Federal Theatre Project Essay

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The Federal Theatre Project was a New Deal plan, administered by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), during the Great Depression. The FTP came about during the height of the Great Depression, 1935, only four years before the Depression came to an end. The Great Depression has been referred to as the greatest economic disaster in the United States and lasted from 1929-1939 (history.com). During this time, nearly 13 million Americans were unemployed (history.com). The FTP was administered by the WPA in hopes to send many unemployed theatre professionals back to work. The enaction of the Federal Theatre Project (FTP) provided many theatre professionals with new, much-needed jobs during the Great Depression, but its impact didn’t stop there. …show more content…

Flanagan was a theater professor at Vassar College and received the Guggenheim Fellowship award which she used to study modern theatre in Europe (Vassar). In October of 1935, