Blogs > Cliopatria > New Deal Stage: Selections from the Federal Theatre Project, 1935-1939

Dec 6, 2009 8:23 pm

New Deal Stage: Selections from the Federal Theatre Project, 1935-1939

A key component of Franklin D. Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration (WPA) were the five Federal One projects, designed to employ out-of-work artists, researchers, writers, and musicians. The Federal Theater Project (FTP) was founded on August 29, 1935, and employed 12,700 actors, directors, playwrights, designers, vaudeville artists, and stage technicians at the height of its four-year duration. It was the only time in U.S. history that the Federal government has been entirely responsible for large-scale theater production and administration. This website offers more than 13,000 items relating to the FTP, including 71 playscripts and 168 documents from the FTP's Administration Records. Extensive materials, including photographs, scripts, posters, rehearsal schedules, and set and costume designs, have been selected from three significant productions: Macbeth and The Tragic History of Dr. Faustus, directed by Orson Welles, and Arthur Arent’s Power, an example of the Project's innovative"Living Newspaper" series of topical plays. The site includes a 3,500-word background essay, as well as four illustrated articles about the Project, rendering the website useful for researchers, students and teachers alike. There are extensive browsing options, but the materials are not searchable.

Read a more in-depth review of New Deal Stage written by Lauren Rebecca Sklaroff of the University of South Carolina.

Explore additional website reviews at History Matters.

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