Scripts at Theatre Museum

The Theatre Museum was given copies of over two thousand different scripts that were presented in opera houses and tents between the 1850s and the 1960s over the years. These have been sorted and placed in acid-free boxes and are available for study. In 2012 volunteers began to enter detailed information about these scripts into a searchable database but that project will not be completed in the near future.

In order for researchers to know now what scripts are available for study, a listing has been prepared and added to the website. This listing includes titles and, when available, author(s) names. Not all of the scripts give author(s) names. Some scripts have more than one author. Many of the scripts have more than one title. All the information available has been noted.

A number of people have done research on scripts, their titles, and their authorship. That background has been added to our listing. When their data was not found on a script, a question mark has been placed after that information. The sources used include the following: The Sherman Theatre Collection, Play Series (index) housed at the Morris Library Special Collections, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois; Plays of Repertoire and Stock 1920-1930 by William Slout; Drama Cyclopedia by Robert L. Sherman, copyrighted 1944; a listing prepared by Michael Kramme that appeared in Theatre History Studies; copies of the latter three are housed at the Theatre Museum.

Scripts can be made available for researchers to study, preferably on the premises. They can be copied when necessary. The Museum does not have the authority to grant production rights. Many of the scripts may still be under copyright. It is the researcher’s responsibility to determine this and then to follow the proper procedures. The Theatre Museum assumes no responsibility other than providing a copy of a script as it exists in its library.

You can now search our database online! Enter either an author’s name or a title of a script in the search box and see your results below.