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Theatre: Subject Guide

Resources for your Theatre research in the Smith Library Center and on the Web.

Finding Books about Theatre in the SLC

The Library Catalog

Use Worldcat@SU, the library's online catalog, to find books, e-books, videos, DVDs, CDs and more at Smith Library Center. A Keyword search will look for your search term(s) in the entire catalog record for an item -- title, author, subject, contents, etc.


  • for items about a person use the Subject heading search and enter the last name first (example: williams tennessee)
  • for items by a person use the Author search and enter the last name first (example: williams tennessee)
  • when doing a Keyword search, you can use the symbol ? to truncate search terms and get more results; for example, use playhous? instead of playhouses
  • a few key subject headings for theater are: authors and theater, theater and society, theater-history-20th century. See the box below of a listing of theatre subject headings.

Always ask a librarian for help if you are not finding what you need. It may simply be a matter of figuring out the right words to search.

Browsing the Shelves

If you just wish to browse our collection for theatre items, here a a breakdown of some of the some the most popular sections for theatre students by Dewey Decimal classification.

You may want to browse the shelves for these call numbers, as well.

  • 391--Costume and Fashion History (2nd floor)
  • 700--Arts
  • 792 --Theater, Performing Arts (3rd floor)
  • 792.024--Lighting and Sound
  • 792.027--Make up, Theatre
  • 782.14--Musical Plays
  • 792.02--Stage Management
  • 808.82--Drama (Literature)
  • 809.2--Drama/Literary Criticism
  • 809.2--Drama History
  • 809.2 --Dramatists/Playwrights (collected biography)
  • 812--Plays, American
  • 822--Plays, British
  • 880--Classical Greek Literature
  • 882 --Classical Greek/Roman Drama

Subject Headings for Research in Theatre

General theater topics
American Drama-20th century--History and Criticism
American Drama -21st century
American Drama--History and Criticism
Black theater
English Drama to 1500
Feminism and Theater
Jewish theater
Mexican-American theater
Musical Theater
Spanish theater
Theater--Political Aspects
Theater—United States—History—19th Century

Specific genres
Comedy--History and Criticism
Satire--History and Criticism
Tragedy--History and Criticism
Political Plays, American
Tragicomedy--History and Criticism
Greek Drama (Tragedy)
Classical Drama (Tragedy)
Latin Drama
Historical Drama--History and Criticism

Drama and social issues
AIDS (Disease)--Drama
Violence in children--Drama
Holocaust, Jewish(1939-1945)--Drama

Books about the work of specific playwrights
Glaspell, Susan, 1976-1948--Criticism and Interpretation
Miller, Arthur, 1915--Criticism and Interpretation
Kushner, Tony--Criticism and Interpretation
O'Neill, Eugene, 1888-1953--Criticism and Interpretation
Williams, Tennessee, 1911-1983--Criticism and Interpretation
Lorca, Federico Garcia--Criticism and Interpretation

Note: If you are searching for critical studies of the work of a single playwright, try a keyword search in the Worldcat@SU catalog using the playwright's name and the word "criticism." For instance, "ibsen and criticism."