Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hallie Flanagan
The Federal Theatre Project had two defining features: its primary purpose was to employ as many theatre professionals as possible, and its mission included making the fruits of their work available to as many Americans as possible.

Together this meant creating theatre across the country beyond New York, and bringing it to the people, with low ticket prices and by taking shows to new venues, including parks, hospitals and the streets for free. There were deliberate efforts to include minorities, as participants and as audiences. Emphasizing employment meant that while there was little money for materials, there were plenty of people to apply their creativity, ingenuity and enthusiasm to create productions with large casts and even larger ambitions.

Harry Hopkins

But those most responsible for the Federal Theatre Project also had large dreams for an American theatre and its role in lifting the country out of its Depression while creating the framework for the future—in the words of Hallie Flanagan, “not an art which would be an occasional unrelated accompaniment to everyday existence, but a functioning part of national life.”

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