What Is the Federal Theatre Project

Topics: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Works Progress Administration, Orson Welles Pages: 4 (1169 words) Published: May 15, 2005
Rachael Rice
What Was The Federal Theatre Project?????
Throughout the late 1920's an important theatrical movement developed: The Workers' Theatre Movement. In the end, it diminished around the middle of the 1930's, and one of the developments aiding the decline of the Workers' Theatre Movement, was the creation of the Federal Theatre Project. The Federal Theatre Project was the largest and most motivated effort mounted by the Federal Government to organize and produce theater events. Once the government took on the duty of putting people to work, it was able to consider the movement. The Federal Theatre Project's purpose was "to provide relief work for theatrical artists that utilized their talents and to make their work widely available to ordinary Americans, thus democratizing high culture." (www.answers.com) Furthermore the FTP tried to present theatre that was relevant socially, politically, and had popular prices, such as free shows. The majority of its famous productions, although not all of them, came out of New York City. New York had many units, such as, a classical unit, Negro unit, units performing vaudeville, children's plays, puppet shows, caravan productions, and the new plays unit. The Federal Theatre Project was "the only fully government-sponsored theatre ever in the United States". (Witham 16)

During the late 1920s, in October 1929, the stock market crashed which led to the Great Depression. By winter 1930 through 1931, four million people were unemployed; by March 1931, eight million. By the year 1932, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected, the national income was half that of 1929; there were twelve million unemployed, moreover, there were one of four. Within two weeks of his inauguration, in the year 1933, FDR reopened three-fourths of the Federal Reserve Banks and tried to save the economy. Many called Franklin Delano Roosevelt's administration "the Alphabetical Administration; it was often...

Cited: 1, Bordman, Gerald. American Theatre: Chronicle of Comedy and Drama
1930- 1989. Chicago: Oxford University Press, 1996.
2. Manning, Susan H. Modern Dance, Negro Dance: Race in Motion.
Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2004
3. Witham, Barry. The Federal Theatre Project: A Case Study. Nevada:
The Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, 2003.
4. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/fedtp/ftwpa.html
5. http://www.answers.com/topic/federal-theatre-project
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