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.
  • Now includes streaming media: filmed live performances from Shakespeare's Globe and professional audio recordings from L.A Theatre Works.
Expanding collections:

The original Drama Online core collection features 1200 titles from the pre-eminent theatre lists from Bloomsbury's Methuen Drama and Arden Shakespeare imprints, as well as and Faber and Faber Ltd. Production photos from the Victoria and Albert Museum Performance Archive and The American Shakespeare Center are also included. 

350 Audio plays from L.A. Theatre Works and 350 modern plays from Nick Hern Books have now been added and are available for trial and purchase.

The platform now also includes video with 21 filmed theatrical performances from Shakespeare's Globe on Screen, 4 early modern drama performances from Stage on Screen, Maxine Peake's Hamlet and a six-hour acting masterclass with renowned Shakespeare acting coach, Patsy Rodenburg will be streamed through the site. 

Contact your local sales rep for information about collection trials and pricing.

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. To see what is currently in the collection visit the Plays listing page or the Playwrights & Practitioners page. Or visit the Content List Page for an overview of Collections.

New collections

Playwrights Canada Press 

The Playwrights Canada Press collection features over 170 plays from established and emerging Canadian playwrights. It includes plays from notable and award-winning authors such as Daniel MacIvor, Hannah Moscovitch, Colleen Murphy, Yvette Nolan, Donna-Michelle St. Bernard, Jordan Tannahill, and Judith Thompson. Highlighted titles include Lion in the Streets, East of Berlin, The Monument, White Biting Dog, Bone Cage, and Almighty Voice and His Wife.

Playwrights Canada Press titles are taught in university and college drama and English courses, as well as in high-school classrooms across Canada, the US, and internationally.  Their works have been produced to great acclaim on stage and have won a number of prestigious awards over the years including, the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama, the Windham-Campbell Prize, and the Siminovitch Prize.

Aurora Metro Books

With over 120 plays, the Aurora Metro Books collection offers a wide-ranging and highly contemporary list of new drama with collections of women’s drama, international drama and drama by black and Asian writers. Playwrights include Germaine Greer, Roy Williams, Benjamin Zephaniah, Meera Syal, Jean-Claude Carriere, Klaus Mann, Ariane Mnouchkine, Timberlake Wertenbaker, April de Angelis, Judith Herzberg, Hella Haasse, Nawal el Sadaawi, Winsome Pinnock, Beverley Naidoo, Dacia Mariani, Gabrielle Preissova, Enid Bagnold, Githa Sowerby, Aphra Behn, and Elisabeth Robins.  The plays cover a broad range of topical subjects including the Arab-Israeli conflict, homophobia, political corruption, Muslim identity, global financial crisis, being an immigrant, war in Bosnia, social media, Iran, Yugoslavia, Africa, and refugees.

Highlights of the collection include:

The Hollow Crown Series 1 & 2

The Hollow Crown brings together Shakespeare’s history plays featuring a star-studded cast including Benedict Cumberbatch, David Tennant, Ben Whishaw, Jeremy Irons, Judi Dench, Hugh Bonneville and Tom Hiddleston. These films are woven with the finest of Shakespeare's poetry and are filmed in the architecture and landscape of the period.

The Hollow Crown Series 1 brings together four filmed adaptations of Shakespeare's History Plays - Richard II, Henry IV parts 1 and 2, and Henry V. Starting in the year 1399, this continuous story of monarchy follows events during sixteen years of dynastic and political power play. Kings, with their families and followers, are threatened by rebellion and conflict. The story takes us from the Royal Court at Westminster to battlefields in England and France..

The Hollow Crown Series 2: The Wars of the Roses, featuring Henry VI in two parts and Richard III, tells the story of an exceptionally turbulent period in British history that acutely resonates with the political events of today. These exhilarating and emotionally charged films feature some of Shakespeare’s most eloquent and powerful language.

BBC Drama Films

This collection features stunning film adaptations of classic and contemporary plays from Sophocles and Shakespeare, to Oscar Wilde, Henrik Ibsen, August Strindberg, Bernard Shaw and contemporary writers, Michael Frayn and Joe Penhall.

