How to cite a play in APA
To cite a play in a reference entry in APA style 6th edition include the following elements:
- Author(s) of the play: Give the last name and initials (e. g. Watson, J. D.) of up to seven authors with the last name preceded by an ampersand (&). For eight or more authors include the first six names followed by an ellipsis (…) and add the last author's name.
- Year of publication: Give the year in brackets followed by a full stop.
- Title of the play: Book titles are italicized. Only the first letter of the first word and proper nouns are capitalised.
- Place of publication: List the city and the US state using the two-letter abbreviation. Spell out country names if outside of the UK or the USA.
- Publisher: Give the name of the publisher but omit terms, such as Publishers, Co., and Inc. Retain the words Books and Press.
Here is the basic format for a reference list entry of a play in APA style 6th edition:
.(Year of publication). Title of the play. Place of publication: Publisher.
Take a look at our reference list examples that demonstrate the APA style guidelines in action:
A play with one author
2009). Cat on a hot tin roof. London, England: Penguin Classics.. (
A play with two authors
1902). Un beau marriage. Paris, France: Librairie Théâtrale.. (
APA in-text citations
APA-style in-text citations for plays follow the standard author-date format used for other mediums like books.
In practice, using one of the examples of plays from above, an in-text citation will look like this:
Similar to his other works, Cat on a hot tin roof explores the theme of the broken man (Williams, 2009).
When citing plays, you can expand on the in-text citation by adding the act, scene, and line number at the end of the citation. Take a look at this example:
In-text citation of a play including act, scene and line numbers
This passage of Hamlet is essential to establishing the resolve in Gertrude's character (Shakespeare, trans. 1992, 1.2.70-72).