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Theatre Arts: Theatre History

An online resource guide for Theatre Arts students at LaGrange College

Selected Books



This library guide was originally designed for students in Tracy Riggs's Drama Survey I class (Fall 2016), and has been updated for her Theatre History II class (Spring 2017).  It lists only a few selected resources; please see the other sections of the Theatre guide for more information, and don't hesitate to come to the reference desk for help on your specific topic, or e-mail the reference librarian.

Theatre books are in the PN area (PN 2000 to PN 3307), but there are books in other areas that may be useful (e.g., for ancient Greek theatre, books on Greek dramatists are in the PA  area, and we have many books on ancient Greece whose call numbers begin DE or DF).  A librarian can help you find these.

If you need a book, article, or play that we don’t have, please ask.  If it’s in a library in the U.S. that will lend it to us, we’ll get it for you on interlibrary loan.



Reference Books


  • The Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre & Performance (REF PN2035 .O944 2003, 2 volumes)
  • The Cambridge Guide to Theatre.  (REF PN2035 .C277 1995)
  • The Oxford Companion to the Theatre (4th ed.) (REF PN2035 .O9 1983)
  • The Encyclopedia of Greek Tragedy. (REF PA 3133 .E53 2014, 3 volumes)

  • Encyclopedia of Asian Theatre.  (REF PN 2860 .E53 2007, 2 vols.)
  • The Cambridge Companion to Asian Theatre.  (REF PN 2860 .C35 1997)
  • The Oxford Companion to American Theatre.  (REF PN 2220 .B600 2004)
  • Historical Dictionary of African American Theater.  (REF PN 2270 .A35 H53 2009)
  • The Continuum Companion to Twentieth Century Theatre.  (REF PN 2035 .C655 2002)


General Histories


  • Brockett, Oscar G.  History of the Theatre.  10th edition.  (PN 2101 .B68 2008; on Reserve as of Feb. 2017--you can check it out for in-library use at the circulation desk)
  • The Cambridge Companion to Theatre History.  Ed. David Wiles and Christine Dymkowski.  (PN 201 ,C36 2013)
  • Berthold, Margot.  The History of World Theater:  From the Beginnings to the Baroque.  (PN 2102 .H5 v. 1)
  • Londré, Felicia Hardison.  The History of World Theater:  From the English Restoration to the Present.  (PN 2102 .H5 v. 2)
  • Wilson, Edwin and Alvin Goldfarb.  Living Theatre:  History of Theatre.  6th ed.  (PN 2101 .W54 2010)
  • Brown, John Russell, ed.  The Oxford Illustrated History of Theatre. (PN 2101 .O9 2001)
  • Wickham, Glynne.  A History of the Theatre.  (PN 2101 .W52 1985) 
  • NicollAllardyce.  World Drama from Aeschylus to Anouilh.  (PN 2101 .N55 1950)
  • The Encyclopedia of World Theater.  (PN2035 .E52 1977)

