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Theater is officially on the government's radar.

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by

Iman Mazloum

on 8 April 2014

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Transcript of Theater is officially on the government's radar.

Productions
High Quality productions to remote areas

The FTP resulted in hundreds of stage productions in many different genres.

Middle ages to classical Shakespeare to modern day Eugene O'Neill and George Bernard Shaw.

Premiered for writers like Arthur Miller.
Initial Debrief
The Great Depression is over
New Deal under Franklin Delano Roosevelt - combat the great depression and increase growth in the nation.
Works Progress Administration - the most productive group that employed millions of Americans
Federal Theater Project - under WPA with intentions of entertaining the middle class.
Groundwork
- Harry Hopkins of WPA (and roosevelt trusted advisor) appointed Hallie Flanigan, a theater professor at Vassar, as director of FTP on August 29th 1935.

- The US was divided into 'theater regions' that managed the technical aspects.

- Federal Theater Policy Board met every 4 months to decide on policies & plays for the next four months.

-Real representation: Regional directors presented from state and local.
Musical Theater
For the people, by the people.

Regional theater, "of, by, for"

Meant to bring about social and economic changes. Draw attention to the importance of being an American & learning about important issues.


That's a Wrap!
The project lost its funding on June 30th 1939, but its benefits continued past that.
The magnanimity of this project was that not only did the federal government.
Brought about controversy on its economic and social pieces.
Congressional hearings on budget, productivity and claims of communism.
Collection of FTP related materials available at the Library of Congress
Revival of works now a days & has been one of the most cultural influences in the US' history
The Federal Theater Project
The date is August 2nd, 1935.
Theater is officially on the government's radar...
May 1939
Children's Theater
Vaudeville
Modern Drama
Circus
Walt Disney was a repeat observer of the FTP's Pinnochio and this was the inspiration for the 1940 animated version of it
Negro Theater Units
Living Newspapers
The Federal Theater Project also employed numerous African American actors, playwrights, directors & craftspeople.
This was called the Negro Unit.
Negro unit in Alabama was to combat racism - dramas of social interest
In the South the Negro Unit had great social intentions, but little ability to produce "serious indigenous works reflective of the black experience in the South"
More than just welfare, this fostered minority artists and suggested a way for political participation before the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Communists!
There are communists lurking in the FTP! Actors must first join the "workers alliance" union. A front for the communists!

The FTP is sheer propaganda for communism or Roosevelt's administration!

Roles are being given to chambermaids who have NEVER been onstage before!

We must shut the organization down and sweep through it to eliminate all traces of communism!
By your AMERICAN Representative & Congressman J.P. Thomas
August 11th 1938
Key Takeaways
Living Newspaper: pieces based on Newspaper headlines.
These were devoted to issues such as housing.
About 90 minutes of running through tabloids of the previous year for some of them.
A recap, but also an insight into the future.
Really cemented the idea that Theater was a real tool for social change.
Flanigan was very much for the Living Newspaper
Full transcript