Catalog by play or playwright or genre, or a combination of these


to find contemporaneous reviews, look in these databases:

also see:
New York Theatre Critic’s Reviews (1943-1994)
PN 1601 N4 PCL


to find details about major productions

         (such as a production's director, theater, city, date, cast, etc.),

start with these databases:


             information you find in the criticism/reviews tab above can also help you piece together a play’s history

ALSO try these databases:

        *TIPS: try your play’s title or broaden it to just the playwright.

             if you are getting too many unrelated hits with the play title,

             try adding the playwright’s name

             or other keywords like “theatre” (or “theater”) or “drama” or “productions”


using the Subject Search of the Library Catalog

search for the playwright, actors, producers (last name first), or theatre companies, etc. and look for subheadings, such as:

Stage history

Dramatic production





use these databases to find biographical information about





          producers, etc.


Long and in-depth analysis of a person's life can often also be found in a book, depending on how well-known the person is. 

using the Subject Search of the Library Catalog

          search for the person (last name first) and look for subheadings, such as:




also, here are some books available in the Fine Arts Library to get you started:

International Dictionary of Theatre PN 2035 I49 1992 FAL

Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance PN 2035 O92 2003 FAL & PCL



to find information about culture and society-

      when & where your play was written,

      when & where it was produced, and

      when & where it was set


use reference works to

       get an overview of an era

       learn what and who the key events and people were

       learn what the social and political climate/context was

You also may need to search in databases other than those in the arts in order to find materials on





      general culture

find these in the A-Z Database List, using the By Subject pull down list

try History or Sociology for starters


Think about these keywords to help you with your searching:


social life






begin with these databases:


AND from the Library Catalog try these reference sources (in print and electronic)

       American Decades E 169.12 A419 1994 FAL

       World Eras D 20 W67 2001 PCL

some examples of other helpful types of sources:

Encyclopedia of the Renaissance and the Reformation

Encyclopedia of Contemporary Latin American and Caribbean Cultures F 1406 E515 2000 PCL

Encyclopedia of Contemporary French Culture DC 33.7 E53 1998 PCL

Africana : The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience DT 14 A37435 2005 PCL

Colonial America : An Encyclopedia of Social, Political, Cultural, and Economic History E 162 C68 2006 PCL

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Theatre & Dance Liaison

Beth Kerr's picture
Beth Kerr
Fine Arts Library (FAL)
DFA 3.212
the University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78713

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