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Northwest Missouri State University

Library Home » Articles & Guides » Theatre Arts Research » Theatre Appreciation Quick Start Sources

Theatre Appreciation Quick Start Sources

These sources are essential resources to begin theatre appreciation research for a variety of time periods, geographic areas, and aspects of theatre (theatre architecture, scene design, costumes, acting, plays, dramatists, culture, and audiences).

TIP: Press Ctrl/f and enter a root word, word, or phrase in the Find what: box and click on Find Next to search for a topic on this page. For example, type theat to find theatre, theatres, and theatrical.

Textbooks on Reserve

These textbooks have been placed on reserve by Theatre Appreciation faculty because they directly relate to various aspects of the group projects for this class.

A cultural history of theatre
NW Owens Reserve   NWO Resv Theat B002        (4 HOUR LOAN)
This book compares favorably with Brockett’s History of the Theatre as an introduction to most time periods and geographic regions for Theatre Appreciation topics. It also covers some Asian theater traditions – Japan and China. As the title indicates it is ideal for linking cultural influences of art and society to prevalent theatrical conventions in a country and time period. For every style of theater discussed, this books details the circumstances of the performance – who performed it, where it was performed, and who the audience for the performance was. In each chapter there is a timeline with overlapping historical events, artistic events (outside of theater), and theater history events. Each chapter contains a section discussing art ideas and social ideas common to that country and time period related to theater. Each chapter contains a section called Connections that explains how the theater discussed in that chapter influenced later styles of theater. There is also a Sources for Further Study list at the end of each chapter that can be used to look up additional sources in the Owens Library Catalog and MOBIUS Catalog.

Period style for the theatre / Douglas A. Russell.
NW Owens Reserve   792.02 R962p        (2 HOUR LOAN) 
This book is designed to answer the question, “How would I put on a play set in a particular time period and using a specific performance style in Western theater?” More work is required to match each chapter with a Theatre Appreciation topic. For instance it has a chapter on Classic Baroque style which would require you to know that baroque arts were produced in 17th century (1600-1700) Western Europe primarily. Each chapter contains sections on Art and Culture, Life and Cultural Ideals (daily life and customs), Costume and Accessories (costume), Manners and Movement as well as Acting the Plays (acting technique), The Theatre (stage design and scenery), and The Plays (plays and dramatists) for that period. Good for linking social and artistic concepts of the time to theater performance and for the overall performance practice of the day (acting, costumes, stage design, scenery, and acting).

Theatre past and present: an introduction
NW Owens Reserve   NWO Resv Theat B014        (4 HOUR LOAN)  

This book contains chapters that relate to many of the Theatre Appreciation topics – Greek and Roman theatre, Medieval theatre, Elizabethan theatre, Seventeenth Century French theatre, Restoration and Eighteenth Century English theatre, Nineteenth Century European theatre, and Twentieth Century European and American Theatre. Each chapter has a representative play for that time period and geographic area, Condition of Performance (acting, stage design, scenery, costumes, acting, playwriting, special effects, and the audience attending the plays), and Dramatic Conventions pertaining to plot and characters common to plays of that time period and geographic area.

Theatre: A history of the art
NW Owens Reserve   NWO Resv Theat B006        (4 HOUR LOAN)

This text covers time periods starting with ancient Greece and Rome, medieval theatre, the Italian renaissance,  Spanish renaissance, English the from the medieval period through the renaissance, French theatre 1552-1789, restoration theatre (1660-1705), eighteenth century theatre, nineteenth century theatre and twentieth century theatre. It includes a heavy concentration on the theatre traditions of Great Britain and the United States. It also examines theatrical traditions of Ireland, Italy, France, Germany, Northern Europe (Sweden and the Netherlands), Russia, China, Japan, India, and Indonesia. Most chapters include a section on history, stages, scenic design, acting, costumes, and dramatists (and other theatrical personalities).

Western theatre: Revolution and revival
NW Owens Reserve   NWO Resv Theat B005        (4 HOUR LOAN)

This text is arranged according to time period and paradigms that characterize the stage of each time period – Greek theatre (534 b.c. – a.d. 476), Roman theatre (240 b.c. – a.d. 476), Latin music-drama (965-1250), theatre of the middle ages (1250-1600), Italian renaissance (1350-1650), neoclassical and baroque theatre (1650-1750), theatre of the enlightenment (1750-1800), theatre of the romantic age (1800-1850), realistic theatre (1850-present), theatres in reaction (1890-1960). This volume excels in showing illustrations of theatre architecture, stage designs, costumes, actors performing. It also provides timetables showing prominent dramatists, actors, playhouses, and other aspects of theatre in a particular time period. It focuses on European and American theatre primarily.

