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Theater Arts: Plays / Playbills

Play Indexes

The following may help you to identify an edition of a play or a play in a collection that you need to read for your research or an assignment. If you need additional information or assistance with these indexes, Ask A Librarian.

Additional Web Resources

Full-Text Plays Online

Finding Print Materials in QuickSearch

Plays can be found in one of several ways: 

  • In an individual book
    • A single play can be published as a book (i.e. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde is available at Gumberg, which only contains that script). 
  • In an author's collected works
    • Several plays by the same author are often published as a book. For example, William Shakespeare, the late comedies: A midsummer-night's dream, Much ado about nothing, As you like it, Twelfth night  contains a total of four plays, all written by William Shakespeare.
  • Part of an anthology of plays
    • Collections of plays written by different authors are also often published as a book or anthology. The plays in such collections may be connected by nationality, date range, style, cast, etc.  For example, the plays collected in Renaissance Drama: an anthology of plays and entertainments are connected by their style of non-Shakespearean Renaissance drama.
  • Published in a magazine
    • Plays are sometimes published in magazines. For example, each monthly issue of the magazine American Theatre includes the script of a new play.  
  • By call number 
    • The call number search can be a very effective way to browse through anthologies and collections of plays that have common characteristics. Search by CALL NUMBER using these classification numbers:
    • American Play Collections:
      • PS623 and PS625 Collections of American plays
      • PS627 Collections of American plays arranged alphabetically by topic
      • PS634 Collections of 20th-Century American plays
    • British Play Collections:
      • Search by CALL NUMBER in the catalog using classification numbers PR1224-PR1266.

In any of these instances, search QuickSearch for the play title or playwright's name. If this search is unsuccessful, try a Play Index (See the box to the left) to find the title of a collected work or anthology. Then, look up that book’s title in the library catalog.


Go into QuickSearch. On the Basic Search Screen, click on Advanced Search.

In the first drop-down menu, select Title and enter the name of the play you are searching for. Use quotations around the title to keep the exact wording in the search results.

If the results are still too varied, you can refine your search to the left of the results page by Language, Format, Location, and so on. For this example we have limited the search by Format: "Printed Matl".

The Search Results page will list the books by relevance. Click on the title to view the item information, full catalog record, and often a look inside the book at the summary, reviews, or table of contents.