Performance Design Archive Online | Alexander Street
Performance Design Archive Online

Performance Design Archive Online

Theatre students and researchers can now truly see “behind the scenes” of the world’s greatest dramatic performances. Performance Design Archive Online is the first comprehensive, international collection that covers all aspects of theater production design, from the 17th century through to the present day, including, scenic and set design, lighting design, sound design, costume design, makeup, and more.

Performance Design Archive Online features 100,000 pages of primary and secondary resources, including sketches, photographs, technical drawings, monographs, articles, and dissertations. Primary resources include never-before-published designs and other crucial research material for diving deep into the history.  Secondary material, with titles such as Making Stage Props and Starting Your Career as a Theatrical Designer, offer practical support for the business of creating designs in professional applications.  The pairing of primary and secondary material allows for students at all levels to find content to suit their needs.

A special selection of videos commissioned by Alexander Street contains introductory and in-depth coverage of all topics related to contemporary design and scenography. Videos offer students instruction and demonstrations from design faculty at the University of California, Irvine: Jaymi Lee Smith, Lonnie Alcaraz, Vincent Olivieri, Dipak Gupta, and Marcy Froehlich. 
Featured Content Partners and Archives:

  • A partnership with USITT (The United States Institute for Theatre Technology) brings: over a dozen essential biographies, such as
    The Designs of Ming Cho Lee; practical teaching resources, such as Practical Projects for Teaching Lighting Design: A Compendium; and the complete run of TD&T (Theatre Design & Technology), a journal that covers “scenography, architecture, technology, and all aspects of the entertainment design and technology world.”
  • Over five-hundred designs from the Grieve Family Collection of Theatre Designs at the University of London: Senate House Library
  • Designs from Bridgeman Images, including Léon Bakst, Inigo Jones, Charles Ricketts, and Sebastiano Serlio as well as design examples from the English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Russian, and Spanish schools of design. ​
  • Individual Designer Archives: 
    • Jess Goldstein Personal Papers (Tony-Award winning costume designer) 
    • Dierdre Clancy Personal Papers (Olivier and BAFTA-Award winning costume designer) 
    • Shirley Prendergast Personal Papers (first black female lighting designer on Broadway) 
    • Ralph Funicello Personal Papers 
    • Rob Eastman-Mullins Personal Papers 
    • Mahdi Troudi Personal Papers 
    • Kathy Perkins Personal Papers 

Publishing Partners

  • Cambridge University Press  
    • The Cambridge Introduction to Scenography 
  • Crowood Press (Alexander Street exclusive) 
    • Stage Design: A Practical Guide 
    •  Stage Lighting Design: A Practical Guide 
  • Allworth Press (Alexander Street exclusive) 
    • Starting Your Career as a Theatrical Designer 
    • The Business of Theatrical Design 
  • Dover Publications 
    • Historic American Costumes and How to Make Them 
    • Historic English Costumes and How to Make Them

Advisory Board

This collection is curated with assistance from an advisory board of respected scholars in the field.

  • Arnold Aronson, Professor and Theatre Historian, Columbia University
  • Thea Brejzek, Professor of Scenography, University of Technology Sydney
  • Christopher Caldwell, Humanities Services Librarian, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Jane Collins, Professor of Theatre and Performance, University of the Arts London
  • Sophie Jump, Associate Lecturer of Scenography, University of the Arts London
  • Kathy Perkins, Professor of Lighting Design, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Sarah Pickett, Assistant Professor of Sound Design, Carnegie Mellon University


Performance Design Archive Online is a key component of the Theatre Performance and Design Collection, which includes: