Reference Sources - Dictionaries and Encyclopedias: Theatre Studies

The A to Z Postmodernist Literature and Theater
“…examines the different areas of postmodernist literature and theater and the variety of forms that have been produced.  It contains a list of acronyms, a chronology, an introductory essay, a bibliography, and several hundred cross-referenced dictionary entries on individual writers, important aesthetic practices, significant texts, and important movements and ideas that have created a variety of literary approaches within the form.” (Publisher)
REF: PN771M36 2009

The American Musical Theatre Song Encyclopedia (Hischak)
This encyclopedia features over 1,800 songs from over 500 musicals from 1866-1994. Entries provide information on the song’s author, the source of the song, type of song, original performer, and the song’s history. It also contains a brief Glossary of Theatre Music Terms, Alternate Song Titles, Musicals, a bibliography, and an index.
REF: ML102.M88.H59 1995

Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia
This alphabetically-arranged volume covers American literature from "the period of European exploration to the early 1990s." It includes entries on authors, titles, characters, literary genres, periodicals, groups and movements, and historical events and people. Material on Canadian and Latin American literature is also included.
REF: PN41.B4 1991

Broadway:  Its History, People, and Places:  An Encyclopedia (Online)
Arranged in an A-Z format, this encyclopedia covers producers, writers, composers, lyricists, set designers, theaters, performers, shows and landmarks. Illustrated, cross-referenced, indexed and with a full bibliography, this work provides a comprehensive history of Broadway extending from its beginnings to the new millennium, a full revision of entries from the first edition, and entries on the most noteworthy productions and shows. (abridged publisher description)

Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia
The Encyclopedia contains information on Canadian actors, plays, playwrights, composers, directors, producers, designers, theatre organizations and institutions.

Columbia Encyclopedia of Modern Drama (Cody & Sprinchorn)
“A wholly unique A to Z reference for modern drama, this authoritative encyclopedia differs from others in highlighting the interdisciplinary nature of drama by placing playwrights and plays within their social, cultural, and historical contexts. Over 450 leading scholars provide students, general readers, and scholars with clearly written and concise entries that steer clear of technical jargon while also offering advanced readers new perspectives on familiar figures, movements, trends, issues, and texts. The Encyclopedia concentrates on drama in the literary sense rather than as performance.” (Publisher) Entries include selective bibliographies of primary and secondary works. Also includes is a synoptic outline of contents and an index of subjects, names, and titles.
REF: PN1861.C65 2007

Critical Dictionary of Film and Television (Pearson & Simpson) (Online)
“This unique volume presents over 400 signed scholarly entries, both lengthy (2000-3000 words) and brief (100-700 words), that map out the conceptual framework of post-1960 film and television theory. Topics range from the biographical (e.g., Habermas) to broad concepts (e.g., narrative, psychoanalysis), but the reader should not expect to find definitions of terms like "key grip" or "boom." Major entries include short secondary bibliographies, and numerous cross references and an index improve the work's use.” (Library Journal)

Dictionary of Shakespeare (Wells) (Online)
“This dictionary offers up-to-date information on all aspects of Shakespeare in his own time and on his impact and influence on later ages. It includes entries on the plays and the major characters, on Shakespeare's life and his contemporaries, on actors from Edmund Kean to Peter O'Toole, on theatres and directors, plus comments on Shakespeare by later authors such as Jane Austen, Dr Johnson, and Bernard Levin.” (Publisher)

Dictionary of the Theatre: Terms, Concepts, and Analysis (Pavis)
Dictionary of the Theatre is an English translation of Pavis's acclaimed Dictionnaire du theater. The Thematic Index groups terms into eight categories: Dramaturgy, Text and Discourse, Actor and Character, Genres and Forms, Staging, Structural Principles and Aesthetic Questions, Reception and Semiology. Alphabetically arranged entries with definitions follow. The French, German, and Spanish equivalents of the English terms are included. An extensive bibliography is also included. This title is also available as an e-Book to the UPEI community.
REF: PN2035.P313 1998

Encyclopedia of Asian Theatre (Leiter) (2 Volumes)
This book covers modern and traditional theatre in South, Southeast, and Far East Asia. Alphabetically arranged entries written by expert authors fall into four categories: country or region; biography (actors, directors, playwrights, and some designers, but not musicians or dancers); theatrical genres or forms; and general topics. It contains an Alphabetical List of Entries, a Topical List of Entries, a Selected Bibliography, and an Index.
REF: PN2860.E53 2007

Facts on File Dictionary of the Theatre (Packard)
This dictionary includes five thousand entries on actors, actresses, playwrights, directors and producers, plays, venues, genres, technical terms, organizations, and other related topics.
REF: PN2035.F27 1988

Glossary of Technical Theatre Terms
This online dictionary from the University of Exeter provides information on 1630 technical terms on theatre production and design. Four access points are provided: Word Search, Browse by Letter, Random Word Finder and Category Search.

