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Drama Subject Guide: Online library support

Help and guidance on finding resources in your subject area

Welcome to the Drama Subject Guide

Use this guide to help you make the most of the library and information resources and services.

New to the University?  Explore the Getting Started with the Library guide to learn all about the Library basics. 

Your Librarian at Exeter

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Nicola Nye (Exeter)

Online tutorials

Click on the images to access the tutorials.

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Where to start your search

Library Search

Library Search will help you discover books, journals, articles, audio visual material and more on your chosen topic. This is a good place to start when you are beginning to research a topic as you can draw on content from a variety of different sources.

For more in depth research in databases and archives, use the A-Z Databases List.

Key drama databases

Drama databases 

The following databases are subject specific to drama. You have access to further resources via the Drama subject list area in the A-Z Databases list



Academic databases

These databases index the global literature and provide references to journal articles, books, conference proceedings, reports etc. These databases are multidisciplinary, covering many subjects, but will contain scholarly content relating to the field of drama and performance.


You can see a fuller list of research databases in the A-Z database listing under Drama


Play scripts

These databases contain the full text of plays.




Performance databases

These databases contain filmed performances, interviews, documentaries and films.



Performances of Shakespeare's plays can be found under the Shakespeare tab above.

Audio theatre

Useful websites

Film and TV databases

These databases contain interviews, documentaries and films.




These collections include Shakespeare's plays, prose and the performances of his work.

A dedicated Shakespeare LibGuide provides more details of the various Shakespeare collections available to you.


Historical drama 

These collections contain primary source materials relating to plays and theatre produced in the past.

Theatre ephemera image

Theatre ephemera 

Ephemera is a catch-all term for items that were created for a particular occasion or reason, and expected to have been discarded soon after. Examples of ephemera are movie posters, pamphlets and music hall programmes. These rescued disposable items provide an insight into the culture and interests and concerns of the times in which they were produced, and many have since become collectables.


Theses are academic sources of information and the result of substantial primary research into specialised topics. They provide very detailed data and analysis, and can provide information that is unavailable elsewhere. Their bibliographies can be a useful source of wider reading on a topic. They are extremely valuable sources of information.

Search for University of Exeter, UK and international theses here: Theses LibGuide.

Use the A-Z Database List to access the full list of databases the library subscribes to.  

You can browse by subject e.g. Drama or by type (e.g.maps, news, images etc.) or search to find your required resources.

Explore the full A to Z Database list:

Explore research materials available elsewhere

  • Library Hub Discover - Search the catalogues of over 100 major UK and Irish national, academic and specialist libraries to find books, journals and other materials

  • WorldCAT - Search the collections of over 10,000 worldwide libraries  

  • The European Library - Access to the collections of the 48 National Libraries of Europe and leading European Research Libraries.

  • The Library of Congress -  Catalogue records of the print and digital resources held in the Library of Congress collections (USA)

  • LibWeb - Find online library catalogues worldwide

  • CORE - Search the world's largest collection of open access research papers

The Drama department uses the Harvard Referencing style.
Cite Them Right Online provides referencing guidance and examples to help you correctly reference your sources.

I am looking for ...

Online Books

You have online access to hundreds of online books that cover drama.  Use the Library Search to search by topic to discover relevant content.  Take a look at the following e-books to give you an idea of how you can search and browse online books like these.

Print Books

The Forum Library print books are arranged in Dewey Decimal Classification order.  This means that books on similar topics are grouped together.  Find out more with our Classmarks  guide.  The majority of books on drama related subjects will be found at number 792 in the library. However, some will be found in the 800s. For example:

Drama Classmarks in the Forum Library
792 General drama subjects
792.028 Acting
792.09 Theatre history
792.9 Stage productions
809.2 Drama analysis
822.33 Shakespeare

Library Search will help you locate these materials

Most of our journal articles are available in digital format. Older print journals are kept in the Forum Library.  

Our journal databases may offer full text access or abstracts only, or sometimes a mixture of both:

   -  Full text = view or download the entire journal article

  -   Abstract only = provides a summary of a journal article. Often links out to the full-text held elsewhere in our collections.

Top Tip:   Use Library Search to find journal titles and full-text articles
                 To carry out more complex searching, search the individual databases for your subject


Key Drama Journals 

The University has access to an extensive range of online primary source materials. These contain digitised copies of documents, letters, books, photographs and other primary sources. 

The Primary Sources Libguide will help you identify the best databases for your research. As we have over 550 Primary Source collections, the collections have been categorised by Country, Time Period and Theme so that you can quickly find the most relevant collections for your research.

Explore drama, theatre history and cinema history archives held by the University of Exeter in Special Collections:

  • Northcott Theatre Archive

  • Bill Douglas Cinema Museum

  • Theatre Royal (Exeter)

  • Sarah Bernhardt

  • Gerald Du Maurier

  • English concert parties and pierrot shows

  • Dorothy Johnson and John Lawrence Toole

You can refine your search just to drama when using Literature Online.

In the Primary Texts box, choose Search Drama.

Refine your search using the options provided.

For example, you can look up particular playwrights, genres and literary movements, and add them to your search.

Effective Searching & Referencing

It is important to plan your search strategy, and manage your search results so that you get the most from your online searching.

Keep a record of all the material you need to cite in your assignments, papers, projects etc. 

Use the Search Techniques and Referencing guidance to assist you.

  • It is  easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer breadth of information available to you.  
  • Invest time in planning an effective online search strategy so that you can quickly and easily discover relevant and high quality information. 


As you search you need to keep track of all the material you will be using in your academic work so that you can cite and reference it appropriately.

Top Tip

Always check your module handbook for specific departmental guidance on the style required for your assessed works and dissertations.  Check with your personal tutor or dissertation supervisor if you need clarification.

For more guidance take a look at:

Build your skills and get help from the friendly academic skills teams.

Study Skills Support @ Exeter

Study Zone offers drop-ins, workshops and online guides on a range of study skills topics, including academic writing, referencing, time management, exams and revision, and digital skills.

ASK @ Cornwall

Find out all about academic skills support at the Cornwall campus. Take advantage of the online support materials available through the Study Hub.

Linking the University of Exeter Library to Google Scholar 

Google Scholar is an online, freely accessible search engine for locating scholarly literature  from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites. But not all full text content is free to access.

However, it is possible to link the University of Exeter online library to  Google Scholar, making it quick to identify and access library full text content.

Just follow these instructions:


Click on Check for this @ Exeter or Access this @ Exeter options to view full text article:

Sage Research Methods Online (SRMO) is a great resource to use when you are planning and conducting your research. 

It is targeted at social science researchers but is useful across all subject areas as it covers key research methodology topics that are applicable across the research spectrum.

Sage have produced a comprehensive LibGuide to help you get the best from the resource.

Dissertation students

If you are a dissertation student, at some point in your research, you may need to access resources held outside of the university library collections.

The library offers a number of services to help you access these materials. Find out more by exploring the guides below.

Library and Archives Access Bursary 
(Financial help to visit other libraries and archives)

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