Collection Development - Theatre Studies

Collections Librarian : Pamela Bristah (x2076)

The collection development policy for theatre guides the development and management of theatre materials in the Wellesley College Library. This policy is for use by the Wellesley community and the theatre collections librarian. Building the Library's collection is a collaborative process, and faculty and students are encouraged to provide recommendations for library materials.

General purpose of the collection

The library collection for theatre supports theatre studies and literature curricula at Wellesley College. It provides resources for study and performance of theatre arts, faculty instruction, and basic faculty research.

The primary purpose of the theatre collection is to support the undergraduate, interdepartmental Theatre Studies major. The Theatre Studies major is both an academic field of study and a practical application of that study. The purpose of the major is to provide students with a theoretical knowledge and appreciation of the history and literature of the theatre. Additionally, students are instructed and given 'hands-on' experience in production and promotion of theatrical events, working on productions as actors, directors, and stage crew, including productions by faculty, student groups, and the Wellesley Summer Theatre, a professional company in residence at Wellesley College. Theatre Studies faculty offer courses on plays, acting, directing, stagecraft, and playwriting, which students may supplement with courses in literature, drama, video production, and cinema from other Wellesley departments.

The theatre collection is a resource for theatre productions by the Theatre Studies program and by student groups. It is also a campus-wide resource for curricula with an interest in drama and literature, including Africana Studies, Cinema and Media Studes, Classics, East Asian Studies, English, French, Italian, German, Latin American, Russian, Spanish, and others.

Description of the collection

The collection features play scripts and filmed play productions on video, and secondary, critical materials on drama, plays, authors, acting, directing, costume, lighting, and stage production. The collection also includes writings on history and genres of theatre, and studies of historical and contemporary performance practices.

The primary emphasis of the collection is on drama, with other theatrical arts featured more selectively. These include musical theatre, vaudeville, cabaret, burlesque, mime, puppetry, circus arts, performance art, radio, television, and dance. Many materials on cinema are a resource for theatre studies as well.

A common curricular thread at Wellesley is an emphasis on the roles and contributions of women; in theatre, this includes study of plays by and about women, women playwrights, directors, and actors, as well as the study of gender and theatre, feminism and theatre, and the portrayal of women in dramatic works.

Readership level: The theatre collection includes works written for basic through advanced undergraduate level, and for basic faculty research; masters-level publications are collected selectively; research-level publications are collected very selectively.

Languages collected: The Library collects plays originally written in English, foreign-language plays in English translation, and significant works in their original language as well, particularly works in languages taught at Wellesley. Plays translated into languages other than English are generally excluded. For writings about theatre, English is the preferred language; writings about theatre in non-Roman alphabets are generally excluded. Important monographs and reference works in Western European languages are collected selectively.

Geographical areas covered (intellectual content or publication source): All geographical areas are included.

Chronological periods covered (intellectual content): All chronological eras are included, with a significant emphasis on new plays.

Chronological period covered (publication dates): For books, the emphasis is on works of recent publication, representing current scholarship. For play scripts, newer and older plays are collected, to provide a diverse collection of artistically significant works.

Genres of drama collected or excluded: All genres are collected.

Reference: The reference collection for Theatre Studies follows the general subject parameters of the circulating collection, providing resources primarily on theater history, criticism, reviews and indexes to plays and scenes in collections. The collection includes, but is not limited to, encyclopedias, biographical and subject-specific dictionaries, including dictionaries on stagecraft, and indexing and abstracting databases for periodical articles and reviews. Research guides and bibliographies are collected very selectively-bibliographies are collected primarily for major playwrights, directors, or genres. Reference works may be acquired in print or online, with online preferred when available. English is the preferred language for reference works. Reference materials are selected by the Research and Instruction Group librarian for Theatre Studies, who may collaborate with the collections librarian for Theatre Studies.

Special emphases: Plays by and about women; videos of productions by significant female directors; Shakespeare.

Current collecting priorities: Asian-American drama and theatre; Latin American and Central American drama and theatre; Irish drama and theatre; African-American drama and theatre.

Types of materials:
Formats in the theatre collection include books, play scripts, and periodicals in print and online, electronic encyclopedias and indices, sound recordings, and video recordings.
- Reference works: see Reference section, above.
- Books: histories, studies on schools, genres, and styles of theatre, biographies and studies of playwrights, and of significant directors and actors, theoretical studies, theatre pedagogy and instruction, and play scripts. Critical editions of plays, those published as literature with editors and editorial commentary, are preferred. Plays scripts with no editing or commentary, intended for performance use, are selected when no other edition is available, typically the case for new plays.
- Video recordings: Significant performances, documentaries, and pedagogical material.
NB: monographs published by major university press and selected trade publishers are added to the Library via an approval plan.

