Digital Resources of the Week: Focus on Shakespeare

Costumes, props, and stage scenery make theater come alive, providing character detail and environment. The plays of Shakespeare have been internationally produced for centuries and no two performances are ever alike!

Designing Shakespeare was developed to allow for comparisons between productions. Through this audio-visual database, you can view several productions of the same play, by the same director, or by the same theater company.

Image from A Midsummer Nights Dream, Talbot/Farnsworth, New Shakespeare Company, May 1991
Image from A Midsummer Nights Dream, Talbot/Farnsworth, New Shakespeare Company, May 1991

Similarly, The Cleveland Press Shakespeare Photographs from the Cleveland State University Library is a collection of photographs from Shakespeare productions not only on stage, but also film, television, opera and ballet. The portraits of the actors in character make this an excellent database for costume design. Search by title for your favorite play!

Two other open-access databases take the imagery of Shakespeare away from the theater. The Folger Shakespeare Library’s Digital Image Collection includes books, theater memorabilia, costumes, and other artwork. Emory University’s Shakespeare Illustrated explores artwork derived from the plays. You can search by play title or by artist.

David Scott's Puck Fleeing from the Dawn from 1837
David Scott's Puck Fleeing from the Dawn from 1837

To learn more about the imagery of Shakespeare, check out the UArts Libraries‘ collection! Books such as Looking at Shakespeare: A Visual History of Twentieth-Century Performance by Dennis Kennedy and Shakespeare in Art by Jane Martineau are excellent resources.

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