Other Books

  • Easterling, P.E., ed.  The Cambridge Companion to Greek Tragedy.  (PA3131 .E28 1997)
  • McDonald, Marianne.  The Cambridge Companion to Greek and Roman Theatre.  (PA 3201 .C26 2007)
  • Gregory, JustinaA Companion to Greek Tragedy.  (PA3131 .C56 2005)
  • Bieber. Margarete.  The History of the Greek and Roman Theater.  (PA3201.1 .B52)
  • Beadle, Richard, ed.  The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Theater.  (PN2587 .C36 2008)
  • Chambers. E.K.  The Medieval Stage.  (PN2152 .C4, 2 vols.)
  • Cox, John D. & David S. Kastan.  A New History of Early English Drama.  (PR641 .N49 1997)
  • Ogden, Dunbar H.  The Staging of Drama in the Medieval Church.  (PN 1761 .O388 2003)
  • Richardson, Christine.  Medieval Drama.  (PR 641 .R5 1990)
  • Braunmuller,  A.R. ed.  The Cambridge Companion to Early Renaissance Drama.  (PR651 .C36 2003)
  • Whitney, Charles.  Early Responses to Renaissance Drama.  (PR 658 .A88 W55 2006)]
  • Renaissance Drama.  (annual) (PN 1765 .R4 volumes 1-4, 6-9)
  • Cambridge History of British Theatre.  (PN 2581 .C366 2004, 3 volumes)
  • Beadle, Richard.  The Cambridge Companion to British Medieval Theatre.  (PN 2587 .C36 2008)
  • Cartwright, Kent.  Theatre and Humanism:  English Drama in the Sixteenth Century.  (PR 646 .C377 1999)
  • Smith, Emma.  The Cambridge Companion to English Renaissance Drama.  (PR658 .T7 C36 2010)
  • Knapp, Jeffrey.  Shakespeare’s Tribe:  Church, Nation, and Theater in Renaissance England.  (PR 658 .R433 K58 2002)
  • McEachern, Claire Elizabeth.  The Cambridge Companion to Shakespearean Tragedy.  (PR 2983 .C288 2002)
  • Payne Fisk, Deborah.  The Cambridge Companion to English Restoration Theatre. (PR 691 .C35 2000)
  • The Cambridge Companion to Victorian and Edwardian Theatre.  Ed. Kerry Powell.  (PN 2595 .P663 2004)
  • Morash, Christopher.  A History of Irish Theatre 1601-2000.  (PN 2601 .M64 2002)
  • Richards, Shaun.  The Cambridge Companion to Twentieth-Century Irish Drama.  (PR 8789 ,C28 2004)
  • Arnott, Peter.  An Introduction to the French Theatre.  (PN 2632 .A7 1977b)
  • Tapia, John Reyna.  The Spanish Romantic Theater.  (PQ 6113 .T3)
  • Kesako, Matsui.  Kabuki:  A Mirror of Japan.  (PN 2924.5 .K3 M3813 2016)
  • Young, Harvey.  The Cambridge Companion to African American Theatre.  (PN 2270 .A35 C36 2013)
  • Bradby, David.  The Cambridge Companion to Molière.  (PQ 1860 .C36 2006)
  • McFarlane, James Walter.  The Cambridge Companion to Ibsen. (PT 8895 .C27 1994)
  • Robinson, Michael.  The Cambridge Companion to August Strindberg (PT 9816 .C36 2009)
  • Gottlieb, Vera.  The Cambridge Companion to Chekhov.  (PG 3458 .Z8 C36 2000)
  • Innes, C.D.  The Cambridge Companion to George Bernard Shaw.  (PR 5367 .C27 1998)
  • Manheim, Michael.  The Cambridge Companion to Eugene O’Neill.  (PS 3529 .N5 Z575 1998)
  • Bigsby, C.W.E.  The Cambridge Companion to Arthur Miller   (PS 3525 .I5156 Z548 1997)
  • Roudane, Matthew.  The Cambridge Companion to Tennessee Williams   (PS 3545 .I5365 Z614 2006

We have books on most major playwrights, including Cambridge Companions on Edward Albee (PS 3551 .L25 Z596 2005), Samuel Beckett (PR6003 .E282 Z781726 2015), Brian Friel (PR 6056 .R5 Z558 2006), Sam Shepard (PS 3569 .H394 Z65 2002), Tom Stoppard (PR 6069 .T6 Z615 2001), and Oscar Wilde (PR 5824 .C36 1997).

Databases for Journal Articles

We have several databases that may be useful depending on your topic.  Again, see the reference librarian for details.

Plays for Theatre History II, Spring 2017

See this guide for tips on finding plays in the online catalog.  Note that some plays are available only in anthologies, so a “Title” search for a play may not work as it would for a novel or book.

Here are call numbers for some of the plays on the syllabus for Spring 2017; you’ll find them on the lower level.  If you can't find the play you want, ask at the reference desk.

  • Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard (call number PG 3456 .V5 R36 2009; also in  Chekhov’s Complete Plays, PG 3456 .A19 2007)
  • Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest (PR 5812 .R33 1998; also in The Portable Oscar Wilde PR 5811 .A4, The Longman Anthology of Drama and Theater PN 1655 .G74 2001, Stages of Drama: Classical to Contemporary Theater PN 6112 .K46 2003, and other anthologies)
  • O’Neill, The Hairy Ape (in Three Great Plays PS 3529 .N5 A6 2005, also in Modern Library edition at PS 3529 .N5 E5 1937)
  • Rice, The Adding Machine (in Best American Plays Supplementary Volume, 1918-1958 call number PS 634 .B4 1961, British and American plays, 1830-1945 PN 6112 .D8, etc.)
  • Odets, Waiting for Lefty (PS 3529 .D46 A6 1993, PS 3529 .D46 W35 1962, and some anthologies)
  • Fugard, Master Harold and the Boys (in The Longman Anthology of Drama and Theater PN 1655 .G74 2001, Stages of Drama: Classical to Contemporary Theater PN 6112 .K46 2003) (books about Fugard in the PR9369.3 .F8 area)
  • Churchill, Top Girls (in Landmarks of Modern British Drama, PR1 272 .L35 1985; also in The Longman Anthology of Drama and Theater PN 1655 .G74 2001, Stages of Drama: Classical to Contemporary Theater  PN6112 .K46 2003)
  • Hwang, M Butterfly (PS 3558 .W83 M2 1988; also in Stages of Drama: Classical to Contemporary Theater PN 6112 .K46 2003)
  • Brecht, Mother Courage (PT2603 .R397 M813 1995; also in Brecht’s Collected Plays, PT2603 .R39 A29; Seven Plays, PT 2603 .R397 A26; also in Masters of Modern Drama, PN 6112 .B48 1962)
  • Havel, Vaclav.  Largo Desolato (adapted by Tom Stoppard) (PG 5039.18 .A9 L3713 1987)


Added  March 2018:

  • Beckett, Samuel.  Waiting for Godot.  (PQ2603 .E378 E53 and in Storage area, PQ2603 .E378 E53 1954; books on Beckett mainly in the PR6003 .E282 area)
  • Guare, John.  Six Degrees of SeparationPS 3557 .U2 S59 1992)
  • Kaufman, Moises.  The Laramie Project.  (PR 6061 .A83 L37 2001 and PR 6061 .A83 L37 2001B)
  • Mamet, David.  Oleanna. (PS3563 .A4345 O4 1993; also in his collected Plays, PS3563 .A4345 A19 1996)
  • Pirandello, Luigi.  Six Characters in Search of an Author.  In several anthologies (including PN6112 .K46 2003, PN1655 .G74 2001, PN6111 .C65)
  • Rice, Elmer.  The Adding Machine – see above
  • Shepard, Sam.  True West.  (PS3569 .H394 T75 1982; also in Seven Plays, PS3569 .H394 A6 1984A)
  • Simon, Neil.  The Odd Couple.  (PS3537 .I663 O3 1966; also in The Collected Plays of Neil Simon, PS3537 .I663 A6 1971 V.1)
  • Wilder, Thornton.  Our Town (PS3545 .I345 O9 1960; also in Sixteen Famous American Plays, PS634 .C42, and A Treasury of the Theatre, PN6112 .G3 V. 3)
  • Wilson, August.  Fences (PS3573 .I45677 F4 1986; also in Three Plays, PS3573 .I45677 A6 1991, and Stages of Drama: Classical to Contemporary Theater PN6112 .K46 2003)

Additional Reading Material for Spring 2019

In Lewis Library as of February 2019 (some may be on reserve--check the online catalog):

  • Artaud, Antonin.  The Theater and Its Double (call number PN 2021 .A713 1958)
  • Aston, Elaine.  An Introduction to Feminism and Theatre.  (PN1590 .W64 A88 1995)
  • Brandt, George W.  Modern Theories of Drama:  A Selection of Writings on Drama and Theatre, 1850-1990  (PN 1655 .M59 1998)
  • Brecht, Bertolt.  Brecht on Theatre:  The Development of an Aesthetic (PN 2021 .B68)
  • Brook, Peter.  The Empty Space.   (PN1655 .B74 1996)
  • Brook, Peter.  The Open Door:  Thoughts on Acting and Theatre (PN 1655 .B75 2005)
  • Grotowsky, Jerzy.  Towards a Poor Theatre.  (PN 2061 .G75 2002)
  • Justice-Malloy, Rhona.  African and African American Theatre, Past and Present (2010).  Available as e-book
  • Mamet, David.  True and False:  Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor  (PN 2061 .M2265 1997)
  • Stanislavsky, Konstantin.  An Actor Prepares.  (PN 2061 .S91; 1948 translation)
  • Stanislavsky, Konstantin.  My Life in Art.  (PN 2728 .S78 .A3 2008; also 1924 edition, PN 2728 .S78 .A32)
  • Turan, Kenneth, and Joe Papp.  Free for All:  Joe Papp, the Public, and the Greatest Theater Story Ever Told (PN 2287 .P23 T87 2009)
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