Reading list

The theatre student’s (summer or whenever) reading list


Hart, Moss. Act One.

Jones, Robert Edmond. The Dramatic Imagination.

Stanislavksky, Konstantin. My Life in Art.


Adler, Stella. The Technique of Acting.

Barton, John. Playing Shakespeare.

Boleslavsky, Richard. Acting: The First Six Lessons.

Chekhov, Michael. To the Actor: On the Technique of Acting.

Cole, Toby and Helen Krich Chinoy. Actors on Acting.

Hagen, Uta. Respect for Acting.

McGaw, Charles. Acting is Believing.

Meisner, Sanford and Dennis Longwell. Sanford Meisner on Acting.

Spolin, Viola. Improvisation for the Theatre.

Stanislavksky, Konstantin. An Actor Prepares.

Stanislavksky, Konstantin. Building a Character.

Stanislavksky, Konstantin. Creating a Role.

Turner, J. Clifford. Voice and Speech for the Theatre.


Clurman, Harold. On Directing.

Cole, Toby and Helen Krich Chinoy. Directors on Directing.


Egri, Lajos. The Art of Dramatic Writing.

Field, Syd. The Foundations of Screenwriting.

Scenery, lighting, costumes, makeup

Barton, Lucy. Historical Costume for the Stage.

Corson, Richard. Stage Makeup.

Craig, Edward Gordon. On the Art of the Theatre.

Palmer, Richard H. The Aesthetics of Stage Lighting Design.

Rosenthal, Jean. The Magic of Light.

Russell, Douglas A. Costume History and Style.

Stage Management

Stern, Lawrence. Stage Management.

Theatre management

Langley, Stephen. Jobs in Arts and Media Management.

Langley, Stephen. Producers on Producing.


This is not an inclusive list but it will give you a good background of plays you need to read. For you actors, these are plays you might draw on for monologues. I’m trying to stick with fairly modern works (from Chekhov and Ibsen on) and mostly American playwrights.

Albee, Edward. A Delicate Balance.

Albee, Edward. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

Albee, Edward. The Zoo Story.

Anderson, Maxwell. Mary of Scotland.

Anderson, Maxwell. Elizabeth the Queen.

Beckett, Samuel. Endgame.

Beckett, Samuel. Waiting for Godot.

Brecht, Bertolt. The Caucasian Chalk Circle.

Brecht, Bertolt. Mother Courage.

Chekhov, Anton. The Cherry Orchard.

Chekhov, Anton. Three Sisters.

Connelly, Marc. Green Pastures.

Coward, Noel. Private Lives.

Delaney, Shelagh. A Taste of Honey.

Eliot, T.S. The Cocktail Party.

Eliot, T.S. Murder in the Cathedral.

Fugard, Athol. Master Harold and the Boys.

Genet, Jean. The Balcony.

Glaspell, Susan. Trifles.

Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun.

Hellman, Lillian. The Little Foxes.

Ibsen, Henrik. The Doll’s House.

Ibsen, Henrik. Hedda Gabler.

Inge, William. Bus Stop.

Inge, William. The Dark at the Top of the Stairs.

Inge, William. Picnic.

Ionesco, Eugène. The Bald Soprano.

Ionesco, Eugène. The Lesson.

Ionesco, Eugène. Rhinoceros.

Kushner, Tony. Angels in America.

McCullers, Carson. The Member of the Wedding.

Mamet, David. American Buffalo.

Mamet, David. Glengarry Glen Ross.

Miller, Arthur. The Crucible.

Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman.

Odets, Clifford. The Country Girl.

Odets, Clifford. Golden Boy.

Odets, Clifford. Waiting for Lefty.

O’Neill, Eugene. Ah, Wilderness!

O’Neill, Eugene. The Emperor Jones.

O’Neill, Eugene. The Iceman Cometh.

O’Neill, Eugene. Long Day’s Journey into Night.

O’Neill, Eugene. Mourning Becomes Electra.

Osborne, John. Look Back in Anger.

Pinter, Harold. The Birthday Party.

Pinter, Harold. The Caretaker.

Pirandello, Luigi. Six Characters in Search of an Author.

Rice, Elmer. The Adding Machine.

Rice, Elmer. Street Scene.

Rostand, Edmond. Cyrano de Bergerac.

Sartre, Jean-Paul. No Exit.

Stoppard, Tom.  Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

Wilder, Thornton. Our Town.

Wilder, Thornton. The Skin of Our Teeth.

Williams, Tennessee. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Williams, Tennessee. The Glass Menagerie.

Williams, Tennessee. A Streetcar Named Desire.

Wilson, August. Fences.

Wilson, August. The Piano Lesson.

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