EARLY MODERN DRAMA RESOURCES
Edited by Anna Hegland, with contributions from Professor Pascale Aebischer (University of Exeter), Dr Daniel Starza Smith (King's College London), and the students and staff of the MA in Early Modern English Literature: Text and Transmission (King's College London)
The American Shakespeare Center has collated a number of educational resources for use during the Covid-19 pandemic, including study guides, a virtual tour of their Blackfriars indoor playhouse, and information on accessing streamed classes and performances.
BBC Shakespeare Archive Resource features BBC TV and radio programmes of Shakespeare's plays, poems, and sonnets.
Box of Broadcasts (BoB) collects film, tv, and radio broadcasts; a number of performances are available on BoB including radio dramas and productions from the Globe and Royal Shakespeare Company.
Cheek by Jowl is an international theatre company with productions of early modern plays in English, French, Russian, and Italian. Their website includes free archival material from many productions, some full-length performances, and educational materials.
Digital Theatre Plus gives access to filmed productions, backstage insights, practitioner interviews, and written analysis. (Kent login required)
Drama Online provides play texts, production images and videos, and scholarly material on theatre from the early modern period to the present. (Kent login required)
Edward’s Boys explores the repertoire of sixteenth and seventeenth century boys’ companies. Their site provides information on past productions, including reviews, images, and interviews.
Engendering the Stage in the Age of Shakespeare and Beyond unites scholars, actors and theatre practitioners to investigate the effects of women’s performance on the skills, techniques and technologies of the performance of femininity by both male and female players in canonical drama by Shakespeare and his English and European contemporaries.
Globe Player houses free and paywalled content from Shakespeare’s Globe, including full-length productions, shorter clips of performances, conversations with actors, music, and documentaries.
The Knight of the Burning Pestle is a performance of Francis Beaumont's comedy presented by the Shakespeare Institute Players as part of their 2016 season, and directed by Dr Charlie Morton.
The Lincoln Mystery Plays website houses a living archive of revival performances based on the medieval N-Town cycle. The archive includes images, directors' notes, and reviews from 1969 to the present.
The Masque of Queens is a performance of Ben Jonson’s court masque presented by the London Shakespeare Centre as part of their Shakespeare400 celebration, and directed by Dr Emma Whipday.
The Masque (Historic Royal Palaces) provides information on the spaces in which these courtly entertainments could be staged: the banquet halls of royal palaces. The page provides costume and design drawings from Inigo Jones’s notebooks, as well as historical information on performance practice.
MIT Global Shakespeares gives online access to performances of Shakespeare from around the world. Productions can be sorted by play, language, and region or country of performance.
Performing Restoration Shakespeare was an AHRC-funded project which investigated the adaptation and performance of Shakespeare in the English Restoration, and considered how these adaptations could succeed in performance today. Much of their workshop material is available through the Folger Shakespeare Library partner site.
The Royal Shakespeare Company has partnered with Marquee TV and BBC iPlayer to stream a number of their previous productions, either for free or as a free trial.
Staging and Representing the Scottish Renaissance Court was an AHRC-funded project that produced and filmed a full production of Sir David Lyndsay’s A Satire of Three Estates and a reconstruction of an interlude by Lyndsay performed in its original setting at Linlithgow Castle. The project's site also includes a blog and other educational resources.
Theatre and Performance Archives are the Victoria and Albert Museum’s national collection of performing arts documenting current practice and the history of all areas of performing arts in the UK, including drama, dance, opera, circus, puppetry, comedy, musical theatre, costume, set design, pantomime, popular music and more.
The York Mysteries @ Home is part of an ongoing investigation into community theatre in York, as part of a PhD by Creative Practice in Theatre (Directing). The site includes instruction on how to create your own York Mystery, with the help of director Tom Straszewski; information on the 47 plays in the York cycle; resources on each play; and links to the plays in performance (ongoing).
Print and Publishing
Database of Early English Playbooks (DEEP) is a flexible, customizable search engine of playbooks produced in England, Ireland, and Scotland up to 1660. DEEP is particularly useful for those researching the publishing, printing, and marketing of English drama.
Early Modern Dramatic Paratexts offers complete and fully-searchable transcriptions of all paratexts included in playbooks printed during the era of professional theatres, along with metadata from paratexts’ associated playbooks.
London Book Trades (LBT) is a wiki-database that contains biographical information on printers, booksellers, bookbinders, stationers, and others in associated trades working in and around London from the introduction of printing into England until 1830. The project is currently under development by the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
Project Quintessence seeks to add dimension to the study of English texts from the Early Modern period by integrating state-of-the-art data analysis with dynamic corpus exploration using the EEBO-TCP archive.