Content highlights include:

  • William Shakespeare’s, King Lear.  Ian Holm stars in the title role of this award-winning film version of Richard Eyre’s National Theatre production.
  • Henrik Ibsen’s, A Doll’s House, starring Juliet Stevenson, Trevor Eve, Geraldine James, Patrick Malahide and David Calder. “This new, pointedly ideological translation by Joan Tinsdale is both sharp and felicitous…Ibsen is served brilliantly” - New York Times
  • Michael Frayn’s, Copenhagen. A stylish screen adaptation of the award-winning play starring Stephen Rea, Daniel Craig and Francesca Annis.
  • Sophocles’ Antigone, translated by Don Taylor – this story of one sister’s loyalty to both her brothers is one of the most consistently popular plays in the history of drama.
  • Joe Penhall’s, Blue/Orange. An incendiary tale of race, madness and struggle for power. This adaptation of Joe Penhall’s award-winning play retains the music, lighting and sound team from the original stage production, which premiered in 2000.
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 350 audio recordings of thought provoking drama from 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.

The Nick Hern Books Collection

Another groundbreaking collection of almost 400 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 Jez 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.

Register with your local sales team member for information on pricing and trialling.

New Video Collections: 

  • Shakespeare’s Globe on Screen film Collection. 
A collection of twenty one stunning Shakespeare’s Globe stage productions representing over 55 hours of content. Recorded live on the Globe stage in high definition and surround sound, the films feature critically acclaimed performances from leading actors including Mark Rylance, Stephen Fry, and Roger Allam’s Olivier award-winning role as Falstaff in Henry IV. The collection will be updated with future productions.
View title list.
Link to download Adobe Acrobat Reader

  • Shakespeare and Early Modern Video Collection including:
Stage on Screen’s filmed theatre productions of key set drama literature texts. Includes four critically acclaimed and visually stunning stage productions by Stage on Screen: The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster, Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe, School for Scandal by Richard Brinsley Sheridan and Volpone by Ben Jonson. Each film is accompanied by filmed interviews with cast and crew, comprising around 15 hours of content in total. In addition there are costume designs, productions stills, and study guides, as well as background on the play and production.
View title list.Link to download Adobe Acrobat Reader

the Film. 
Hamlet is Shakespeare’s most iconic work and is the ultimate story of loyalty, love, betrayal, murder and madness. Hamlet, consumed by despair, struggles to exact revenge for his father’s murder, with devastating consequences. This stripped-back, fast-paced version with moments of humour is a captivating production that re-balances gender casting. BAFTA-nominated actor
Maxine Peake’s
Hamlet is a female character who takes on a male mantle, a fierce and textured Hamlet who imbues the role with anger, indignation and purpose. There is further gender-blind casting with a female Polonius (Polonia), Rosencrantz and female gravediggers. 

Shakespeare in the Present. 
Filmed on the stages of Michael Howard Studios in New York and The Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, this video brings you Patsy' Rodenburg’s unique approach to voice and acting through the work of history's greatest playwright. The 6 hours masterclass allows users to explore Patsy's highly sought-after techniques and exercises in Movement, Speech, Body and Vocal Warmup. In addition, Patsy works one-on-one with actors performing speeches from Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth, King Lear, and many more. Watch Patsy's techniques come to life through renowned actors Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love, Elizabeth), Lynn Cohen (Munich, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), Jay O. Sanders (Revolutionary Road, Green Lantern), and others.

6 hours of footage:

    • Presents powerful physical and vocal warm-ups for actors of all levels
    • Contains detailed, one-on-one analysis of Shakespeare's most famous monologues,
    • Features hours of private coaching with actors of various skill levels, from Shakespeare beginners to established film and television performers

Contact us for a trial or price quote »

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 growing 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, shedding 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
  • Experience the magic of live performance through filmed productions
  • Listen to professional audio recordings of plays
  • 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, and username and password for remote users
  • COUNTER compliant usage statistics and library branding
  • MARC21 records can be downloaded here
  • 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, East 15 Acting School, University of Essex

Drama Online is one of the best expressions to date of digital literary studies. What a terrific resource this is 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 Research and Knowledge, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

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. 
Rachel White, Information Consultant, Royal Holloway, University of London

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.
Phillip Weaver, Head of BA Acting, East 15 Acting School, University of Essex

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.
Professor Jeff Janisheski, Department Chair, Theatre Arts, California State University Long Beach

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, Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA)

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 thousands of plays and reference works, Drama Online has become the essential site for all theatre and performance-related materials.
Professor Geoffrey Colman, Head of Acting, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

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

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

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, Head of Acting, Professor of Drama, UC, Irvine

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