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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Theatre Research Resources

A guide to help students researching topics in theatre.


You may need to search for historical images in the course of your research. Whether you're looking for historical images of costumes, pictures of actors, or images to help you research set and production design, we have collected several recommendations below and divided them by context.

For a more exhaustive list of resources than we've collected on this page, check out the Main Library's guide on Finding Images and Video.

If you're hoping to find video material, check out our page on streaming media in the performing arts

Finding Historical Images

The databases and digital hubs linked below allow you to search the digital collections of many cultural institutions, libraries, and museums at once!

For a more exhaustive list of image resources for costume history and design, check out the Costume Images & Digital Collections page from our Costume Design LibGuide. 

Digital Collections

We have highlighted a few libraries and museums below that have particularly rich digitized collections of theatre photographs and material freely available online. For a more complete list, of sources to check out the list of Digital Collections in the Performing Arts compiled by Eric Colleary, theatre historian and curator at the Harry Ransom Center.