Articles and Essays

  • The Play That Electrified Harlem For days, Harlem residents strolling anywhere between Lexington Avenue and Broadway from 125th to 140th Streets had seen the word "MACBETH" stenciled in glowing paint at every corner. New York's African-American community had been discussing the new production by the Federal Theater Project's Negro Unit with mingled pride and anxiety for months, and by opening night on April 14, 1936, anticipation had reached a...
  • Federal Theatre: Melodrama, Social Protest, and Genius The economic vicissitudes of the American theater began long before the Great Depression. "Gambling in theaters as real estate, syndicates that fostered cross-country touring, a monopoly booking system short-cuts to acting by methods of type casting, and long runs"[1] had made the commercial theatre the special province of a limited metropolitan clientele. As early as 1910, increased costs of railroad travel made touring companies...
  • Amassing American "Stuff": The Library of Congress and the Federal Arts Project of the 1930s A travel poster produced by the WPA Art Project in New York City for the U. S. Travel Bureau. Poster Collection, Prints and Photographs Division. Americans have always been uneasy about the relationship of their government to culture and the creative spirit. We have no central ministry of art or culture, nor does anyone advocate one. Direct government support to scientists, artists, and scholars...
  • The WPA Federal Theatre Project, 1935-1939 The following text includes extracts from and paraphrases of material in documents in the Federal Theatre Project Archives. These documents, which are examples selected from the Administrative Records are:
  • Federal Theatre Project Playscripts listed by Author and Production Location The following table lists the 68 playscripts that have been digitized for the online collection to date. The playscripts are selected from the Federal Theatre Collection Playscripts File, a subseries of the Library Records series. The Finding Aid to the Federal Theatre Project Collection provides a complete listing of the contents of the Playscript File.
  • Federal Theatre Project - Administrative Documents The following list describes documents selected from the Administrative Records - Background File (Boxes 1-4) and the Production Records - Administrative File (Boxes 963-967). Box numbers refer to the box numbers listed in the Federal Theatre Project Collection Finding Aid.
  • FTP Productions of The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus, Macbeth, and Power This presentation provides images of artifacts related to FTP productions of three plays: The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe (6 productions), Macbeth by William Shakespeare (11 productions), and Power by Arthur Arent (7 productions). The artifacts include photographs, costume designs, set designs, playbills, incidental music (scores and parts), and posters.