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Free Theatre Web Sites

Databases and Encyclopedias  |  General Theater Sites  |  Acting  |  Stage Combat  |  Costume Design  |  General Stagecraft, Technical Theater and Production  |  Electronic Play Texts  |  Theater History  |  Shakespeare  |  Theater Reviews & News  |  Professional Organizations & Associations

Databases and Encyclopedias

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General information, statistics and fun facts about Broadway shows, theaters and people. Includes currently playing shows as well as past productions.

Similar to IBDB, only featuring information about Off-Broadway productions. Archives date back to 1958 (as of April 2010).

The Cyber Encyclopedia of Musical Theatre, TV and Film.

General Theater Sites

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Provides links to hundreds of resources for theater and dance, including original resources, many of which provide excellent basic information for students.

Presents a large variety of links to resources for performing arts.

This library of World Wide Web sites is extremely thorough, containing links to both theater production (acting, directing, writing, etc.) and research sites. A subject index is available for those who are not sure which site might contain the information they are seeking.

Starts with general helpful resources, moving on to resources by topic (actors and acting, stagecraft and technical theater, etc.), finding primary materials and other guides. Maintained by Kevin McCoy, PhD of Steston University in Florida.

A collection of useful links for full text play sources, theater history, musical theater, design and technology, and others.

Provides links to resources in areas of drama, theater and screenwriting. Maintained by the University of California, Santa Barbara, English Department.

The largest site for contemporary art, art news, art history, contemporary artist and gallery portfolios, online since 1995.

Provides links to resources in more than 50 countries around the world, for professionals, amateurs, academics and students of all ages.

Acting

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Free acting lessons, access to monologues online, current audition postings, and more.

Created by actors for actors. Resources, guides, articles and advice. You must register to search for casting calls, but it’s free.

Covers everything from headshots, resumes and preparing for an audition, to business and legal considerations or joining a union. Each section has an essential checklist.

An interesting page covering the subtle language of the handheld fan. Compiled by a fan manufacturer, this page is a great reference for much of the late Classical and Romantic era operas.

For those interested in improvisational theatre and comedy. Features include online discussion forums, full descriptions of improv games, groups by state or country (however the groups list has not been updated since 2003), and a bookstore.

Stage Combat

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The complete text of a 16th century fencing manual.

The terminology of Stage Combat, according to the SAFD.

For that added touch of realism to any opera, just add a little stage blood. These relatively simple recipes are good enough (and safe enough) to eat.

Learn the very basics of rapier combat with this informative resource. After you have reviewed the technique of rapier combat, stage your own fight using the sample fight choreography provided. Note: These are only very basic techniques of combat. Before engaging in your own stage combat, it is highly recommended that you work with a trained professional, so as to insure the highest level of safety possible.

The main organization in the U.S. promoting safe stage combat in theater. While it would be nice to be able to learn stage combat from a web site, such a site is rare. The SAFD's site, however, contains information about modern stage combat training standards, the group's history, and combat links.

Costume Design

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Covers Western costume history by period and includes a time line of costume history images, and links to websites on costume history and design.

Everything you ever wanted to know about clothing in the Elizabethan Era. Articles on underclothes, dress patterns, and hats only hint at the completeness of this site. Great pictures and diagrams accompany most of the text.

This site is based on the German publication, "Zur Geschichte der Kostume" printed in Munich from 1861 to 1880. This is a good source for researching fashion during the Victorian era and includes both formal and folk dress.

Subscription is required to access many parts of this website. This website offers some free articles on fashion history through its “Research Library” link. Host to over 10,000 web pages and more than 45,000 images. Features a free online costume encyclopedia and a photo collection provided by site users, then dated and presented chronologically online.

Contains sites featuring the art of performance costuming, for live theater (including drama, dance, opera, sport, and stage performers) and film (motion pictures and television).

This web site gathers a phenomenal number of links for the costuming student or professional. Extremely useful are the links providing designs and images.

An index to selected images used in the study of fashion and costume.

General Stagecraft, Technical Theater and Production

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Brief, yet informative articles discussing the development of theatrical design from Ancient Greece to the twentieth century.

Highlighted topics include stage and film products, lighting and audio links, manuals and tips, and an extensive job list. Links are provided for twelve different countries.

A reference guide to the history and creation of colors. The site provides the origin of basic colors and in depth information about how to make and use pigments.

