Sunday, October 23, 2011

The WPA and New Deal programs in general left a visible legacy with buildings and bridges that still stand and serve, parks that still shimmer in the sunlight, murals that still grace the walls of post offices and court houses across America. While the legacy of the Federal Theatre Project is less obvious, it is just as real.

These 1200 stage productions in 35 states, reaching an audience of 3 million, were only part of what the Federal Theatre Project accomplished. The Project also produced 3 thousand radio programs a year, aired over commercial stations and networks.They included 15 minute programs on public safety, a series on The Seven Arts, on the development of Mayan culture, 12 one hour dramatizations of Ibsen’s plays, programs about the arts, about science, the Repertory Theatre of the Air , dramatized short stories by Scott Fitzgerald, work of Oscar Wilde and Jules Verne, and a series of Shakespeare for the air so popular that commercial networks started their own series.

Together these stage and radio productions inspired major motion pictures, and radio and television formats and shows for at least a generation. The performers, producers, directors and writers it nurtured and nourished went on to great accomplishments in all these media.

No comments: