chao chen, research librarianChao Chen, Research Librarian; Home
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Tisch Library, Tufts University

Modern And Postmodern Theatre

Research Sources & Tips






Background Information and Visuals

Reserves and Books

Journal Articles and Popular Press

Writing and Citing Sources


I. Background Information

  Theatre and Performance


The Cambridge Guide to Theatre

Dictionary of Literary Biography. (critical biographies of well-known playwrights and their works)

Library of Congress Performing Arts Encyclopedia

North American Theatre Online  
Aims to cover Colonial times to the present. Contains hundreds of thousands of bibliographic records: authors, plays, theatres, productions, production companies, casts, and related information. Also, tens of thousands of playbills, posters, photographs, and related theatrical ephemera.

The Oxford Dictionary of Plays

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre & Performance


In print:


Thematic Guide to Modern Drama.
Stacks: PN1861 .A235 2003

The Columbia Encyclopedia of Modern Drama.
PN1861 .C65 2007

Stream Videos

Ambrose Video  

A collection of 494 video clips and full programs of award-winning Streaming education materials, in social studies, literature, fine arts and the sciences. (including BBC Shakespeare Plays.)

Dance in Video

Global Performing Arts Database

A trove of "detailed, multilingual descriptions of digital images, texts, video clips, sound recordings, and complex media objects related to the performing arts around the world."

Opera in video

Digital Theatre

The Digital Theater works with Britain's leading theatre companies "to capture live performance authentically onscreen."

Digital Images:

American Memory (Library of Congress)

Getty Images Inc. Time & Life Pictures: Defining Visions of an Enduring History

New York Public Library Web Gallery of Images

See the Costume Design page

Images in Print:

Search the library Catalog for books with images

Chekhov and ("pictorial works" or illustrat*)




1. and in between keywords and phrases.


2 Or and ( ) to search any or all of the words.


3. " " around phrases.


4. illustrat* searches for illustrate, illustrated, illustration, and all forms of the word, illustrate.


II. Reserves and Books

  A. Use Library Catalogs for Reserves and Books

  B. Sample Searches:

(note the search pattern; modify to your own needs)

1. Course Reserves


2. Tufts Libraries Catalog

3. WorldCat (beyond Tufts)


Path of Discovery in the Catalog

1. Find a title/author (assigned readings/Course Reserves);

2. Note the descriptive language of the Catalog record.

3. Use that language in further searches


e.g. Click on subject/author in the record to see further results and related topics.



Murphy, Brenda.


Miller: death of a salesman .


Cambridge [England]; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995.


Miller, Arthur, 1915-2005. Death of a salesman.

Miller, Arthur, 1915-2005 -- Stage history.

Miller, Arthur, 1915-2005 -- Audio adaptations.

Miller, Arthur, 1915-2005 -- Film adaptations.

1. Following a subject heading as discovered in the left column, Miller, Arthur, 1915-2005 -- Stage history. we will find more of the stage history/production of Arthur Miller's plays, including "The Death of a Salesman".

Miller, Arthur, 1915-2005 -- Stage history -- China -- Beijing.

Miller, Arthur, 1915-2005 -- Stage history -- Foreign countries.  

Miller, Arthur, 1915-2005 -- Stage history -- United States.  


2. Advanced Keyword Search, limiting to print materials, on the stage history/dramatic productions of Chekhov:

s:Chekhov and (s: stage or s:produc*)






1. produc* searches for produce, produced, production, and all forms of the word, produce.


2. and in between keywords and phrases.


3. Or and ( ) to search any or all of the words.


4. s: searches for words in subject headings.


3. For comparatively less-known or non-western playwrights, you may need to rely more on journal/magazine/newspaper articles for drama criticism and theatre reviews, either historical or contemporary.


III. Journal Articles and Popular Press

  A. Subject Databases for Journal Articles

  B. Popular Press:

  C. Finding Full Text


1. and 2. Two favorite collections of core journals of all disciplines.




Project Muse


3. Combinations of Databases; search across groups of databases or search each separately:

MLA (Drama/Theater) and International Index to Performing Arts


Academic Search Premier and America: History and Life:

Limit Your Results

Academic Search Premier and Historical Abstracts (World Cultures)

Limit Your Results


Academic Search Premier, Communication & Mass Media, and Film & Television Literature Index:

Limit Your Results



Academic Search Premier and Women's Studies International

Limit Your Results



When use GoogleScholar, set your Library Links to access Tufts full texts.



LexisNexis Academic


Factiva (more international coverage)



Ethnic NewsWatch 1960 -





Boston Globe (1872-1979)

New York Times Online Archive
(1851 - 3 years before current date)


Times Digital Archive (1785 - 1985)



Readers' Guide Retrospective (1890-1982)

African American Periodicals (1825-1995)


American Periodicals (1740 - 1940)


British Periodicals  (1681 - 1920)





     Some of the oldest continuously published magazines in America, including American Spectator, Commentary, Commonweal, Dissent, Harpers Magazine, NACLA, The Nation, The National Review, The New Republic, New York Review, and The New Yorker.


1. Click on the findIt@tufts button button in your search results screen to a window of three sequential options:

a. link to the digital full text when available;

b. link to a Library Catalog search for the print journal;

c. link to ILliad for requesting the article when the above two options are negative.

2. Search for a journal directly here:

a. Tufts Library Catalog (including e-journals)

b. Electronic journals list

c. Use ILliad to request your article, if Tufts does not have your journal.


IV. Writing and Citing

  Writing Help

  Citing Sources


A Short Guide to Writing about Literature by Sylvan Barnet. Ref: PE1479.C7 B3



Tufts Academic Resources Center -- Writing Tutors


Chicago Style Manual

MLA Style