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Citation Guide- MLA: Citation for Drama

Essential information to become a successful "citer"

Citation for dramatic works and other sources connected to theatre and performance is very similar to general website or book citation.  In both instances you are looking for some or all of the following:

Author.                   This could be the playwright.

Title of Source.

The title of the work you are citing. 

When a work that is normally italicized, like a novel or a play, is contained in a larger work (like a collection of plays) both the title of the play and the title of the anthology it is found in are written in italics.

Title of Container, 

This would be the name of place you found your source, like a collected works/anthology, website, newspaper.

Contributor,

Use this filed if it is relevant or helpful to list contributors like actors who you focus on or who help to identify the work, dance or drama companies that performed the work, directors or conductors

Version,                

Edition

Number.

Volume

Publisher,

 

This could include production company, film studio, or distributor, for a piece of music this could be the music label.

Publication date,

This could include performance date of live events.

Location.

Page number(s), URL, Venue of live event
Accessed Date. For online material please include the date you accessed the resource, e.g. Accessed 10 Oct. 2020.

 

Recommended Citation Generators

NoodleTools and the OSLIS Citation Maker are strongly recommended because they has source templates for images, audio recordings, video recordings, and live performances - all of which may be relevant to a drama student.  For training in either tool please contact the Librarian.  NoodleTools support is also available here.

 

Works Cited

Here are examples of citations of common drama resources:

Material Type         Works Cited List
Play                         

Family Name, First Name. Title. Other Contributors (e.g. Editors), Version (i.e. edition if relevant). Publisher, Date.

 

Works Cited Example:

O'Neill, Eugene. The Iceman Cometh. Edited by William Davies King, critical edition, Yale University Press, 2020.

 

Single play from a collection 

Family Name, First Name. Title of Play.  Title of Works. Other Contributors (e.g. editors). Publisher, Date, Page Numbers.

 

Works Cited Example:

Beckett, Samuel. Waiting for Godot. The Complete Dramatic Works of Samuel Becket, edited by Dougald McMillan and James Knowlson, Faber and Faber, 2006, pp. 7-88.

 

Single play from an anthology 

Family Name, First Name. Title of Play.  Title of Works. Other Contributors (e.g. editors). Publisher, Date, Page Numbers.

 

Works Cited Example:

Kyd, Thomas. The Spanish TragedyRenaissance Drama: An Anthology of Plays and Entertainments, edited by Arthur F. Kinny, 2nd edition, Blackwell Publishing, 2015, pp. 143-192.

 

Live performance    

Family Name, First Name. Title of Performance. Performance series (if relevant), other contributors (e.g. director, choreographer), Production Company, Date of Live Event. Venue, City (if not part of venue name).

 

Works Cited Example:

Shakespeare, William. The Merchant of Venice. Directed by Abigail Graham, Shakespeare's Globe, 6 Feb. 2022, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, London.

 

Live performance with focus on a particular person, e.g. director  

Family Name, First Name, Role. TitlePerformance series (if relevant).  By First Name Family Name, performances by ..., Production Company, Date of Live Event, Venue, City (if not part of venue name).

 

Works Cited Example:

Graham, Abigail, director. The Merchant of Venice. By William Shakespeare, Shakespeare's Globe, 6 Feb. 2022, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, London.

Live performance

(School Production)  

 

Use "quotation marks" for the play title instead of italics if the play is unpublished, i.e. if it is your one play or the play of a peer.

 

Family Name, First Name. Title of Performance. Performance series (if relevant), other contributors (e.g. director, choreographer), Production Company, Date of Live Event. Venue (anonymized for examination submission).

 

Works Cited Example:

Stein, Gertrude. Ladies Voices. CSC Theatre Week, directed by Ilinca Todorut, Theatre Arts Department, 12 Nov. 2020, Candidate's School.

Film or Movie



Title. Directed by First Name Family Name, performances by (list names if appropriate for your work), Film Studio/ Distributor, Date.

 

Works Cited Example:

Avengers: Infinity War. Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, performances by Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, and Mark Ruffalo, Marvel Studios, 2018.

 

TV episode (online streaming service e.g. Netflix, Google Play, Hulu)

"Episode Title." Series, season, episode number, Production Company, date of release, Streaming Service, URL. Accessed Date.

 

Works Cited Example:

"Chapter Two: Trick or Treat,Freak." Stranger Things, season 2, episode 2, 21 Laps Entertainment, Oct. 27 2017, Netflix, https://www.netflix.com/watch/80144891?t92959b50ed5bc8%2Cf92c0e8. Accessed 14 Nov. 2020.

 

YouTube

Family Name, First Name. "Title." YouTube, uploaded by First Name Family Name, Date, URL Accessed Date.

 

Works Cited Example:

Dhol Foundation. "Bhangra Chips." YouTube, uploaded by Johnny Kalsi, 2 Nov. 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=52Pz29R7DqQ.  Accessed 6 Nov. 2020. 

 

Theatre program

Program for Full Name Title of Work  at Theatre Name, Location. Program publisher, publication date.

 

Works Cited Example:

Program for Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House at the Apollo Theatre, London.  Dramarama, 2020.

 

or... if you want to cite a particular contribution to a program:

 

Nguyen, Chi. "Nora's Escape." Program for Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House at the Apollo Theatre, London.  Dramarama, 2020 pp. 2-4.

 

 

Images and Visuals

 

 

 

 

Only include images in your work if necessary for your argument and not as decoration.

 

All visuals inserted into a piece of work (excepting tables and musical examples) need to have a figure citation.

 

A figure citation includes the label 'Fig.', a number (the first image is Fig. 1, the second is Fig. 2, and so on), the image caption (Author, Title, Date) and source information.

 

For the caption, if you do not have the image creator's name or the date for the image then do not include this information.  If you do not have a title for the image then give it a descriptive title yourself.  

 

You have the option to include the full source information in the figure citation.  This is essentially the same as the works cited list entry, the only difference being the creator's name (if there is one) is written 'Personal Name Family Name' instead of the works cited version which will be 'Family Name, Personal Name', e.g.

Fig. 1. Nga Nguyen. A Vietnamese Interpretation of Macbeth. 2013. Shakespeare in Vietnam, shakespeareinvietnam.com.  Accessed 12 Nov 2020. 

 

Works Cited

Nguyen, Nga. A Vietnamese Interpretation of Macbeth. 2013. Shakespeare in Vietnam, shakespeareinvietnam.com.  Accessed 12 Nov 2020. 

 

If you choose to include partial source information this should always be sufficient to clearly link the figure caption to the works cited list entry, e.g.

 

Fig. 1. Nga Nguyen, A Vietnamese Interpretation of Macbeth, 2013

 

Works Cited

Nguyen, Nga. A Vietnamese Interpretation of Macbeth. 2013. Shakespeare in Vietnam, shakespeareinvietnam.com.  Accessed 12 Nov 2020. 

 

The examples below do not include further examples of figure citations with full source included. If you would like further examples or explanation about image citation please look at the more detailed instructions for citing images in this LibGuide.

 

Image from a website 

(no known author)

Use this option if the image is not part of a larger article or webpage (see this example).  

 

Artist/ Photographer Name. Work Title or Description.  Date of creation. Title of Website, Website Publisher (if different from website name), Date, URL. Accessed on.  

 

Judy Dench Photograph

Fig. 1. Judy Dench and Ian McKellen in RSC Macbeth, 1976

 

Works Cited Example:

Judy Dench and Ian McKellen in RSC Macbeth. 1976. Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, collections.shakespeare.org.uk/search/rsc-performances/mac197609.  Accessed 12 Nov 2020. 

 

Image from a webpage or web article (author known)

 

OPTION 1: Image details included in full citation

 

NOTE: If the image is in a webpage or web article you have two choices. One option is to create a full image citation.  The best tool for this is the OSLIS Citation generator (if you use NoodleTools image option please add the article details manually for a complete citation). Example below.  

