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See the Front Matter page for more detailed information.

Cast list

Each play will have a list of characters and scenes in the beginning. To encode these features of the text, use the <castList> and <set> tags. The <castList> is very similar to creating a table of contents. The list of characters should be wrapped by the <castList> then the <castGroup> tags. Inside the <castGroup> there will be a <castItem> for each of the characters in the play. If the text bunches certain characters together, be sure to do the same and bunch the characters in one <castItem> tag. Inside the <caseItem> tag you can have three tags:

  1. <role> for the name of the role (i.e. Othello or King Lear)
  2. <roleDesc> for the text's explanation of the role (i.e. Caliban: <roleDesc> = servant to Prospero, native of island)
  3. <actor> for if the text includes who acted a certain part. This tag will RARELY IF EVER be used when encoding a drama. Only use the <actor> tag if the text being encoded comes from a specific performance and includes information about the actors.

Example of Cast List:


The <set> tag is used to encode the setting information usually found in the front matter of the drama and typically following the <castList> information. Inside the <set> tag is usually a <p> tag (for paragraph), but if the setting takes a list form the <list type="simple"> and <item> tags can be used inside <set>.

Example of <set> encoding:


The body will always take the following structure (with a few exceptions):

  • body
    • div type="act"
      • any of the below tags needed to encode the text
    • div
  • body
There will be 7 main TEI tags used when encoding drama.

  1. <div> for division that marks each poem
  2. <head> for title of drama and acts
  3. <sp> for every speech made in the drama
  4. <speaker> for distinguishing the person speaking in a speech
  5. <l> or <p> for each line or passage of speech in the drama
  6. <stage> for stage directions
  7. <pb> for page breaks
Division (div)

The <div> tag will be used to divide each act in a drama and its title page. The <div> tag will ALWAYS have one or two attributes:

  • type (e.g., type="act")
  • n (e.g., n="1")

The "type" attribute is used to denote that this section of the document is an act or a scene or title page of an act. The value of the "type" attribute will be one of following:

  • act
  • scene
  • epilogue
  • prologue
  • titlePage

The "n" attribute is used to denote the act or scene number. The value of the "n" attribute should always be an arabic numeral. Maintain the printed number (roman, arabic, etc.) in the text for display.

The most common value used will be "act"; the other values may not even occur at all in the text. If none of these values correctly describe the section of text you are encoding, document this in the VWWP Encoding Problems page.


  • Title Page Division:
  • Act division with n attribute:
  • Scene division with n attribute


Sometimes drama will contain prose that is not considered a part of the play or stage directions. This information should fall outside the <div type="act"> and be contained in a <trailer> element.

The following tags will be found ONLY inside the <div> tag:


The <head> tag is used to encode the title and acts of the drama. The <head> tag will usually have a rend=" " attribute to denote the layout of the title of the page. Possible values for rend are:

  • center for a title centered on the page
  • left for a title to the left of the page
  • right for a title to the right of the page
  • uc for a title with all uppercase capital letters
  • sc for a title with all small capital letters

For more general information about additional values see the general guidelines.

One rend attribute can contain multiple formatting values as long as those values are separated by a space.


Every speech within a drama will begin with the <sp> tag. The <sp> tag is used merely to distinguish a speech from other elements in the drama.


  • Two speeches in a drama

Within every <sp> tag will contain a <speaker> tag and a <l> tag or <p> tag.


The <speaker> tag is used to denote the speaker of the passage. Oftentimes the text used for the speaker's name will have a different format from its surrounding text. Use the rend attribute to distinguish this change in format. Possible values for the rend attribute are:

  • i when the speaker's name is italicized
  • b when the speaker's name is in bold font
  • uc when the speaker's name is in all capital letters of a larger size than the surrounding text
  • sc when the speaker's name is in all capital letters of the same size as the surrounding text

For more information about how to encode format see general guidelines

The rend attribute may include more than one value. If a speaker's name is in bold and uppercase capitals, the value of the attribute should be <speaker rend="b uc">.


  • Speaker's Name Italicized
Line or Paragraph

After the <speaker> tag, use the <l> tag (for line of verse) or the <p> tag (for a prose passage).


  • Drama in verse
  • Drama in prose

If the drama is in verse, there may be times when a line is left incomplete or complete by the speech of another character. If the line is left incomplete, use the part attribute with value, "Y". If the line is completed by another character use the value of "I" for the initial line, "M" for the medial line (if needed), and "F" for the final line.


  • Incomplete line
  • Line completed by another speaker


The <stage> tag will be used to encode any stage directions and information. The <stage> tag will have one attribute, type=" ". There are nine possible values for the type attribute.

  1. location for describing a place in the play, whether London or at a window
  2. business for describing a character's actions on stage
  3. delivery for describing how a character delivers a line
  4. modifier for describing something about a character (for instance, Malvolio in disguise would have a modifier value)
  5. novelistic for describing something a playwright include to influence future stage direction
  6. entrance for describing a character entrance
  7. exit for describing a character exit
  8. mixed for describing a stage direction that includes two or more of the following stage directions


  • Location of play
  • Mixed direction that describes the location of a play, character entrances, and character actions (business)
  • Delivery describing both who the character is talking to and how the character is talking

The <stage> tag can occur anywhere within the <div> tag, both outside or inside the <sp> tag and outside or inside the <l> tag.


  • <stage> tag inside and outside the <l> tag

The <stage> element can appear inside any element of <sp> except the <speaker> element. If the stage direction occurs on the same line as the speaker's name in the text, encode the text as follows:

Page Break

For more general information about encoding page breaks see general guidelines.

The only tag used for encoding drama that will appear outside the <div> tag is the page break (<pb>) tag. This tag can appear anywhere in the document, and should follow exactly the format of the book. If a page break comes in the middle of a speech, place a <pb> tag between the last line of the previous page and first line of the next page. If a page break happens at the end of a speech, close the <sp> tag before you enter the <pb>. If the page break occurs at the end of a act, close the <div> before you enter the <pb>. The <pb> has two attribute, n=" " and xml:id. These attributes refer to the page number that will follow the page break (i.e. use <pb n="54"> BEFORE the contents of page 54) and the unique id for the page. See the page break section for more information about how to number the pages and the value for the xml:id.


  • Page Break with number in middle of character speech

Back Matter

See the Back Matter page for more detailed information.


If a part of the dramatic text that you are trying to encode does not fit one of the above described features, document the problem in the VWWP Encoding Problems page.

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