Theatre: Books

A Research Guide for Theatre from West Chester University Libraries


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Finding books about theatre

Below are examples of subject headings that you might find useful. Note that many of the headings are also subdivided, making it possible to narrow your search.

Many of the subject headings related to theatre are accompanied by notes (the link to the note appears to the left of the heading). Check the information links when they appear. One important note explains the distinction made between Theater (the Library of Congress subject heading system uses the American spelling) and Theaters:

"Here [Theaters] are entered works on facilities used to stage drama. Works on drama as a literary form are entered under Drama. Works on drama as acted on the stage are entered under Theater."

Theater and its subdivisions (e.g., Theater--Censorship, Theater--Political aspectsTheater--Production and direction, Theater--Study and teaching)

Theaters and its subdivisions (e.g., Theaters--Sound effects, Theaters--Stage-setting and scenery) and Theater architecture and its subdivisions

Theatre as developed by ethnic groups (e.g., Hispanic American theater)

Headings on the topic of acting:

Headings for types of theatre

Headings for works dealing with stagecraft

Headings for playwriting and dramaturgy

Headings for theatre in its social context

You may also be interested in browsing the shelves. You will find books and plays in the following classification numbers. Note that some areas of the classification schedule have changed but older material may not have been reclassified. Nevertheless, you'll find most of what you're looking for in the numbers given.

Dewey Decimal Classification for browsing the shelves


Books about theatre


725.822                            Theatre architecture

792                                  Stage presentations

792.023                            Supervision

792.0232                 Production

792.0233                 Direction

792.024                            Special effects

792.025                            Setting

792.026                            Costuming

792.027                            Makeup and hair

792.028                            Acting and performance

792.08                           Theatre and groups of people (e.g., 792.082, women and the theatre)

792.09                              Theatre history

792.09                           Theatre in geographic areas (e.g., 792.0941, British theatre)


792.1 to 792.8                   Specific kinds of theatrical presentations

792.1                    Tragedy and serious drama

792.2                    Comedy and melodrama

792.3                    Pantomime

792.5                    Opera

792.6                    Musical plays

792.7                    Variety shows and theatrical dancing

792.8                    Ballet and modern dance 


792.9                               Stage productions (specific shows, including production scripts, criticism of specific productions, etc.)


See the Finding plays page for call numbers for the text of plays.


Books on acting


Interlibrary loan

Do you need a play that the library does not own? Try the library's interlibrary loan services. Books may arrive within a few days, depending on where they are shipped from. You may also request books the library owns that are checked out.


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