Historical Dictionary of African American Theater (Hill)
This dictionary celebrates nearly 200 years of black theatre in the United States. It contains more than 600 entries on playwrights, producers, directors, actors, plays, theater companies, and awards. It also contains a list of acronyms and abbreviations, an introduction on Black Theater, a chronology of major events, and an extensive bibliography. The bibliography includes books, articles, journals, newspapers, and Internet resources.
REF: PN2270.A35H53 2009

Historical Dictionary of French Theater
This dictionary “examines the history of French theater through a chronology, introduction, bibliography, and more than 400 cross-referenced dictionary entries on authors, trends, genres, concepts, and literary and historical developments that played a central role in its evolution.” (Publisher)
REF: PN2367.F67 2010

Historical Encyclopedia of Costumes (Racinet)
Comprehensive in scope; covers both the history and geography of world costumes
REF: GT510.R3313 1988

International Dictionary of Theatre (Hawkins-Dady) (3 Volumes)
Volume 1 - Plays “contains entries on over 620 notable plays. Entries are in alphabetical order by title. Every entry contains, where known, the date and location of the first publication and first production; a chronological list of books and articles about the play; and a critical essay on the play by one of the Dictionary’s contributors.
Volume 2 - Playwrights “contains entries on 485 writers for the stage. Each entry contains: a summary of the writer’s life and career; a list of works by the entrant; a list of publications (bibliographies and critical studies) about the entrant; a signed critical overview of the entrant’s work by one of the Dictionary’s contributors.
Volume 3 - Actors, Directors and Designers contains “entries on 300 actors, directors and designers for the stage. Each entry contains: a summary of the subject’s life and career; a list of relevant productions and roles, including film, television, and radio credits; a list of publications by the subject; a list of publications about the entrant; a signed critical overview of the entrant’s work for the stage by one of the Dictionary’s contributors.” (Editor)
REF: PN2035.I49 1992

Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms
It “provides clear, concise, and often witty definitions of the most troublesome literary terms from abjection to zeugma. Now available in a new, fully updated and expanded edition, it offers readers increased coverage of new terms from modern critical and theoretical movements, such as feminism, and schools of American poetry, Spanish verse forms, life writing, and crime fiction.
It includes extensive coverage of traditional drama, versification, rhetoric, and literary history, as well as updated and extended advice on recommended further reading and a pronunciation guide to more than 200 terms. New to this fully revised edition are recommended entry-level web links. Boasting over 1,200 entries, it is an essential reference tool for students of literature in any language.” (Publisher”)
REF. PN1625.P38 2005

Oxford Dictionary of Plays
This volume provides “useful information and brief commentaries on the 1,000 most significant plays of world theatre.” . Each entry includes details of the title, author, date of writing, date of first performance, genre, setting, and composition of cast; there is also a summary of the play's plot, and a brief commentary. Approximately 80 major plays are covered in detail. Genres covered include: burlesque, comedy, farce, historical drama, kabuki, masque, melodrama, morality play, mystery play, No, romantic comedy, tragicomedy, satire, and tragedy. Also includes: Select Bibliography; Family Tree of Main Characters in Shakespeare’s History Plays;
Plays Selected for Entry, Ordered According to Country of Origin and Period; Index of Characters; and Index of Playwrights. This title is also available as an e-book to the UPEI community.
REF. PN1625.P38 2005

Shakespeare’s Theatre: A Dictionary of his Stage Context (Online)
“Under an alphabetical list of relevant terms, names and concepts (from a to ’zounds), the book reviews current knowledge of the character and operation of theatres in Shakespeare's time, with an explanation of their origins. Coverage includes the practices of Elizabethan actors and script writers: methods of characterization; gesture, blocking and choreography, including music, dance and fighting; actors' rhetorical interaction with audiences; and use of costumes, stage props, and make-up. The author makes use of scripts and scholarship about original stagings of Shakespeare and suggests how those productions related to modern staging. Much of this material has developed as a result of the recent increased interest in the significance of performance for interpreting Shakespeare, including the recovery of the archaeological evidence about the original Rose and Globe Theaters. The book contains current bibliographies for each topic and consolidates these in an overall bibliography for Shakespeare and his theaters.” (Publisher)

Theatre Language: A Dictionary of Terms in English of the Drama and Stage from Medieval to Modern Times (Bowman)
It contains approximately 5,000 terms used in British and American theatre, including slang and technical terms.
REF. PN2035.B6

Created by: Cathy Callaghan, B.A., M.L.S.
Date Created: 14-April-2011
Date Revised : 16-February-2016