Prop master Sean McArdle has created a blog containing numerous articles and links about how to “Do It Yourself”, from making an electric generator to creating a green lantern ring. Up to date issues, such as the effects of smoking on stage are well addressed.

Offers over 320,000 sound files for download through its sound effects library. Purchase is required for full effects, but there are free samples.

The technical data presented can be used by amateurs or professionals. Included are resources on specific lighting instruments, a great guide to light bulbs, and a list of worldwide theater lighting organizations.

A pathfinder divided into online sources and print sources. Provides ample listings for those interested in working behind the scenes.

In association with the University of Exeter, UK drama department, content is also pertinent to USA students. Completely devoted to technical theater, the site includes information for beginners and amateurs. Book suggestions are also provided.

Electronic Play Texts

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Although this site is no longer being maintained, it is still a useful index to plays in electronic form available on the web. Works are usually those in the public domain (not covered by copyright) and include authors such as Shakespeare, Ibsen, Jonson and Euripides.

Organized and maintained by the Association for Hispanic Classical Theater, Inc., this site provides access to a number of Hispanic play texts, organized by playwright. Other resources related to Hispanic theater are also available. This site can be read in either English or Spanish.

Offers the full text of all of Shakespeare's plays and poetry as well as links to other resources online.

Provides access, via author or title search, to the locations of printed plays not indexed in the standard printed play indexes. Approximately 17,647 locations are currently cited to plays in many languages.

Search here for information on authors world wide, as well as the full text, in German, of some of their works.

This site contains a collection of original plays and screenplays, criticism and links to other sites concerned with theater.

Theater History

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A multimedia anthology selected from various Library of Congress holdings. This collection illustrates the vibrant and diverse forms of popular entertainment, especially vaudeville, that thrived from 1870-1920.

Provides links to hundreds of resources for theater history, including original resources, many of which provide excellent basic information for students.

A time line organized by decade covering major events in twentieth century theater history.

Featured here are stage and costume designs, still photographs, posters, and scripts for productions of Macbeth and The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus as staged by Orson Welles, and for Power, a topical drama of the period (over 3,000 images).

This website is useful for period research, from classical to contemporary. Also contains specific links for costumes, design and computer assisted design, lighting and technical theatre. Maintained since 1996 by Jack Wolcott, former Associate Director and Graduate Program Coordinator of the University of Washington School of Drama.

Shakespeare

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A comprehensive and well annotated site. Includes a Shakespeare Timeline, HTML and text complete websites, study guides, festivals and theatre companies, Shakespeare’s renaissance contemporaries, and a great deal more.

Home to the world’s largest collection of Shakespeare materials. The Discover Shakespeare section provides pertinent information about his life and works, Shakespearean theaters, FAQs and links to other Shakespeare sites. Teach and Learn features lesson plans, study guides and Shakespeare for Kids.

One of the collections at the University of Pennsylvania’s Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text and Image. Contains virtual copies of early works by William Shakespeare and multimedia tutorials for Romeo & Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, Richard III and King Lear.

Theater Reviews & News

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This theater review source covers productions from New York City to San Francisco and is updated bi-weekly. Links to regional theater review sources are also provided.

This site contains the most complete editorial coverage of theater on the web, including the latest news, interviews with actors and playwrights, opening-night coverage, original theater reviews and video features. Broadway.com also offers current box office results, show synopses, credits and biographies and in-depth Tony Awards coverage.

Recent reviews published in the New York Times are available, full text, at this site. You must first subscribe to the New York Times online service before these reviews are available to you.

Offers information about current productions, feature articles and reviews of Off-Broadway productions in New York City.

Contains playbill information for Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional, and London theaters, as well as ticket ordering information, recent theater news, and other features concerned with current theater.

Information about Broadway, Off-Broadway and regional theater, with reviews and chat message boards.

Professional Organizations & Associations

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The American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR) is a U.S.-based professional organization that fosters scholarship on worldwide theater and performance, both historical and contemporary.

List of theater support organizations and professional associations.

The CSA is a scholarly organization that “advances the global understanding of all aspects of dress and appearance.” The society publishes the journal Dress. Visitors will find information about job openings, grants and awards. A list of members provides links to a number of historic clothing related services.

A national organization founded to foster communication among professional, community and university theaters.

Supports librarians and archivists affiliated with theatre, dance, performance studies, popular entertainment, motion picture and broadcasting collections.

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