Publishing Shakespeare, from the Folger Shakespeare Library, brings together online resources from the Folger and other institutions to explore all known manuscript and print references to Shakespeare and his works in his lifetime and shortly thereafter. The Folger's First Folio Reader is also accessible.
Shakespeare's Coinages is the product of a doctoral research project on Shakespeare's language and early modern slang. The site documents the individual words that are believed to have first appeared in Shakespeare's works, cross-checking these against the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) and Early English Books Online (EBBO). The list is a work in progress, and also includes an essay on the playwright as wordsmith.
WordWeb/IDEM is a database that maps the dense network of quotations, cross-references and in-jokes which link hundreds of English plays from Shakespeare’s time. By tracking the networks of intertextuality in early modern drama, users can see what phrases early modern dramatists borrowed from each other and from other sources.
The Cambridge Edition of the works of Ben Jonson online is a digital collection of Ben Jonson's writings, as well as a body of essays and archives for full study of his life and performance history.
Digital Anthology of Early Modern English Drama (EMED) features downloadable original and regularized spelling editions of Shakespeare’s works, plus an additional 403 plays by other playwrights between 1576 and 1642.
Digital Renaissance Editions publishes digital scholarly editions of early dramatic works, including medieval morality plays, civic pageants, academic dramas, and commercial plays. Many editions are still works in progress, but some are available to view before they have reached the peer-review stage.
Digital Restoration Drama offers TEI-encoded, lightly-edited, full-text editions of plays from the English Restoration, supported by metadata reflecting the publication and performance histories of each text.
The Drama Corpus Project (DraCor) hosts 11 languages' worth of XML-TEI-encoded corpora of theatre plays, including the Shakespearean canon.
Early English Books Online (EEBO) is a searchable database of digitized books and printed materials produced in the British Isles and North America between 1470-1700. EEBO has recently transitioned from Chadwyck-Healey to a new hosted site through Proquest, and their libguide provides more information (and tutorials) on using the new site. (Kent login required)
Early Drama at Oxford (EDOX) is a funded project undertaking a systematic study of plays written and/or performed in the Oxford colleges between 1480 and 1650. The site includes projects, films, and texts in translation, including work from Nicholas Grimald, William Gager, and George Gascoigne.
The English Emblem Book Project is a collection of printed cultural artifacts, digitized by the University of Pennsylvania, which gives access to emblem books frequently used in the analysis of reading practices, printing history, Elizabethan popular culture, the use of allegory, and the relationship of word to image.
Five Sixteenth-Century Latin Plays is an online translation project from the University of Toronto. Each text is available in translation and is taken from from the collection of Comedies and Tragedies edited by Nicholas Brylinger (1540).
William Gager, the Complete Works provides digital editions of the plays, poetry, and prose of the Tudor writer. The works are available in Latin and English, with notes and introductory material.
Internet Shakespeare Editions publishes open-access, peer-reviewed resources for Shakespeare scholarship, including editions of the plays, information on performance, and some scholarly work on Shakespeare’s “life and times”.
The Lost Plays Database is a wiki-style forum for scholars to share information about lost plays in England, 1570-1642, and so add lost plays to scholarly discussions of early modern theatrical activity.
New Oxford Shakespeare provides online, scholarly editions of the Shakespeare canon, including both drama and verse. Users are able to access the Modern Critical Edition, the Critical Reference Edition, and the Authorship Companion volume. (Kent login required)
Richard Brome Online is a digital edition of the Collected Works of the Caroline dramatist, Richard Brome. The edition not only makes the texts accessible to scholars and theatre practitioners, but also begins to explore their theatricality visually, serving as inspiration to encourage more frequent staging of Brome's works.
Before Shakespeare was an AHRC-funded project which explored the origins of playhouses in the Elizabethan period. Their site contains bibliographical material, as well as scholarly blog posts on performance and archival research, and media from their workshops and events.
Biographical Index of English Drama Before 1600 provides a detailed list of playwrights, actors, patrons, musicians, and miscellaneous other people active in English drama before 1660.
Chamber of Demonstrations is a practice-based research project at the University of Bristol, that aims to reconstruct the Jacobean indoor playhouse. Using a full-scale reconstruction model, the project is particularly interested in the use of candlelight in the playhouse, and makes available a number of research papers on lighting, archival evidence, and theatre practice and history.
Early Modern Drama Database organises information on the performance of English plays between 1576-1642. The database can be sorted into a number of categories, including title, playwright, company, playhouse, and genre. (Archived Link).