Types of materials collected selectively: Bibliographies; foreign-language reference works; foreign-language monographs; research-level monographs; dissertations and theses; Festschriften, congress proceedings, and other essay anthologies by more than one author; foreign-language periodicals; VHS videos; DVDs in other than region one coding.

Types of materials not collected: Foreign-language dissertations; playbills, pamphlets, and other ephemera; single or discrete issues of periodicals; textbooks; workbooks; and microforms.

Library locations: Most theatre materials are housed in Clapp Library, with a few exceptions. Books on musical theatre, and scores and sound recordings of musicals are located in the Music Library; videos of musicals are divided between Clapp Library and the Music Library. Materials on performance art, and on video production and direction, are divided between Clapp and Art Libraries.

Related subjects & interdisciplinary relationships

Africana Studies: The Africana collections librarian selects literary criticism on drama. The theatre collections librarian selects materials on play production, acting, costumes, sets, and directing. Both select plays.

Art: The Art Librarian, Theatre collections librarian and Music Librarian share selection of works dealing with performance art.

Classics: The Classical Studies collections librarian selects literary criticism on ancient Roman and Greek drama. The theatre collections librarian selects materials on play production, acting, costumes, sets, and directing. Both select plays.

Cinema & Media Studies: The cinema collections librarian selects works on film, and may collaborate with the theatre collections librarian on works dealing with acting, directing, television, and radio.

East Asian Languages & Cultures: The East Asian collections librarian selects plays in East Asian languages and in English translation, and literary criticism on East Asian and Asian-American drama. The theatre collections librarian may also select East Asian and Asian-American plays in English translation, as well as materials on play production, acting, costumes, sets, and directing.

English and American Studies: The English collections librarian selects literary criticism on drama in English-speaking countries, and on writing for stage and screen. The theatre collections librarian selects materials on play production, acting, costumes, sets, and directing. Both select plays. The English collections librarian has primary responsibility for materials about and by Shakespeare.

French: The French collections librarian selects plays in French and in English translation, and literary criticism on French drama. The theatre collections librarian may also select French plays in English translation, as well as materials on play production, acting, costumes, sets, and directing.

German: The German collections librarian selects plays in German and in English translation, and literary criticism on German drama. The theatre collections librarian may also select German plays in English translation, as well as materials on play production, acting, costumes, sets, and directing.

Italian: The Italian collections librarian selects plays in Italian and in English translation, and literary criticism on Italian drama. The theatre collections librarian may also select Italian plays in English translation, as well as materials on play production, acting, costumes, sets, and directing.

Music: The Music Librarian has primary responsibility for, but may collaborate with the theatre collections librarian on, works dealing with musical theatre, incidental music to plays, and recordings of sound effects.

Physical Education/PERA: The PERA collections librarian selects works dealing with dance and movement; the theatre collections librarian selects works on stage movement, stage fighting, stage fencing, and other forms of movement involved in play and musical theatre productions.

Religion: The theatre collections librarian has primary responsibility for liturgical drama, but may collaborate with the religion collections librarian.

Russian: The Russian collections librarian selects plays in Slavic languages and in English translation, and literary criticism on Russian drama. The theatre collections librarian may also select Russian plays in English translation, as well as materials on play production, acting, costumes, sets, and directing.

Sociology: The theatre subject special selects materials on acting and directing in television, radio, and other broadcast media. The sociology collections librarian has primary responsibility for broader, sociological aspects of television, radio, and other broadcast media, and may collaborate with the cinema and media collections librarian as well.

Spanish and Latin American Studies: The Spanish collections librarian selects plays in Spanish and in English translation, and literary criticism on Spanish and Latin American drama. The theatre collections librarian may also select Spanish-language plays in English translation, as well as materials on play production, acting, costumes, sets, and directing.

Women's & Gender Studies: The theatre collections librarian has primary responsibility, but may collaborate with the women's studies collections librarian, on works by and about women playwrights, actors, and directors.

    Other resources

    An online collection of plays, Asian American Drama, is available through a library subscription. The Shakespeare House contains a small collection of Shakespeare's plays. A small number of rare materials are located in Special Collections, Clapp Library.