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Background Information: Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, and Handbooks

Use these sources to define terms and concepts used in the drama and theatre disciplines. Consult encyclopedias at the beginning of a research project to obtain a concise overview of a concept, school of thought, or a particular person's contribution to the dramatic and theatre arts.

Arts & Humanities Through the Eras
1st Floor, Reference 700.9 A79a, 5 volumes

This reference set covers architecture, dance, fashion, literature, music, philosophy, religion, theater, and the visual arts from the era of ancient Egypt through the baroque period and the age of enlightenment in Europe. Western Europe is the main focus of much of this reference work. Each volume includes a chronology of events for each discipline, an overview of each discipline for the time period covered, topics that hightlight the most important aspects of each discipline, biographies of significant persons in each discipline, and documentary sources (primary sources) for each discipline. This set is illustrated with black and white photographs.

Cambridge Guide to the Theatre

1st Floor, Reference 792.03 C17c
The intention of this guide is "offer a comprehensive view of the history and present practice of the theatre in all parts of the world..." Their second aim is to "celebrate the vitality and importance of popular theatre and popular entertainment.." Includes articles on national theatres which attempt to cover theatre traditions in that country or region from the classical and medieval eras onward. Articles also present aspects of theatre such as costume, stage lighting, actors, directors, and play authors.

International Dictionary of Theatre Vol. 1: PLAYS
1st Floor, Reference 792.03 I611i

This work examines drama both as literature and performance and it is international in scope. It includes entries for historical periods from Ancient Greece to the present.

Daily Life Through History:
1st Floor, Reference 390 G81
This encyclopedia attempts to show how ordinary people in various time periods and cultures went about the business and pleasure of their daily lives. Each volume is arranged thematically, containing a section for historical overview, domestic life, economic life, intellectual life, material life, political life, recreational life (including theater), and religious life. The time periods covered are as follows: 1. The ancient world -- 2. The medieval world -- 3. 15th and 16th centuries -- 4. 17th and 18th centuries -- 5. 19th century -- 6. The modern world. for a more in-depth look at specific cultures and time periods, Greenwood Press also publishes a series of related book under the series title - Greenwood Press "Daily Life Through History" Series.

McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of World Drama
1st Floor, Reference 809.2 M14m (Two copies of the 1972 edition are available on the 3rd Floor)

The emphasis in this reference set is on play authors themselves with consideration of national and ethnic theatre traditions and theatre in specific countries taking second priority. It is heavily illustrated.

Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre & Performance
1st Floor, Reference 792.03 O98o

The Oxford Encyclopedia "treats most aspects of theatre and performance over time and on a worldwide scale". This encyclopedia is particularly strong in covering performance related issues of theatre and biographies of persons associated with theatre. Theatre traditions of cities and regions are emphasized over generalized articles on national theatres. This work is also particularly strong in covering international theatre and concerns of non-Western concepts and issues.

World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre
1st Floor, Reference 792.03 W92w

The aim of this set is to sketch out the political and social context of each nation and then to comparatively explore every country's theatrical history since 1945. Countries from Africa, the Arab world, Asia and Oceania, the Americas and Europe are covered in this exhaustive treatment of contemporary international theatre.

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Theatre History

Use these volumes to begin research on the development of theatrical performance over time. The history of European theatre traditions is especially well covered. Use the sources in the Background Information section to find more information on the history of theatre traditions.

History of the Theatre
3rd Floor 792.09 B86h
(One copy of the 1999 edition is on Reserve)
This work is regarded as one of the best one-volume histories of world theatre. Emphasis is given to the European theatre. Excellent coverage is given to Greek, Roman, and renaissance theatres. Performance practice, architecture, and theatrical conditions are considered for each time period and genre.

Oxford Illustrated History of the Theatre
3rd Floor 792.09 O98o

This work focuses on the history of western theatre from the classical Greece and Rome through 1970. Chapters on the theatre of Africa, South America, and various regions of Asia are also included. As the title implies, copious illustrations of performances, stage design, and theatre architecture are provided.

Theatre: Three Thousand Years of Drama, Acting, and Stagecraft
3rd Floor 792.02 C51t

Sheldon Cheney has attempted to provide a sweeping overview of theatre performance practice and theater construction and layout from antiquity to the modern period just before World War II. As the title implies, the mechanics of theatre are stressed as much as the conceptual aspects of play authors and the influence of related arts.

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All quoted material is from the respective source.

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