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  1. Overview
  2. New Collections
  3. Theory and Practice
  4. Image Collections
  5. Key Features
  6. Endorsements

Overview: a unique way to study drama.

The award-winning Drama Online introduces new writers alongside the most iconic names in playwriting history, providing contextual and critical background through scholarly works and practical guides.

Our constantly growing collection meets the full range of teaching needs for theatre studies, literature courses and drama schools. From the epic to the monologue; ensemble to one-person plays; comedy to tragedy; the historical to the contemporary; and from the highly political to the profoundly personal, there is plenty to discover.

Our unique Play Tools with Character Grids, Words and Speech graphs and Part Books offer a new way to engage with plays for close study or for performance.

Enjoy access to the finest drama texts:

  • From Aeschylus to the present day.
  • Student editions, scholarly works and first night programme texts.
  • The internationally renowned Arden Shakespeare Series.           
  • Realist works from Ibsen and Chekhov.
  • Major foreign works in translation: Bertolt Brecht, Luigi Pirandello, Eduardo De Filippo, Frank Wedekind and more.
  • Comic masterpieces from Oscar Wilde and Noël Coward.
  • Modern classics from Tom Stoppard, David Mamet, Alan BennettCaryl Churchill, Simon Stephens, Mark Ravenhill, Edward Bond, Alan AyckbournHarold Pinter, Christopher Hampton, Brian Friel, Willy Russell, John Osborne, David Greig, David Harrower, April De Angelis, David Hare, Anthony Neilson, Shelagh Stephenson, David Eldridge and many more.
  • A continually growing collection of the very latest contemporary writers including Polly Stenham, Katori Hall, D.C. Moore, James Graham, Rebecca Lenkiewicz and Lucy Prebble.

The collection features the pre-eminent theatre lists of Methuen Drama, the Arden Shakespeare and Faber and Faber as well as production photos from the Victoria and Albert Museum and The American Shakespeare Center. Forthcoming collections from L.A. Theatre Works (Audio Plays) and the Nick Hern Books Play Collection will be available this year.

Drama Online is developed in partnership by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc and Faber and Faber Ltd. Learn more about our content partners. 

We continue to add content to Drama Online. View the title and author list for the full list of content. To see what is currently in the collection visit the Plays listing page or the Playwrights & Practitioners page.

New collections are on their way!

Register with your local sales team member for information on our two forthcoming collections:

1. Available for trial from May: Audio Plays from L.A. Theatre Works

Who are L.A. Theatre works?
L.A. Theatre Works (LATW) are one of the most important audio theatre companies in America today. LATW carefully records stage productions for listeners producing thought-provoking and compelling audio versions of the highest quality, with leading actors such as Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Martin Sheen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Helen Hunt, John Goodman, Hilary Swank and hundreds of others.

What’s in the collection?
Over 300 audio recordings of thought provoking drama from canonical texts such as Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls, literary classics such as Twelve Angry Men, iconic modern works from the oeuvre of leading American playwrights: Arthur Miller, David Mamet and Eugene O’Neill, Pullitzer Prize-winning titles such as Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers and contemporary works such as Lucy Prebble’s Enron. The collection also includes original LATW docudramas such as Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers.

How will it benefit students?
Audio plays have their own particular quality, allowing the listener to experience the emotional power of the play, deepen their understanding of themes and characters and involve their own imagination while the sound brings the text to life. Instructors can provide examples to students from a vast library and users can move between text and audio versions in one integrated drama platform. Study guides, images and background materials will also be provided.

"Consistently superb work" Los Angeles Times

"..L.A. Theatre Works has proven to be original, exciting and...highly theatrical" American Theatre Magazine

"L.A. Theatre Works is a National Treasure" The Philadelphia Enquirer

"The kids were mesmerized. They didn't want to hear anyone make a sound" High School teacher

Request a title list from your sales team member.

2. Available in Sept: The Nick Hern Books Collection

Another groundbreaking collection of 300 titles from specialist theatre publisher, Nick Hern Books will be available through Drama Online later on this year. The collection will feature important works from Howard BrentonJez ButterworthCaryl ChurchillDavid EdgarHelen Edmundson, Liz Lochhead, Conor McPherson, Rona Munro, Enda Walsh and Nicholas Wright. More recent additions to the list include plays by Mike Bartlett, Alecky Blythe, Alexi Kaye Campbell, Vivienne Franzmann, debbie tucker green, Ella Hickson, Lucy Kirkwood, Bruce Norris, Nina Raine, Jack Thorne and Tom Wells.

Accompanied by theory and practice.

Drama Online offers expert guidance in the form of scholarly notes, annotated texts, critical analysis and contextual information making this an essential study tool that meets the full range of drama teaching needs. Critical interpretations, theatre history surveys and major reference works on authors, movements, practitioners, periods and genres are included alongside performance and practitioner texts, acting and backstage guides. 

  • Detailed encyclopaedic information
  • Overviews of major concepts, topics and issues
  • Surveys of theatre institutions, countries, genres and movements
  • Biographical entries on key performers, playwrights, directors, designers, choreographers and composers
  • Synopses of significant plays
  • Critical works on major playwrights
  • Original works from theatre practitioners
  • Core craft skills: acting, design, directing, lighting etc.
View the list of theory, criticism and practical works for the collection.

