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Finding background/biographical information

North American Theatre Online (NATO) is a comprehensive reference work covering all aspects of the Canadian and American Theatre, from colonial times to the present. It includes some 40,000 pages of major reference materials, together with records to more than 30,000 plays, over 57,000 people, 5,400 theatres, nearly 22,000 productions and 2,500 production companies. The file also includes some 10,500 images, playbills, postcards, scrapbooks and other resources. Approximately 20,000 records are added annually.

Oxford Reference Online Premium contains language and subject reference works published by Oxford University Press. Searches can be conducted within the whole database, within a specific subject, or within a specific reference book. The Performing Arts section features several Oxford Companions, such as the Oxford Companion to American Theatre, as well as the Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance. The Literature section provides information on playwrights and specific plays.

The Oxford Dictionary of Plays provides essential information for 1,000 important plays in world theatre. Abbreviations: A: Author (s); W: Date of writing if it preceeded the first performance or publication by 5 years or more; Pf: Date and place of first performance; Pb: Date of first publication; Tr: Date of first translation into English; G: Genre; S: Setting and time of action; C: Composition of cast.

Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia is hosted by Arthabasca University with an editorial board comprising members of the Association for Canadian Theatre Research. The Encyclopedia provides information about Canadian actors, playwrights, directors, producers, designers, theatre organizations and institutions, and composers and plays.

Broadway: Its History, People, and Places: an Encyclopedia, now in its 2nd edition, was published by Routledge in 2004.

Literature Resource Center contains Contemporary Authors (CA) and Dictionary of Literary Biography (DLB), both of which include biographies of playwrights.

  • Contemporary Authors: shorter biographies
  • Dictionary of Literary Biography: longer biographies

The Dictionary of Literary Biography Complete Online provides reliable information on authors from many countries and centuries. Includes the Dictionary of Literary Biography Documentary Series and the Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook.

Literature Criticism provides full text or selections of full text of essays and articles re-published in the following reference works:

  • Shakespearean Criticism
  • Poetry Criticism
  • Short Story Criticism
  • Drama Criticism
  • Classical & Medieval Literature Criticism
  • Literature Criticism from 1400 to 1800
  • Nineteenth Century Literature Criticism
  • Twentieth Century Literature Criticism
  • Contemporary Literary Criticism

Coverage is from the 15th century to 2019. This database is NOT updated.

Literature Online includes major literary reference works, such as the Columbia Dictionary of Modern European Literature and Literature Online biographies.

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography features authoritative biographies of the men and women who shaped all aspects of the British past from the earliest times to 2004. It covers people who died up to 2004; one year is added each January. Most biographies include lists of sources, archives and likenesses.

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