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Plays: Locating Plays

This guide lists resources for locating the full-text of plays published individually, in periodicals, as part of collections and anthologies, or online. Resources for monologues, play digests and synopses, and production histories are also listed.

Indexes to Plays in Anthologies, Collections or Periodicals

The following are indexes to collections, anthologies and periodicals. If you find that the play you are looking for does appear in a collection, anthology or periodical, you must then look up the title of that source in the UB Libraries Catalog to see whether any of the UB libraries own it, e.g., after using one of the indexes below to discover that Cheryl Royce's play My Son Susie appears in the anthology Women Playwrights: the Best Plays of 1993 , type in the title, women playwrights the best plays of 1993 , in the UB Libraries Catalog and choose the title search option (click the button adjacent to "Title").

( ). Online index to plays in collections, anthologies and periodicals from the late 19th century on. A good site to check for recent plays because it is updated quarterly. Includes foreign-language sources and is searchable by author, title or combined author/title. Note : The citation provided gives bibliographic information and a call number--this is not a UB Libraries call number; it is a call number at Portland State University Library where the database was developed. Note that this is not a large database at present; therefore, it is best to check the print indexes listed below if you do not find the play you are looking for here.

Ottemiller's Index to Plays in Collections: An Author and Title Index to Plays Appearing in Collections Published between 1900 and 1985.
LOCKWOOD Reference Z 5781 .O8 1988. Arranged alphabetically by author and then by title. Each entry includes title, date, variant titles, and an abbreviation which refers to the collections index in the back of the book which in turn provides full bibliographic information.

Drama Scholar's Index to Plays and Filmscripts
LOCKWOOD Reference Z 5781 .S17. 3 vols. Indexes plays in anthologies, periodicals and publishers' series through 1977. Includes anthologies published in the 18th and 19th centuries as well as foreign periodicals. Covers a wide range of material including radio, television and film scripts. Arranged alphabetically by author, cross-referenced by title.

Index to Plays in Periodicals
LOCKWOOD Reference PN 1721 .K38 1979/1990. 2 vols. Indexes over 200 periodicals through 1987. Arranged by author.

Afro-American Poetry and Drama, 1760-1975: A Guide to Information Sources
LOCKWOOD Reference PS153 .N59 A373 1979

Index to Twentieth-Century Spanish Plays: In Collections, Anthologies, and Periodicals
LOCKWOOD Reference PQ6115 .H17 2000

Latin American Play Index
LOCKWOOD Book Collection Z1609.D7 H63 1983

Play Digests/Synopses

The following sources provide a digest or synopsis of plays. Information about cast length, production history, criticism and references for further study may also be included.

A Digest of 500 plays; Plot Outlines and Production Notes
LOCKWOOD Book Collection PN6112.5 .S42 1966

The Crown Guide to the World's Great Plays, from Ancient Greece to Modern Times
LOCKWOOD Reference PN6112.5 .S45 1984

Drury's Guide to Best Plays
LOCKWOOD Reference PN1655 .D8 1987

The Encyclopedia of the American Theatre, 1900-1975
MUSIC General Collection PN 2266 B68

500 Plays: Plot Outlines and Production Notes  LOCKWOOD Book Collection PN6112.5 .D54 1988

Masterplots II. Drama Series 
 LOCKWOOD Library Reference PN6112.5 .M37 1990

Modern World Theater: A Guide to Productions in Europe and the United States since 1945
LOCKWOOD Book Collection PN6112.5 .K513

Plot Outlines of Shakespeare's Histories, Scene by Scene
LOCKWOOD Book Collection PR2982 .M23

Theatre: Stage to Screen to Television
LOCKWOOD Reference PN2189 .L44

20th-Century Plays in Synopsis
LOCKWOOD Book Collection PN6112.5 .S68

Recorded Plays: Indexes to Dramatists, Plays, and Actors
LOCKWOOD Book Collection PN1701.5 .H64 1985

The Encyclopedia of Stage Plays into Film
LOCKWOOD Reference PN1997.85 .T544 2001

International Dictionary of Theatre
LOCKWOOD Reference PN2000 .I474 1992
Covers 620 notable plays, including summaries, dates of publication and first productions, and references to other critical discussions. Volume 1 covers Plays, Volume 2 Playwrights, Volume 3 Actors, Directors and Designers.


The following sources provide an index to monologues or the text of the monologue. To locate additional monologues, do a keyword search in the UB Libraries Catalog for monologues or acting auditions.