With production stills from the V&A and The American Shakespeare Center. 

Drama Online includes over 500 images from the Victoria and Albert Museum's rich archive of production photos, s hedding light on changes in scenography, costume design and performance styles and allowing users to appreciate the ways in which theatre photography has evolved. Learn more.

In partnership with the American Shakespeare Center, we have  a rich and varied collection of images from its many productions of the Shakespeare and early modern canon.  The images can be found on play pages for texts from the Arden Shakespeare and New Mermaids series.

Key Features


  • Search across full text 
  • Filter search results by content type, genre, period, author, setting and theme 
  • Conduct free searches for plays and monologues using cast size and roles filters 
  • View associated works using the Drama Online Related Content function
  • Browse works by playwright or practitioner, genre and period
  • View play descriptions, author biogs and genre guides for free
  • Navigate the user interface simply and intuitively – easily accessible from VLEs
  • Regularly updated with new content: contemporary plays, images and new collections
  • View texts in the Drama Online Reader, an uncluttered e-reading environment 
  • See plays with their original pagination and lineation 
  • Mouse over text to reveal scholarly annotations: commentary and footnotes
  • Hide and reveal table of contents as you wish
  • Conduct searches within the specific text you are reading
  • Sign up for personalisation tools: Bookmarks and Notes
  • Save extracts and make notes against the text, using tags to differentiate between projects
  • Use citation tools to help with essay preparation
  • Save searches and receive emails notifying you when new content is added
  • View information on cast size and gender of roles
  • Find out who to contact for performance rights with Production Enquiry
  • See how and when characters interact with the Play Tools Character Grid
  • Develop a Part Book to view the lines for single characters – use for rehearsal or character analysis
  • View the size of a role with bar charts representing the lines and speeches for each character
  • Theatre Craft books offer advice on staging and performing

For Librarians:

  • Cross referencing via DOI (Digital Object Identifiers) and OpenURLs
  • Industry standard access: unlimited concurrent access via IP recognition, ATHENS/Shibboleth, library cards, and username and password for remote users
  • COUNTER compliant usage statistics and library branding
  • MARC21 records available on request
  • Online help and customer support

What people are saying about Drama Online:

'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, University of Essex, 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. What a terrific resource this will be 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 Learning and Research, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

'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.'
Philip Weaver, Head of BA Acting, University of Essex, UK

'The new Drama Online library website is the next generation of sophisticated online tools for students, actors, researchers, librarians, and lovers of theatre. Take Methuen Drama, Arden Shakespeare, Bloomsbury and Faber, with their extraordinary collections and preeminent scholarship. Combine their resources. Place them into an elegant, intuitive and deep interface. And watch this become the most important bookmark on your browser'.
Professor Rocco Dal Vera, University of Cincinnati

'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.'
Jeff Janisheski, Head of Acting, National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), Sydney, Australia

'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

'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

'With instant search access to quite literally hundreds of plays, and reference works Drama Online is fast becoming the essential site for theatre and performance'.
Geoffrey Colman, Head of Acting, Central School of Speech and Drama

'I have been using the Drama online resource and it is excellent. Not only the ability to read a large number of texts online, but the huge advantage of being able to sort texts according to  period, genre and most importantly cast sizes and male to female ratio. When we are trying to find texts to work on, or look at in terms of production, one of the most difficult, time-consuming and important jobs is to find texts that will give all the students an equal opportunity to learn in practical terms, especially when the male-to-female ratio may be heavily weighted towards female. The ability to refine one’s search so accurately is a huge boon for both the tutors and students. To have multiple playtexts and context and criticism texts on the subject at your fingertips, and to be able to switch between one and the other instantly is a great advantage. It is much more efficient and greatly aids exploration and choice of text.'
Robin Sneller, Acting Tutor, MA Acting and MA/MFA Acting (International), University of Essex, UK

'A great resource to recommend to students for scene study/acting classes/contextual studies research.'
Chris, Head of Programmes, Southend, University of Essex, UK

'I am excited and eager to explore and research this new digital resource. I anticipate using Drama Online regularly'.   Jeffrey Bihr, actor, director, composer, Stanford University Drama

'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

'Thank you for providing the link to access this wonderful resource. It will save hours of trawling through publishers catalogues as far as I am concerned.'
Nick Hall, Head Of Stage Combat, University of Essex, UK

'I particularly look forward to the time saving and cross referencing aspects of the website. I look forward to having this kind of resource at my fingertips and will certainly recommend it to my actors and students in rehearsal and the classroom'. 
Beth McGuire, Assistant Professor, Yale School of Drama 

'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

'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, Professor of Drama, University of California, Irvine

'Drama Online promises to reinvent performance studies for a ground-breaking digital environment'.
T. Mera Moore Lafferty, Lecturer in Theatre Arts and Asian American Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Join Us!

Contact us for information about trials, content and pricing and to be added to our email news list.

Image credits on this page: 1. © Tristram Kenton/Lebrecht Music & Arts, 2. © Graham Brandon, V & A Images.