Celebrating 5 Years of Drama Online
and a long history of distinguished play publishing

The Arden Shakespeare began publishing Series One in 1899; Methuen Drama published its first work, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest in 1889. After over 125 years of publishing plays and drama scholarship in print, these two historic imprint now sit at the core of our digital library with accomplished multimedia partners in audio, television, film, and stage.

In 2013 Drama Online launched with 500 plays and the commitment to reach 1000 plays. Five short years later finds us with over 2,300 plays from multiple partners around the world, 400 stunning audio plays, hundreds of hours of video content, with world-class live performances, powerful acting classes and award-winning films, all cross-referenced with hundreds of scholarly books.

From the outset we planned Drama Online as a product to meet the needs of students, researchers and performers and saw the potential the digital space offered for us to help add an element of “the stage” to the “page” experience of reading a play. Digital technology has opened up new possibilities for the study of theatre and performance than ever before, a subject never meant to be confined to the pages of a book. Working with students, teachers and librarians we developed the functionality to ensure commentary notes are embedded seamlessly in playtexts, and created Playtools, which create quickly understandable bar graphs and charts to compare characters speaking parts, create rehearsal grids and offer new ways of understanding a play’s dynamic. Our monologue finder was developed in close consultation with theatre practitioners, actors and directors, who are always keen to discover new titles and roles.

Working with feedback from our customers, we moved to incorporate images, audio and then video content to make Drama Online a multimedia performance platform like no other, one which allows a user to read Hamlet, explore world-leading scholarship about the play, to listen to and watch a range of leading theatre performances, all in the same digital space.

Drama Online’s success to-date is built on the values of publishing excellence and originality inherited from our Methuen Drama and Arden Shakespeare imprints, and on the partnerships we enjoy with a range of publishers and producers of world-class content. Our success is also built on our on-going partnerships with key stakeholders in colleges, conservatoires and universities around the world who help us to ensure that Drama Online develops and grows to meet the needs of its millions of users worldwide. Over the next five years and beyond we will continue to open up new worlds of theatre and theatre research so that students and researchers around the world can benefit from the dynamic and authoritative digital resource that Drama Online has become in five short years.

— Margaret Bartley, Editorial Director, Drama Online, Bloomsbury Digital Resources

From our partners:

L.A. Theatre Works

“Thanks to Drama Online, whose vast and beautifully curated offerings mesh so well with L.A. Theatre Works’ audio collection of dramatic literature. We wanted to widen our reach and Drama Online was looking for more fine content—a match made in heaven! Happy Anniversary!”

— Susan Albert Loewenberg, Producing Director, L.A. Theatre Works

Stage on Screen

“As soon as we at Stage on Screen heard about Bloomsbury’s plans to expand Drama Online to include streaming, we wanted to be a part of it. Providing students with high quality recordings of classic plays has always been our aim, and Drama Online has proved to be the perfect platform and partner. It’s no surprise that the site has grown and expanded so quickly, and is now used by so many academic institutions worldwide; the resources that Drama Online can provide are staggering.”

— Phil Rees, Director, Stage on Screen

Nick Hern Books

“As one of the UK's leading theatre publishers, we're delighted to be part of Drama Online. We joined as the first content partner in 2015, launching hundreds of plays in the Nick Hern Books Collection—a mix of works by many of the most exciting writers working today, plus classics both originally in English and in translation—with dozens more plays being added every year since. Three years on, and as we celebrate our own thirtieth anniversary, our growing presence on this brilliant, award-winning platform is a source of great pride to us, giving students, teachers and institutions around the world instant access to our rich list of authors and their fantastic plays.”

— Matt Applewhite, Managing Director, Nick Hern Books

Shakespeare’s Globe

“We are delighted that the collection of Globe on Screen titles now available on Drama Online continues to grow. Our filmed productions not only offer a rich catalogue of valuable learning resources for schools but also an opportunity to see and experience the iconic Globe theatre from classrooms and libraries around the world.”

— Chui-Yee Cheung, Head of Film Distribution, Shakespeare’s Globe

Playwrights Canada Press

“We’re thrilled that we can share classic and contemporary Canadian theatre on a broad spectrum and reach new audiences through Drama Online. It’s a great resource for theatre lovers, which will help further theatre for many years, and we’re honoured to be included.”

— Jessica Lewis, Sales & Marketing Coordinator, Playwrights Canada Press

Shakespeare’s Heroes and Villains

“We always like to work with the best and in this case it’s Drama Online. We are hugely proud to be partnering them for the release of our current production.”

— Stephen Cookson, Director CK Films Ltd.