Actors Guide to Monologues
LOCKWOOD Book Collection PN4321 .E5 1974

Contemporary Scenes for Actors, Men
LOCKWOOD Book Collection PN2080 .C667 1999

Contemporary Scenes for Actors, Women
LOCKWOOD Book Collection PN2080 .C668 1999

Guide to Monologues, Men: An Index of Over 800 Monologues from Classical and Modern Plays 
 LOCKWOOD Library Book Collection PN2080 .G84 1988

An Index to monologs and Dialogs
LOCKWOOD Book Collection PN4305.M6 I64 1949

More Actors Guide to Monologues
LOCKWOOD Book Collection PN4321 .G87 : find the script that fits

The Smith and Kraus Monologue Index 

LOCKWOOD Library Book Collection PN2080 .S6 1995

The Theatre Audition Book: Playing Monologs from Contemporary, Modern, Period, Shakespeare, and Classical Plays LOCKWOOD Library Book Collection PN2080 .R39 1998

The Ultimate Scene and Monologue Sourcebook: an Actor's Guide to over 1,000 Monologues and Scenes from More than 300 Contemporary Plays
LOCKWOOD Book Collection Z5784.A27 H66 1994

Electronic-Text Versions of Plays

There are several large collections of electronic texts; these texts exist in the public domain which means that they can be downloaded for free. Some of the texts are very large files, however, which may take a while to download. Electronic-text versions of plays frequently exist within larger collections of electronic texts of many genres. A few of the sites listed below provide long lists of resources in many different categories; once you have chosen an appropriate category, you may still have a long list of links to choose from. Some electronic-text collections have built-in searching capabilities, some do not. Without scrolling through the entire page in search of a particular play, you can frequently find what you are looking for by using your browser's "find" key, which allows you to search for keywords in the current document.


Alex Catalog
A catalog of electronic texts containing about 2,000 entries from electronic-text collections including the Oxford Text Archive and Wiretap. Alex is no longer being maintained, however, so if you do not find the particular play you are looking for, search the other indexes to electronic-text collections listed here.

Electronic Text Archives and Plays Online
In addition to searching by playwright, links to French, classical, Renaissance, and Spanish Golden Age plays are provided.

Electronic Text Collections in Western European Literature
Provides links to literary texts in western European languages other than English. Collections are listed more or less in order of size. Each collection must be searched separately.

The English Server: Drama Collection
Publishes both classic and contemporary works. Original plays may be submitted for review and acceptance.

The Internet Public Library Online Texts Collection
A comprehensive directory to online texts available in electronic text collections. The IPL contains over 5,500 titles that can be searched by author, title, keyword or Dewey Decimal subject classification.

Literature Online
Available through the UB Libraries Databases by Title Page, Literature Online includes the full-text databases:
American Drama 1714-1915, English Drama, and Editions and Adaptations of Shakespeare. Note: Once you access Literature Online, you must select "Individual Collections" in order to access the American Drama, English Drama, and Shakespeare databases. The American Drama provides the full text of plays from the colonial period to the present; The English Drama database contains 4,000 plays by 1,200 authors from the late 13th century to the early 20th century; the Shakespeare database contains 11 major editions, 24 separate contemporary printings of plays, and selected apocrypha and related works as well as over 100 adaptations written from 1591-1911. Searching by keyword, phrase, title and author is available, and searches can be limited by genre, period, and gender of author. Both databases allow for sophisticated searching--you can search by date first performed or published, for example, as well as limit searches to cast lists or stage directions.

Modern English Collection at the University of Virginia Electronic Text Center
This heterogeneous collection contains fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, letters, newspapers, manuscripts and illustrations from 1500 to the present, arranged for browsing by author's last name or by category of interest.

The On-line Books Page
Allows you to search across several large electronic-text collections at once; it provides access to over 6,000 online texts including texts in specialty and foreign-language collections. Allows for author and title searching as well as author, title, subject and Library of Congress classification browsing.

Playwrights on the Web
Provides access to new plays submitted and reviewed for acceptance. Playwrights and their websites are also included.

Project Gutenberg
Online database containing hundreds of electronic texts. Due to copyright law, many of the items contained in this e-text collection are works written prior to 1920. Browsable by author or title.


Examples of sites which focus on a particular playwright, period or country are listed below. To locate specialized sites like these, browse the indexes to electronic text collections mentioned above, do a keyword search in Voice of the Shuttle ( ) -- the most comprehensive arts and humanities site on the Web -- or search the Internet using the search engine that you are most familiar with.

American Memory Collections--Library of Congress
Large digital collection which includes "The New Deal Stage," a selection of playscripts and production materials from the Federal Theatre Project (1935-1939), and "The American Variety Stage: Vaudeville and Popular Entertainment," a selection of English and Yiddish playscripts as well as sound recordings and ephemera (1870-1920). Allows for keyword searching and limiting by document type, as well as title and topic browsing.

ARTFL Project at Chicago (UB Only)
Contains nearly 2,000 French texts from the medieval period to the present. Searchable by author, title, date or genre, with limited Boolean searching available.

Complete Works of Shakespeare
Provides electronic access to Shakespeare's works.

Eighteenth-Century E-Texts
Includes electronic editions of eighteenth-century works. Browsable by author.

English Literature: Early 17th Century (1603-1660)
Provides biographical information, essays, articles, and images as well as links to electronic texts.

Native American Women Playwrights Archive
A collection of original materials by Native women playwrights of the Americas.

Perseus Project--Texts and Translations
Digital library which includes ancient Greek works, Latin works, English translations of Greek and Latin texts, and (strange as it may seem) the complete works of Christopher Marlowe. Searchable by keyword, browsable by author. (While the site is outdated, it is still very useful.

A hypertext collection of French plays.

Victorian Women Writers Project
Includes drama by British women writers of the late 19th century. Browsable by author.