Drama Online contains many hundreds of plays from the very earliest Greek works right up to the present day, in text, video, and audio formats. In addition there are background and contextual works on playwrights, theatre movements, genres, practitioners and periods, as well as scholarly monographs, dictionary content, practical books on acting and stage craft, and over five hundred theatre production stills from the Victoria and Albert Museum Performance collection. You can view the list of plays, video, audio, context and criticism, and theatre craft works using the primary navigation options above. Images can be found through search and on the play pages.
Much of the content on Drama Online is exclusive to the platform.
The following collections are entirely exclusive: Core Collection, Nick Hern Books Modern Plays, Playwrights Canada Press, Aurora Metro Books, Critical Studies & Performance Practice, Shakespeare’s Globe on Screen 2, Stage on Screen, Shakespeare in the Present, Shakespeare’s Heroes and Villains, and The Classic Spring Oscar Wilde Collection.
The following collections contain mostly exclusive content: Shakespeare’s Globe on Screen and The Hollow Crown.
Following feedback from our market research we have made sure that page numbers and lineation echo the print version of the work. To view these you need to select ‘show line numbers’ in the notes bar at the bottom of the screen.
For plays that contain scholarly annotations, such as the Arden Shakespeare and New Mermaid Series, you will see a notes bar at the bottom of your screen when reading the play. Click the buttons to show the notes icons, show the line numbers, or both. The pop-up notes can be closed by clicking the X in the top-right of the pop-up, or by clicking anywhere around the pop-up.
The following collections are updated annually: Core Collection, Nick Hern Books Modern Plays, and Critical Studies & Performance Practice.
New collections will be added to Drama Online in the future.
Drama Online has a lot of content that is freely discoverable. This includes play descriptions, playwright biographies, and information on who to contact regarding performance rights (see Production Enquiries). We also offer Featured Content showcasing a breadth of content on Drama Online around a specific theme which is freely available for a limited period. This is updated throughout the year.
Apart from Featured Content, users will not be able to access the play or book content itself unless they are subscribers.
You can use the following routes to discover content across the site:
Use the top navigation bar to browse the site via list of plays and other content, playwrights, genres, or period as well as many more options.
The Search box appears at the top of every page on the site. Enter your term into the box and click the search icon. This will perform a full-text search across all content types on Drama Online.
When you have your search results displayed, use the filters on the left-hand side to refine your search further. For example, a search on 'epic theatre' could be further refined by looking at epic theatre from a specific period, author, or theme.
You can use the Advanced Search tool to conduct more specific search enquires by entering one or more search criteria.
Boolean AND, OR, and NOT operators are supported on Drama Online (e.g. Shakespeare AND tragedy). Use quotation marks (" ") to find an exact phrase (e.g. "Merchant of Venice"). Search results will automatically include results for plurals and grammatically related words, e.g. a search for ‘edit’ will also find ‘edits’, ‘editing’, and ‘edited’.
Advanced Play Search
You can use Play Finder to find a play of a particular length or cast size. Type a keyword into the search bar and use the dropdown menus to select number of scenes, word count, total roles, or number of roles of a specific gender. Use the ‘Add field’ button if you want to add more criteria.
This feature is available publicly to help you find plays to perform or study, though you will not be able to access play content unless your institution has access.
You can use Monologue Search to find monologues of a specific word count. Use the dropdown menus to specify the gender of the speaker and enter a word count in the value field.
Search within this Book
You can use the ‘Search within this Book’ feature to conduct specific searches within the book you are reading.
Play Tools include a Character Grid to help you view where characters appear and with whom they interact in the play. The circles represent the number of words in an Act or Scene spoken by each character.
Words and Speeches
On the same page as the Character Grid you will find a bar chart representing the shape of the play in terms of words and speeches. Selecting a character or specific characters from the Character Grid will change the graph to reflect the words and speeches for those selected. Hover over the bars for the precise word count.
If you select one of the circles in the Character Grid you'll be taken directly into the play text to view the lines for that character and scene only.
Yes! It’s quick and easy for any authenticated user to set up a personal account to save books, chapters, images, or other items to view later, organize saved items into folders, email and export citations, save searches, and set up search alerts.
Follow the link in the header to ‘Sign in to your personal account’ and enter a few details (name, email address, and password) to create a Personal Account. Please note you must be already logged in through your institution to do this.
From the content page, click on the ‘cite’ icon to view formatted citations in APA, MLA, and Chicago citation styles. You can also download a file in RIS format for importing into reference manager software. Please note that the original pagination has been preserved from the print editions.
