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THEA 325: Dramaturgy

Dramaturgy

Welcome, Theater 325 students!

This is a guide to the resources we discussed in class.  While these databases are all listed on the BSU Libraries' Databases page, they're scattered around.  Here they're all together, complete with links.

Reminder: Researching primary sources can take a long time.  Be prepared for that!

Researching Production Histories

Studying the history of a particular production can give you a sense of changes in society and culture as well as theatrical practices.  It can also help to provide greater understanding of the production.

When researching a play's history, look for basic information, such as:

  • When it was performed
  • Where it was performed
  • Who performed it.

You also need to consider:

  • How was the play received?
  • What was different about each production that made it unique?

You will need both primary and secondary sources.

Bear in mind that if a resource is about the play, it will likely focus on the first production.  If the resource is about a certain theatre, it may have a long list of its productions.

Some Definitions

How to define primary and secondary sources?

There are many ways, depending on your subject area.  (Below is quoted from William Daw's World Theatre library guide)

Primary sources

  • Original materials that provide direct evidence or first-hand testimony concerning a topic or event.
  • Primary sources can be contemporary sources created at the time when the event occurred (e.g., letters and newspaper articles) or later (e.g., memoirs and oral history interviews).
  • Primary sources may be published or unpublished.  Unpublished sources are unique materials (e.g., family papers) often referred to as archives and manuscripts.
  • What constitutes a primary source varies by discipline. How the researcher uses the source generally determines whether it is a primary source or not

Secondary sources

  • Works that interpret, analyze, and discuss the evidence provided by primary sources (e.g., scholarly books and articles).
  • Secondary sources are generally a second-hand account or observation at least one step removed from the event.
  • Secondary sources, however, can be considered to be primary sources depending on the context of their use. For example, Ken Burns' documentary of the Civil War is a secondary source for Civil War researchers, but a primary source for those studying documentary filmmaking.

Having Trouble? Ask a Librarian!

Visit the Ask a Librarian page to find out the many ways you can get help from a librarian.  Chat with us, phone us, email us, text us -- you can even talk to us in person or set up an individual appointment to get the assistance you need!