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Scholarly Research in Theatre Design @ Pitt: Getting Started

A Resource Guide for Theatre Design Students

An Ethos of Fearlessness

"Questioning is one of the keys to creativity. To analyze effectively, it is necessary to shed fear- fear of criticism, fear of making mistakes, fear of seeming less than brilliant, fear of being thought a fool or somehow different. Fear inhibits thinking and makes us afraid to ask questions."

Gillette, Michael J. Theatrical Design and Production. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2013.

Related Guides

The Library & the Design Process


"Designers have to study the historical background of each production they design. This type of research involves online searches and perusing the library for books, catalogs, paintings, periodicals, and other sources of information about the era." (Gillette, 26)


Below are some call number ranges of interest for theatre research.


  • Literature (General). Drama: PN1600-3307 
    • Drama. History: PN 1720-1861
    • Dramatic representation. The Theater: PN2000-3307 

By time period: PN2131-2193

  • Collections of General Literature. Drama: PN6110.5-6120


The following areas of literature also have call number ranges for drama history and criticism and drama collections. You will also find plays and criticism in the subject area for individual authors. The call number areas for individual authors are broken down by time period and then alphabetical by author:

  • Romance Literatures: PQ 

French Literature 

  • Drama History and Criticism: PQ500-591
  • Drama Collections: PQ1211-1241

Italian Literature 

  • Drama History and Criticism: PQ4133-4160
  • Drama Collections: PQ4227-4245

Spanish Literature 

  • Drama History and Criticism: PQ6098.7-6129
  • Drama Collections: PQ6217-6241
  • English Literature: PR 
    • Drama History and Criticism: PR621-739
    • Drama Collections: PR1241-1273
  • American Literature: PS 
    • Drama History and Criticism: PS330-352
    • Drama Collections: PS623-635
  • German Literature: PT 
    • Drama History and Criticism: PT605-709
    • Drama Collections: PT1251-1299

Related Areas

The related areas below are useful in helping to understand the historical context and design elements appropriate for that context:

  • Music: M 
    • Musical Theater: MT955-956
  • Fine Arts: N 
    • History of Art: N5300-7418 (arranged by time periods and movements, followed by countries arranged by time period then movements)
    • Special Subjects of Art: N7570-8266 
      • Portraits: N7575-7624 
      • Humans in art: N7625.5-7649.A-.Z
      • Other special subjects: N8217-8266
    • Architecture: NA
    • Decorative Arts: NK 
      • Interior Decoration. House Decoration: NK1700-3505

For additional information see Library of Congress Classification Outline.

Portions of this list were compiled by Williams College Libraries

Liaison Librarian and Curtis Theatre Collection Curator

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William Daw
340 Hillman Library
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Department of Theatre Arts

Department of Theatre Arts

1617 Cathedral of Learning

4200 Fifth Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Box Office: 412-624-7529

Department Office: 412-624-6568