Early Modern London Theatres (EMLoT) is a collaborative database that has grown out of the Records of Early English Drama (REED) project. EMLoT collates records of theatre companies in and around the city of London, using primary documents written before 1642. The primary goal of the project is to show how information produced at the time of the early London theatres (pre-1642) was transmitted in later years (post-1642).
Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama is an open-access resource from the University of Warwick that explores the page and stage history of five “Jacobethan” playwrights and nine plays. The site combines databases with performance reconstruction, bibliographical information, and performative readings of play fragments.
Henslowe-Alleyn Digitization Project contains papers and images from the Dulwich College archive, with a special focus on the material left to the College by the actor and theatre professional, Edward Alleyn (1566-1626). Alleyn’s papers include parts of Philip Henslowe’s diary, as well as a handful of actor’s “parts” (scripts) and primary documents related to London theatres and performance.
The Horace Howard Furness Shakespeare Library, at the University of Pennsylvania, features a collection of primary and secondary texts that illuminate the theatre, literature, and history of Shakespeare, Shakespearean texts, theatrical production, and criticism.
The Kit Marlowe Project is a digital space designed to introduce undergraduates with diverse majors to project-driven, research-based learning, and digital humanities practices in the context of studying Christopher Marlowe's life and works.
The London Stage Database, 1660-1800 details London performance from the Restoration through the long eighteenth century, with particular reference to playbills, newspapers and theatrical diaries of the period. The database is searchable by actor, role, performance, theatre, and date.
Records of Early English Drama Online (REED Online) houses searchable records of English drama, music, and popular entertainment from the Middle Ages until the closure of the theatres in 1642. This project is in development, but updated frequently.
REED Patrons and Performers explores touring professional performers in England outside London before 1642, with a particular eye to patrons, playing places and travel routes.
The Rose Playhouse site houses virtual reconstructions, lectures and filmed performances of Rose repertory plays. Their “Virtual Rose” section includes multiple 3D reconstructions of the Bankside theatre. Their current page is temporary as of 31/07/2023, therefore, it is limited.
Shakespearean London Theatres (ShaLT) produced short films, downloadable public lectures, and maps all related to the London theatres of Shakespeare’s time.
Shakespearean Prompt-books of the Seventeenth Century is a digital version of G. Blakemore Evans reference works of the same name. The website includes reproductions of prompt-books and other stage texts, and catalogues transcriptions of texts annotated for performance.
The World Shakespeare Bibliography Online is a searchable electronic database consisting of the most comprehensive record of Shakespeare-related scholarship and theatrical productions published or produced worldwide from 1960 to the present. (Individual or institutional login required)
Cantus is a database of the Latin chants found in manuscripts and early printed books, primarily from medieval Europe. This searchable digital archive holds inventories of antiphoners and breviaries -- the main sources for the music sung in the Latin liturgical Office -- as well as graduals and other sources for music of the Mass.
Cantus Index is an online project that grew out of the earlier Cantus database. It catalogues chant texts and melodies for Office and Mass, and links to thirteen total partner projects, which are all searchable through the Cantus Index platform.
Comparatio is a database of medieval liturgical chants, searchable by textual characteristics, liturgical circumstance, and reference ID. The site allows scholars to study and compare different versions of antiphons and responses, as well as textual variants.
DIAMM (the Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music) presents information on thousands of manuscripts, including images, metadata, scholarly editions, and other resources.
The Early Music Show is a BBC radio show and podcast that explores early developments in musical performance and composition in Britain and abroad. (UK only)
Early Music Sources aims to simplify the access to the vast amount of Early music sources. It contains bibliographical lists in the different fields of early music. Additional short introductions are available on their YouTube channel.
The Gregorian Repertory database contains the Latin chants of the Gregorian Mass and Liturgy of the Hours repertoire with translations and further information on the respective chant(s).
The John Blanke Project is an art and archive project studying the life of John Blanke, the Black trumpeter to the Tudor courts of Henry VII and Henry VIII. Here, artists and historians compare the image of people of African origin from the art of the period and the reality of actual people of African origin from the records and the literature.
Medieval Chronicles offers a public history-style overview of premodern music from the fifth to the sixteenth centuries, including lists of popular songs, composers, and musicians.
Music and Late Medieval European Court Cultures (MALMECC) was a funded project at the University of Oxford which offers an exploration of late medieval (c. 1280-1450) court cultures and their music synoptically across Europe (including England, the Low Countries, Avignon, Bohemia, south-eastern Germany/Salzburg, Savoy, and Cyprus).
Performing Medieval Song is a practice-led research project that uses modern performance to explore medieval music. This workshop write-up includes links to recorded performances, manuscript facsimiles, and further reading.
The Sarum Rite is an ongoing multi-volume performing and scholarly edition of all the surviving liturgy and music of the Sarum Rite, or the Use of Salisbury liturgy, published on-line and in book-form by the Gregorian Institute of Canada.
Western Plainchant: A Handbook is an epub version of David Hiley’s 1993 text (Oxford: Clarendon Press). This book serves as a reference both for those coming new to plainchant and for those needing guidance in the specialist literature.
Inclusive Pedagogy Resources is a curated list of teaching resources from the Shakespeare Association of America's committee on Diversity and Inclusion, led by SAA trustees Patricia Akhimie and Dennis Britton. The list includes linked content for those teaching on Shakespeare and the early modern period, as well as general pedagogical resources for developing actively inclusive syllabi and courses in terms of race, gender, sexuality, disability, and intersectional social justice.
Discovering Literature: Shakespeare and Renaissance is the British Library’s collection of items that relate to Renaissance writers and the contexts in which their works were created. Special attention should be drawn to the manuscript of The Book of Sir Thomas More, which features The Stranger’s Case speech performed in this video from Shakespeare’s Globe for Refugee week 2018.
Early English Drama in Performance (EED&P) brings together scholars of and scholarship on early English drama (particularly late medieval and early Tudor work). Their blog has links to current research and funding opportunities, and they have also collated a list of links to related projects, journals, and conferences.
Letterlocking - Unlocking History is a collaborative project hosted through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The project explores the materials, tools, and techniques of writing, and offers videos, images, and a dictionary of letterlocking on their website.
Middling Culture is an AHRC-funded project examines the cultural lives of the literate, urban ‘middling sort’ in early modern England, analysing the broad range of written and material forms they both produced and consumed.
Of Pilcrows: Online Resources is a list of available catalogues, projects, scholarly blogs, images, videos, and reference works for the study of early modern plays at the intersection of performance and print written by Claire M. Bourne.
Ortelius’s Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, from the Library of Congress, showcases the Belgian cartographer Abraham Ortelius’s atlas of the world. The Library of Congress provides digitized images of the atlas, which shaped early modern knowledge of the world.
The Othello Teaching Project is a collaborative online teaching resource, including readings, activities, and assignments, designed to facilitate conversations about race, difference, migration, sex, gender, domestic violence, and Othello.
RaceB4Race is an ongoing conference series and professional network community by and for scholars of color working on issues of race in premodern literature, history, and culture. Papers from their 2020 symposium, Appropriations, at Arizona State University are available on YouTube.
Research Resources from Shakespeare’s Globe include links to research papers and bulletins, interviews with actors, and access to their online archive catalogue.
Shakespeare and the Players, from Emory University, is an online exhibition and scholarly resource of nearly 1,000 postcards featuring many famous English and American actors who performed Shakespeare’s plays for late Victorian and Edwardian audiences.
Stigma in Shakespeare is a project at Harvard University intended to explore the representation of marginalized peoples in the Shakespearean canon by historicizing stigma in earlier English literature and culture, and picking apart the meaning of “discredited difference”.
Teaching Shakespeare is the British Shakespeare Association’s digital magazine aimed at educators. 18 volumes are currently available online, on such topics as access, pedagogy, policy, heritage, and English language learners.
Podcasts & Digital Media
A Bit Lit provides short video conversations on literature, art-making, and creative practice. Their library of videos engages with and is intended for scholars of all career levels.
Beyond Shakespeare hosts readings and produces recordings of non-Shakespearean drama from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Not Shakespeare is a series of six recorded lectures by Professor Emma Smith on Elizabethan and Jacobean plays, focusing on the historical context and dramatic legacy of each.
Shakespeare Unlimited is a podcast hosted by the Folger Shakespeare Library that discusses Shakespeare in relation to performance; film; popular culture; women performers; race, gender, and identity; and more.
#SuchStuff is a podcast series from Shakespeare’s Globe that looks at Shakespeare’s transformative impact on the world around us, asking questions about programming, gender, race, social justice and their relationship to Shakespeare.
Women and Shakespeare, sponsored by NYU's Global Faculty Fund Award, features conversations with diverse women directors, actors, writers, and academics who are involved in making and interpreting Shakespeare.
EThOS provides a national aggregated record of all doctoral theses awarded by UK Higher Education institutions, and free access to the full text of as many theses as possible.
Open Access Theses and Dissertations (OATD) indexes records of theses from institutions across the world and provides a simple search interface.
American doctoral Dissertations (EBSCOhost) gives access to a comprehensive record of dissertations accepted by American universities during that time period, the print index Doctoral Dissertations Accepted by American Universities. Contains more than 172,000 theses and dissertations in total from 1902 to the present.
Resource page updated by Cristina Alvarez Ortiz - last updated 31/07/23