 

Artist/ Photographer Name.  Work Title or Description.  Date of creation.  "Title of Webpage (if relevant)" by Author of webpage/ web article. Title of Website, Website Publisher (if different from website name), Date, URL. Accessed on.  

 

Sir Ian McKeller and Dame Judy Dench Photograph

Fig. 2. Rex Features, Judy Dench and Sir Ian McKellen In Macbeth1976

 

Works Cited Example:

Rex Features. Judy Dench and Sir Ian McKellen In Macbeth. 1976.  "Judy Dench: I did Bond Films to Draw Movie Fans to Theatre" by Matt Truman. The Guardian, 14 Oct 2013, www.theguardian.com/stage/2013/oct/14/judi-dench-bond-films-theatre.  Accessed 10 Nov. 2020.

 

Image from a webpage or web article (author known)

 

OPTION 2: Image details then cite the article/webpage separately

 

NOTE: MLA Style Center says when citing an image from within a larger body of work like a website article, it is generally sufficient to refer to the image in your text then key the reference to a works-cited-list entry for the article.  See the example below.

 

Author of webpage/ web article (if relevant).  "Title of Webpage (if relevant)."  Title of Website, Website Publisher (if different from website name), Date, URL. Accessed on.  

 

Sir Ian McKeller and Dame Judy Dench Photograph

Fig. 2. Rex Features, Judy Dench and Sir Ian McKellen In Macbeth1976 (Trueman)

 

Works Cited Example:

Trueman, Matt. "Judi Dench: I did Bond Films to Draw Movie Fans to Theatre." The Guardian, 14 Oct 2013, www.theguardian.com/stage/2013/oct/14/judi-dench-bond-films-theatre.  Accessed 10 Nov. 2020.

Screenshot/ Still frame from a YouTube or online video

 

 

Provide the full video citation in the 'Works Cited' list.

For the figure citation include the artist/contributor [if relevant], title, and time-stamp for the still frame - make sure this information links directly to the video citation.

 

Macbeth Still Frame Example

Fig. 3. Still from Macbeth (01:23:08)

 

Works Cited Example:

Macbeth. Directed by Philip Casson, Trevor Nunn's Royal Shakespeare Company, 1979. YouTube, uploaded by Shakespeare Network, 4 Mar. 2021, www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgEshHhnLqU. Accessed 11 Jan. 2022.

 

     
Screenshot/ Still frame from a YouTube or online video - with focus on a particular person, e.g. Director

Provide the full video citation in the 'Works Cited' list. 

For the figure citation include the artist/contributor [if relevant], title, and time-stamp for the still frame - make sure this information links directly to the video citation.

 

Still from Hamlet

Fig. 4. Still from Olivier, Hamlet (01:21:35)

 

Works Cited Example:

Olivier, Laurence, director. Hamlet. Two Cities, 1948. YouTube, uploaded by Epics Old Movies, 10 Dec. 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNP_2Omaciw. Accessed 11 Jan. 2022.

Quoting Dialogue 

  • Use a colon to separate your argument and the dialogue.  
  • Start the dialogue on its own separate line
  • Start the dialogue with the speakers name in CAPITALS followed by a period.
  • Indent the first line of dialogue 1/2 an inch from the left margin
  • All following lines of dialogue from that character should have additional indention
  • Start a new line when a new person speaks.

Here is an example from the MLA Handbook (80):

Marguerite Duras’s screenplay for Hiroshima mon amour suggests at the outset the profound difference between observation and experience: ​

        HE. You saw nothing in Hiroshima. Nothing. . . . ​

        SHE. I saw everything. Everything. . . . The hospital, for instance,

                I saw it. I’m sure I did. There is a hospital in Hiroshima. How  

                could I help seeing it? . . . ​

        HE. You did not see the hospital in Hiroshima. You saw nothing. (15-17)

 

In-Text Citation for... Plays

There are special rules for making in-text citations for plays.  This is because you want to make it as easy as possible for your reader to look up your in-text citations if they want to.

