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Theatre: Find a Play/Script

What You Need to Know about Plays and Scripts

Plays generally fit in to the library's literature collection, so it's a good idea to know what your interest is.  Do you want to study plays written in the United States, Britain or another country?  Do you want to study a modern script or something from the Elizabethan era?  Do you want to study work by a specific playwright?  Just as in finding any kind of information, the more you know about your subject, the easier it is to pinpoint.  On this page we'll try to give you some clues to locate that play or script you want.

Search terms for plays and scripts

  • "Plays OR Scripts" helps to narrow down what the catalog returns. It will leave out anything for Child Development or language scripts, like Java, Sanskrit, etc.
  • Drama--use this term especially if you're looking for something written in the 1800s or earlier.
  • Collected plays--Series title
  • Best plays--Series title
  • Author name-Tennesse Williams, William Shakespeare, Terence Rattigan, Harold Pinter, etc.
  • Era name-Elizabethan, modern, Harlem Renaissance,

Where are the plays and scripts?

By and large, American plays are in the 812 (American Drama 812-812.999)  section, and British plays are in the 822 (English Drama (822-822.999) section.  If you know the playwright you want to study, look him/her up specifically.

There are also plays in the 808 section (collections of literature), and the 813 and 823 sections because they are part of a writer's "collected works," which include fiction, drama and poetry.

When looking for plays in the catalog, narrow your search results to books so that the catalog won't retrieve film versions of the play.

Search a specific publisher

Many publishers specialize in particular disciplines.  If you search the catalog by publisher, you'll probably have some good luck.  Some of the leading publishers for plays are:

  • Dramatists Play Service
  • Samuel French
  • Humana Festival (fairly recent plays)
  • New Directions

University presses also publish a lot of plays, but that isn't all they publish.  Be ready to scan through the results.  You can also use the Advance Search Option to narrow down what you are looking for a little.  For example, go to the catalog link and click on "Advanced search" under the search box.  Type "drama" in the first box and "University Press" in the second.  Also click on the "Book" option to help keep videos out of the results.  (Don't worry about changing the words in the dropdown boxes at this point.)

Sample Plays