Federal Theatre Project
Online Materials | Special
Collections | Educational
Resources | Selected Bibliography
The Federal Theatre Project (FTP) (1935-39), was created
to provide work for unemployed actors and other theater
professionals. The FTP was administered by the WPA as part
of Federal Project Number One-a group of four culturally-oriented
work relief projects, which also included the Federal Art
Project, the Federal Music Project, and the Federal Writers'
Project. The FTP's Director, Hallie
Flanagan, was a theater director and educator, who believed
that the FTP could serve as a national cultural resource--a
national theater--to reach new and diverse audiences and
serve as a force for social change. More...
Treasures: Federal Theatre
A brief online exhibit containing images relating to the
Federal Theatre Project.
the People, For the People: Posters from the WPA, 1936-1943
This collection consists of 908 boldly colored and graphically
diverse original posters produced from 1936 to 1943 as part
of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal. The collection contains
over a hundred posters related to Federal Theatre Project
sponsored productions. To find these posters, select Browse
Theatre Project (U.S.), sponsor and select the "Gallery
View" button to view thumbnail images of the search
Deal Stage: Selections from the Federal Theatre Project
This online presentation includes over 13,000 images of items
selected from the Federal Theatre Project Collection at the
Library of Congress. Featured here are stage and costume
designs, still photographs, posters, and scripts for productions
of Macbeth and The Tragical History
of Dr. Faustus as staged
by Orson Welles, and for Power, a topical drama of the period
(over 3,000 images). Also included are 68 other playscripts
(6,500 images) and 168 documents selected from the Federal
Theatre Project Administrative Records (3,700 images).
[Please note: This collection is not currently searchable,
although it may be browsed].
Library of Congress
The Federal Theatre Project Collection (Finding
Aid), housed in the Library of Congress' Performing
Arts Reading Room, contains correspondence, memoranda,
play and radio scripts, reports, research studies, manuals,
publications, bulletins, forms, lists, newspaper clippings,
scrapbooks, charts, costume and set designs, blueprints,
posters, addressograph plates, photographs, negatives,
slides, playbills, and other records documenting the role
of the Federal Theatre Project in laying the groundwork
during the New Deal years for much innovation in the theater.
Connections: The New Deal Stage
in History (April 8): Works Progress Administration
On April 8, 1935, Congress approved the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
in History (July 25) Macbeth
A brief feature on Orson Welles production of Macbeth for the Federal Theatre
Bentley, Joanne. Hallie Flanagan: A
Life in the American Theatre. 1st ed. New York: Knopf, 1988.
Brown, Lorraine, and John O’Connor,
eds. Free, Adult, Uncensored: The
Living History of the Federal Theatre Project. Washington: New Republic Books,
De Hart, Jane Sherron. The Federal
Theatre, 1935-1939; Plays, Relief, and Politics. Princeton, N.J: Princeton
University Press, 1967.
Hallie. Arena, The History of the
Federal Theatre. New
York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1940.
Fraden, Rena. Blueprints
for a Black Federal Theatre, 1935-1939. Cambridge
Studies in American Literature and Culture. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1994.
Melosh, Barbara. Engendering Culture:
Manhood and Womanhood in New Deal Public Art and Theater.
New Directions in American Art. Washington: Smithsonian
Institution Press, 1991.
Witham, Barry. The Federal Theatre
Project: A Case Study. Cambridge Studies in American
Theatre and Drama. Cambridge, U.K: Cambridge University