 

If your play has line numbers

Some of the older plays (like the works of Shakespeare) use line numbers.  If you are using a play that has line numbers use these instead of page numbers.  Also include the act and scene information, separate each with a period (act.scene.line).

The following example is from Hamlet, act two, scene two, lines 371-372.  The in-text citation would be formatted like this:

 

The changeability of Hamlet's 'madness' is reflected when he says, "I am but mad north-north-west.  When the / wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw" (Shakespeare, 2.2.371-372).

 

If your play does not have line numbers

Many modern plays do not have line numbers.  When this happens please give the page number first, add a semicolon, and then give any other identifying information.

The following example is from The Crucible, page 109, act 3.  The in-text citation would be formatted like this:

 

The irony in this example is that in copying and repeating back Mary Warren's words the girls are disempowering Mary and gaining an upper hand over the court proceedings, as they repeat "I have no power" (Miller 109; act 3) they are actually demonstrating the power of mimicry. 

 

If your play is in verse

Some plays, such as works by Shakespeare, deliver dialogue in verse form.  In such instances please indicate the line breaks within your in-text citation by using the forward slash / symbol.  For example:

 

The start of the play sees Romeo seemingly 'in love' with Rosaline, the niece of a Capulet.  This an early foreshadowing of the later, deeper, affection for Juliet - and the subsequent conflicts between personal affection and the burden of familial loyalty: “Here’s much to do with hate, but more with love: / Why, then, O brawling love! O loving hate!” (Shakespeare, 1.1.169-170).

 

In-Text Citation for... Time-based media 

With time-based media like films, digital recordings, YouTube clips, and television, cite the time, or range of times for the clip or still image you are referencing in your works.  Cite the time using the following format (Title Hours:Minutes:Seconds). Like a page number, this helps to direct your reader to the exact place you are referring to.

For example:

 

The Umbrella Academy's reliance on a strong and popular soundtrack to set tone and aid characterization is established in the very first episode as the siblings dance to the same song, yet each still separated by talent, physical distance, and individual style ("We Only See Each Other at Weddings and Funerals" 00:30:30-00:32:55).

 

 

Images for Theatre Arts

Please refer to the MLA8 LibGuide for information about citing images.  

Translations

If you think that the reader will not understand a quote in the original language you can provide a translation.  The translation usually follows the original quote, but you can change this order if you think this will be clearer for the reader.  If the translation is your own please show this by inserting "my trans." in the parenthetical citation.

For example, for a translation included in the main body of a work:

Sévigné responds to praise of her much admired letters by acknowledging that “there is nothing stiff about them” (“pour figées, elles ne le sont pas”; my trans.; 489).

or

Sévigné responds to praise of her much admired letters by acknowledging that “there is nothing stiff about them” ‘pour figées, elles ne le sont pas’ (my trans.; 489).

 

Examples from MLA Handbook (p.90)

 

"Cite My Sources: MLA." Oregon School Library Information System, secondary.oslis.org/cite-sources/mla. Accessed 15 Nov. 2020. 

"How do I cite a photo or other image reproduced in a website article?" MLA Style Center, 14 Mar. 2019, style.mla.org/citing-images-from-web-sites/. Accessed 4 March 2022.

“How Do I Cite a Screenshot or Frame Capture in a Caption and in My Works-Cited List?” MLA Style Center, 16 May 2018, https://style.mla.org/citing-screenshots-frame-captures/. Accessed 11 Jan. 2022.

MLA Handbook. 8th ed., Kindle, Modern Language Association of America, 2016.

The MLA Style Center: Writing Resources from the Modern Language Association. Modern Language Association, 2020, style.mla.org. Accessed 15 Nov. 2020.

The Purdue OWL Family of Sites. The Writing Lab and OWL at Purdue and Purdue U, 2020, owl.purdue.edu/index.html. Accessed 15 Nov. 2020.