For the Arden Shakespeare series, these provide explanations of vocabulary, literary or biblical references, theatrical interpretations and, where relevant, extracts from Shakespeare’s source material. For other series, these provide general commentary notes.
Commentary notes are represented by the speech icon.
The textual notes in Arden editions are designed to let readers know when the edited text diverges from the early edition(s) on which it is based. Wherever this happens the note will record the rejected reading of the early edition(s), in original spelling, and the source of the reading adopted in this edition.
Textual notes are represented by the book icon.
All content items within Drama Online have been indexed according to our custom-built taxonomy. The related content function will locate and display the content that matches the taxonomy tags most closely for the piece of content you are viewing. This enables related content to appear.
Drama Online is available on subscription or by perpetual access to educational institutions, including universities, colleges, schools, and public libraries. Annual update purchases are also available to perpetual access customers for relevant collections.
For librarians: visit how to subscribe to organise a 30 day free trial and to discuss pricing options.
Faculty members: recommend this product to your librarians! The full content list is posted here.
Once subscribed, visit Subscriber Services to:
After your account set-up has been completed there are a variety of ways to access the site.
Most institutions will set up their access via IP-authentication. This means a user who comes to the site through a subscribing institution will automatically be logged in when accessing the site.
Librarians, you can find out about setting up your institution via Subscriber Services.
Username and Password
Some institutions require username and password authentication. If you do not know your institution's log in details, please consult your librarian.
If you have password access to the site, type your username and password into the login fields accessed from the top navigation bar. Remember that your password is case-sensitive.
As of 4 January 2013, the Athens Agent no longer works as an access management solution. Users should be advised to contact the person responsible for subscriptions to Drama Online at their institution.
If your institution uses authentication via Shibboleth, select the Log In button from the top navigation, then select ‘use the Shibboleth Login Page’ under Helpful Tips.
Log In is for logging into the site via your institution. If your institution has IP recognition you will be logged in automatically.
Sign In is a personal login which allows you to use the bookmarking and save search features. You will need to be logged in to access this feature.
No, access is available on an unlimited simultaneous user basis.
Yes, the site is responsive, and fully optimized for displaying on a range of tablet and smartphone interfaces. The site has been tested using recent versions of the iPad, iPhone, and Android smartphones and tablets. No web-enabled devices are specifically excluded, and there is no separate mobile site: the site layout adapts automatically depending on the size of the screen.
Drama Online has been tested using Internet Explorer (version 10 onwards), Safari (version 6 onwards), and the latest versions of Firefox and Chrome, on PC, Mac, and mobile operating systems. We will continue to monitor usage from different browsers and platforms and revise our list of actively supported browsers and devices accordingly.
Bloomsbury Digital Resources platforms provide usage statistics to customers in accordance with the COUNTER Code of Practice.
COUNTER 4 and COUNTER 5 reports are available to subscribing institutions via our Administrator Portal (username and password required). If you need a username and password please contact us. Subscribing institutions can also use our SUSHI service for automated retrieval of COUNTER 4 and COUNTER 5 usage statistics. Please contact us to request your credentials and information on using this service.
The COUNTER Code of Practice is the industry-standard format for usage reporting of electronic resources. Bloomsbury products are COUNTER-compliant. Release 5 is the current Code of Practice and the requirement for COUNTER compliance.
The COUNTER Code of Practice includes an appendix: Changes from Previous Releases which shows how the reports have changed and which reports have been eliminated.
In addition to COUNTER 5 reports, Bloomsbury will continue to provide COUNTER 4 reports until the December of 2022.
Yes, subscribing institutions can use our SUSHI service for automated retrieval of COUNTER 4 and COUNTER 5 usage statistics. Please contact us to request your credentials and information on using this service.
For COUNTER 5, the following reports are available:
Platform Master report - PR
Platform Usage – PR_P1
Title Master Report- TR
Book Requests (excluding "OA_Gold") - TR_B1
Book Access Denied - TR_B2
Book Usage by Access Type - TR_B3
Item Master Report - IR
Multimedia Item Requests - IR_M1
COUNTER 5 reports collect data from 11th March 2020.
For COUNTER 4, the following reports are available:
COUNTER 4 reports will continue to collect data without interruption until December 2022.
If you are keen to apply for amateur performance rights to any of our plays you'll need to approach the performance rights holder.
Use our Production Enquiry feature on the play summary page to find the correct contact information for this.