Skip to Main Content

THTR 200 | The Theatrical Experience | Professor Smith

Overview of Production Research

One aspect of dramaturgy is the research that goes into the theatermaking process. Commonly referred to as production research, this work involves finding information that can be used to explore the many facets of a play: its author, context in our world and the world of the play, production history, critical analysis and interpretation, images and sounds, and sources, influences, and analogues.

Context Research Prompts

Use these questions to guide your research about the context of the play.

  • Why was it written?
  • What was it responding to?
  • What was the historical/political/social climate of the time?
  • How does it fit into the playwright’s career/larger body of work?
  • What was the play asking/proposing at the time?

Production History Research Prompts

Use these questions to guide your research about production history.

  • What is the production history of this play (where and when was it produced)?
  • How was it received? What notable artists have worked on it?
  • What design, casting, staging or producing choices were made?
  • Why were those choices successful/unsuccessful in their time/location?
  • What has contributed to the success/failure of this play in the past?
  • What aesthetic choices elevated/opened up the piece?
  • What aesthetic choices collapsed the piece?


This is an example of a timeline of significant productions of Blood Wedding using Timeline JS by Knight Lab from Northwestern University.