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research resources

This collection features open-source databases, bibliographies, and websites that support theatre research from the 1660s to the 1830s. Special thanks to Mattie Burkert, David O'Shaughnessy, Susan Anthony, David F. Taylor, Emily Friedman, and all who contribute to digital scholarship in the long eighteenth-century.


The London Stage Database presents in a keyword searchable form the data originally published in the 11-volume London Stage, 1660-1800: A Calendar of Plays (1960-68). An essential resource for discovering what was being performed in London’s theatres on any given night between 1660 and 1800.

Director: Mattie Burkert (University of Oregon)


This electronic calendar of performances continues The London Stage on to 1844 by collating the daily advertisements of performances published in The Times, including those at 'illegitimate' venues.

Directors: Michael Burden (University of Oxford); Joe Hicks (University of Aberdeen) 


Researchers of eighteenth-century theatre discuss their new books in engaging, 20-minute interviews.

Interviewer: Lisa Freeman (University of Illinois at Chicago)


This digital resource hosts a selection of manuscripts of plays submitted to the Examiner of Plays, the office established by the Lord Chamberlain in the wake of the Stage Licensing Act of 1737, who had the primary responsibility of safeguarding the morals of theatre audiences. 

Director: David O'Shaughnessy (NUI Galway)

U of I Portrait of Artists Frances Abing

Portraits of Actors, 1720-1920, includes almost 3,500 pictures of actors. Dramatists, theatrical managers, singers and musicians are also included, but the majority are British and American actors who worked between about 1770 and 1893. The images were digitized from the University of Illinois Theatrical Print Collection.

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This site  explores the careers and personal lives of the first "celebrity" actresses who came to the United States in the last decade of eighteenth century and who remained in the US until their deaths.

Director: M. S. Anthony

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For the purposes of concision, this bibliography almost exclusively on a) books rather than journal articles and b) scholarship published since 1950. 

Compiled by: David Taylor (University of Oxford)

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A resource from the British Library that brings together short, introductory essays on various aspects, and works, of Restoration and eighteenth-century theatre.


This website provides a searchable database of newspaper advertisements listing the featured acts at Astley’s Amphitheatre from 1768 to 1833. It takes us back to an era before the circus became synonymous with wild animals and ring-leaders in order to help us learn more about this neglected popular entertainment, early circus, and about the age in which it flourished.

Director: Leith Davis (Simon Fraser University)

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The Hall Collection at the University of Warwick contains approximately 600 English plays mostly from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The plays were used as prompt books by Clara St. Casse, an actress, who travelled with various British touring companies in the 19th century. They would have constituted her "stock in trade" or "theatre library". 

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A digital “aggregator,” 18thConnect gathers together information about and links to the best primary and secondary texts that are available in digital form, either freely available on the Web or available by subscription. It is also a place to join groups, engage in discussion, and crowd source.

Director: Emily Friedman (Auburn University)

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