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Theatre History, Theory & Criticism (2024): Home/Books

A guide to research for students in theatre classes, created by Librarian Maryke Barber

Slides from class

In this guide:

Welcome! This guide will help you in your search for great research materials.

More tips for writing an Annotated Bibliography (University of Toronto)

Suggested Subject Terms

use in the Online Catalog and in databases:



Drama (= works on drama as a literary form.)

    Drama – 16th century
    Drama – 17th century

Theater (= works on drama as acted on the stage. Works on facilities used to stage drama are entered under Theaters.)

Theater may have additional subjects attached. Some examples:

  • Theater  - Audiences
  • Theater – History
  • Theater – History – Medieval, 500-1500
  • Theater – Production and direction
  • Theater – Political Aspects
  • Theater – France - Biography

Remember: from broad to specific. Example:


  • Theater – France        
  • Theater – France – History       
  • Theater – France – History – 18th century


To Search for information about making theatre:


  • Stage history
  • Dramatic production

Both of these are used, added to playwrights' names, for information on how their works have been produced/staged. Example:

Sophocles -- Dramatic Production


To Search for People:

  • Actors
  • Actresses
  • Playwrights
  • Women authors
  • Women in the theater


Specific People:

Last name, first name
(+ Criticism and interpretation, + Adaptations, etc.)

 e.g. Jonson, Ben, 1573-1637 – Criticism and interpretation

Time period:  

 16th century


Other useful subdivisions:

  • History
  • Biography
  • Stage history
  • Dramatic works


Broader headings, for context:

  • Art and society
  • France – social conditions – 16th century

OneSearch: Books, Articles & Films / Google Scholar

This search combines the Hollins + Roanoke College collections.

Need some help? We have videos about how to use OneSearch.

More Books

Search for an item in libraries near you: >>

Worldcat: Find books in libraries worldwide, and order them via Inter-Library Loan if Hollins does not have them.


  • Using will sort your results by relevance; using will put our books first.
  • When searching for a person in Worldcat, it helps to add a search term (or two) about who they are/what they do - to sort them out from other people with the same name. Try the following formula for artists, for example:

Kathryn Clark and art*

or use the advanced search:

  • keyword: "kathryn clark"
  • subject: art*

Google Books contains full text for books in the public domain (pre-1923); partial text for books under copyright.

Very useful for finding out which books contain information on your topic; then you can order them via inter-library loan if Hollins doesn't have them.