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IB Theatre - Research Presentation (first assessment 2024): World Theatre Traditions Sources

This guide provides resources for the Research Presentation external assessment task for IB Theatre (first assessment 2024).

IB World Theatre Traditions Topic List

Reference book - Britannica ImageQuestTheatre tradition

A theatre tradition is a theatre practice that has a fixed set of specific performance conventions that have not changed significantly over time.


The IB has provided a prescribed list of theatre traditions for the research presentation, which means that students MUST do their presentations on one of the topics on this list. Look to these pages for possible sources to use in research on the prescribed traditions.

NOTE:  Most of the books listed have links to their catalog records on If a book you want isn't available at your local library, you may be able to borrow it through an interlibrary loan. See the WorldCat and Interlibrary Loan boxes below for more information.

You can also try searching in the online catalogs of Digital Libraries or local Regional Libraries, or in Google Books.


17th Century, French farce, France Barong (or Rangda) dance, Indonesia British pantomime, United Kingdom
Cantonese, Yueju, or Peking opera (Jingju), China Commedia dell’arte, Italy Elizabethan theatre, England
Hun lakhon lek puppetry, Thailand Jatra, Bangladesh Kabuki, Japan
Karagöz shadow puppetry, Turkey Kathakali, India Kecak, Indonesia
Khon dance drama, Thailand Kyōgen farce, Japan Nautanki, India
Noh theatre, Japan Pastorela, Mexico Punch and Judy puppets, United Kingdom
Rakugo “sit down” theatre, Japan Talchum mask dance, Korea Topeng dance, Bali
Victorian melodrama, England Wayang golek puppetry, Indonesia, Malaysia Wayang kulit shadow puppetry, Indonesia, Malaysia
Excerpt from "Research the Tradition", p. 8, Research Presentation, Student Information Booklet, IBDP Theatre, First Assessment 2024, by Kieran Burgess. The booklet is available for download on his website here.


Once you have chosen your tradition from the IB's list, you will need to conduct extensive research into it.

Aim for at least seven sources, including books, articles, and videos of experts performing. Ensure there is solid traditional performance material (TPM) for your tradition.

Questions to ask, and answer:

  • What does the tradition look like in its original time and place?
  • What did the host culture look like when it emerged?
  • What was theatre's purpose at the time?
  • What differences existed between the tradition and what existed before it?

The tradition wasn't invented as a finished art form in a vacuum. It emerged in a time and place, as a result of many different factors coming together. Be clear about how this tradition is distinct from others. It may have been a revolt against theatre or culture before it, or it may have emerged as an evolution of traditions that existed long before. Many theatre traditions evolved from religious ceremonies, for example, while others served a purpose in bringing the community together or uniting around a social or political cause.

In order to describe the tradition you must give a detailed account of what the tradition looked, sounded and behaved like. Adding reasons or causes to this allows you to explain. This is where understanding the context of the tradition - its host culture - is vital.


WorldCat logo and billions of books

What is WorldCat?

WorldCat represents a “collective collection” of the world’s libraries. lets you search the collections of libraries in your community and thousands more around the world.


What's in WorldCat?

When you search in WorldCat you'll find all of the physical items you're used to getting from libraries - books, music CDs and videos—and new kinds of digital content, such as downloadable audiobooks. You may also find article citations with links to their full text; authoritative research materials, such as documents and photos of local or historic significance; and digital versions of rare items that aren't available to the public. WorldCat libraries serve diverse communities in dozens of countries, so resources are available in many languages.


How Can WorldCat Help Me?

You can search many libraries at once for an item and then locate it in a library nearby. A WorldCat record always lists which libraries hold any particular item, showing the libraries that are closest to you first.


What If the 'Closest Library' Holding an Item Isn't My Public Library?

If you need a book or other item for your research that's held by a library other than your own public library, you can request an Interlibrary Loan.  


Search WorldCat here:

Digital Libraries

Google Books

Google Books is a database of published books that have been scanned by Google and made available in Google search results or from the Google Books site.

You can browse books online, and...if  the book is out of copyright, or the publisher has given Google permission, you'll be able to see a preview of the book, and in some cases the entire text. If it's in the public domain, you're free to download a PDF copy.

Google Books come from two sources:  the Library Project (scanned books from Harvard University Library, New York Public Library and other prominent libraries) and the Partner Program.  In the Partner Program, authors and publishers are able to use the Google Books site to gain wider audiences and recognition for their works.  

NOTE:  This cooperation in the Partner Program results in Google Books having some nonfiction titles from self-published authors that are less than credible sources for serious research.  Before using a book from Google Books in your research, check to see if it's held at any public or university libraries and if it has been reviewed in any of the major publishing or library journals.  If in doubt, check to see if the book is listed in WorldCat!

Google Book Search

Interlibrary Loans

What is an Interlibrary Loan?

An Interlibrary loan (ILL) is a service where a patron (user) of one library can borrow books or receive photocopies of documents that are owned by another library. 

How do Interlibrary Loans work?

The patron makes a request with their local library.  This local library identifies the institution that owns the desired item (probably using WorldCat!), places the request, receive the item, makes it available for the patron to pick up at their closest branch, and arranges for the return.

How long can I keep an Interlibrary Loan?

The lending library determines the loan and renewal period for the item.  If you need an ILL item longer, you should contact your local library at least three business days before the due date and ask them to request an extension from the lending library.

Can anything be borrowed with an Interlibrary Loan?

Some libraries have items in reserve or reference collections that cannot be borrowed.  If the item you want is owned by a library that you could visit on your own (for example, at the University of Washington) you should plan for a research visit to look at the resources you need, take notes, and make photocopies.

How long does it take to get my Interlibrary Loan item?

Plan ahead!  If the lending institution agrees to loan the item you want to your local library, it could take three weeks or more before the item actually arrives at your local branch, ready for you to pick up.

How much does an Interlibrary Loan cost?

Good news!  An ILL is a free service provided to library patrons.  The only cost will be if the lending library charges your local library a processing fee for microfilm or copy requests.


See below for links to Interlibrary Loan request forms for regional libraries.

Regional Libraries


West Sound Academy Library | PO Box 807 |16571 Creative Drive NE | Poulsbo, WA 98370 | 360-598-5954 | Contact the librarian