Must-Have Databases for Academic and Public Libraries 2020:
Drama Online, Bloomsbury’s all-in-one multimedia database covering theater and literature, features 2,600-plus scripts, 400 audio plays, 325 video plays, and 370 scholarly books. Content is both classic and contemporary, and strongest when it comes to William Shakespeare’s oeuvre. Videos include stage adaptations from the BBC, Globe, National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford Festival, and The Hollow Crown NBC television series, exclusive to Bloomsbury. Books published by Methuen, Arden Shakespeare, and other prestigious presses provide context, critical insights, and practical guidance on stagecraft and performance. The user interface is elegant and makes navigating the resource both simple and fun. Drama Online will appeal to large public libraries and academic and secondary school libraries that support theater programs.
Library Journal, December 2020
...a multimedia feast for students and serious theater fans. With its broad coverage encompassing the classic and the contemporary, this is an excellent choice for any library collection where the play’s the thing.
Booklist, American Library Assoication, May 2021
Drama Online [is] a gigantic digital storehouse of recordings, play texts and contextual academic information run by Bloomsbury. There are more than 2,000 scripts, ranging from Alan Ayckbourn to Florian Zeller, production stills from the V&A, video gems such as the Donmar [female Shakespeare] Trilogy, indexes according to genres and periods and more. The site has also significantly just taken receipt of a mouth-watering batch of NTLive and National Theatre archive recordings.
"[It’s] geared to schools and educational institutions but the ramifications are huge: theatre’s future will be shaped by students who have this as a go-to-resource. Says Edward Kemp, director of Rada: 'Until now, we’ve had maybe a photo or a script to go on. Now students can often read the play and watch a good example of how it has been acted, lit and designed. It gets them up to speed with what’s possible so much faster and allows for compare and contrast. Young actors today want to do Hamlet like Andrew Scott, whereas Laurence Olivier can sound to them like an old ham. With resources like this, they can investigate what was once electric about him.'”
The Telegraph, November 2019
Drama Online is a well-designed and easy-to-use database that succeeds admirably in making the texts of plays available online in an environment that will enhance their use for study and performance. Its collections of audio and video performance of plays enrich the database considerably and should be seriously considered by most libraries...
CC Advisor, June 2017
This easy, inviting, and intuitive database is a dream to use.
Its strength is its ability to offer students multiple entry points to its rich and diverse content. The selection is vast and teens whose exposure to the theater is limited to scholarly fare will find themselves falling in love with the art form as a result of the exposure to younger, edgier, and more culturally diverse playwrights.
This is an excellent resource that all schools with theater departments and libraries serving artistically minded patrons should seriously consider. Users will easily find plays that speak powerfully to the unique needs of their communities, and the various cultural and thematic entry points may inspire a lasting love in the theater in newcomers.
School Library Journal, September 2015
A fantastic resource for us as a drama school . . . the Character Grid and Monologue facility is a massive time-saver for all of us who are constantly looking for and choosing plays that will work for large groups. It gets a big yes from me.
Simon Hunt, Head of BA Physical Theatre, East 15 Acting School, University of Essex, UK
Drama Online is one of the best expressions to date of digital literary studies. What a terrific resource this is for students, teachers, theatre practitioners, and the general reader. As far as Shakespeare is concerned it will show us the human endeavour that made him possible and the subsequent drama his works continue to inspire.
Dr Paul Edmondson, Head of Research and Knowledge, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, UK
I am amazed and delighted to learn about Drama Online. Surely this is the best expression to date of the digital revolution as far as literary studies are concerned.
Rachel White, Information Consultant, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK
This is a fantastic facility. It’s simple to use, brings up research results very quickly – perfect when time is of the essence, when searching for that "specific" play or monologues, or practitioner/playwright.
Phillip Weaver, Head of BA Acting, East 15 Acting School, University of Essex, UK
Drama Online is an invaluable resource for my students, staff and me. It allows us to access such a wealth of treasured texts in an instant. I anticipate this being a major reference area for us going forward.
Professor Jeff Janisheski, Department Chair, Theatre Arts, California State University Long Beach, US
The exceptional range of material available is unparalleled. Plays will be permanently available – no stock problem or waiting. Drama Online represents a saving of time, money and patience as well as being a portal to exciting possibilities of plays old and new.
Andrea Brooks, Head MA Acting, University of Essex, UK, Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA)
A ground-breaking digital resource that makes available a vast library of plays and reference works while offering bespoke features tailored to the needs of individual students and researchers. Drama Online blazes the trail for a new era of digital theatre publishing.
Dr Chris Megson, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK
With instant search access to quite literally thousands of plays and reference works, Drama Online has become the essential site for all theatre and performance-related materials.
Professor Geoffrey Colman, Head of Acting, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, UK
A great resource to recommend to students for scene study/acting classes/contextual studies research.
Dr Chris Main, Head of Programmes, Southend, University of Essex, UK
Drama Online is a FANTASTIC resource – SO important, especially to BA World Performance because we use such a wide range of material.
Dr Margaret Coldiron, Deputy Head of BA World Performance, University of Essex, UK
Drama Online – curated by some of the wisest publishers in the business – sets the stage for a new generation of readers, writers, and thespians to not only find, but also actively work with plays. It is a new, exciting way to engage with the stage, while never losing sight of the treasured heritage of theater and the performing arts. As a college English instructor, I can tell that this resource will be a goldmine.
Michael Arnzen, Professor of English, Seton Hill University, US
Bloomsbury Publishing and Faber and Faber create something unique with Drama Online. By combining the resources of Methuen Drama, Arden Shakespeare and the Faber catalogue in a single website that provides filtered browsing and powerful search and navigation capabilities, Drama Online becomes the first stop of choice for drama teachers, students, scholars and practitioners. This is a brilliantly thought through and executed digital library providing both the opportunity of finding exactly what you are looking for and the possibility of encountering an unexpected revelation.
Richard Brestoff, Head of Acting, Professor of Drama, UC, Irvine, US