Sunday, October 23, 2011
She then taught at Vassar, where she developed experimental theatre productions. She had just returned from another tour of European theatre, in Italy and Greece, when Harry Hopkins called her to Washington. Hopkins knew theatre and knew her work, but more surprisingly, so did Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt. He knew about her because he’d been a Vassar trustee.
But she was doubtful she was the right person, and a little overwhelmed. Hopkins persisted, and brought her to a gathering of people already involved in the Federal Art, Music and Writers Projects. They all had spent some time in small towns, and they talked about the music teachers who had never heard a symphonic orchestra, the drama teachers and the children who had never seen a professionally performed play. She was impressed that none of them doubted that she would find talented actors and other theatre professionals on the relief rolls, capable of creating good theatre, and taking it everywhere. Hallie Flanagan joined up.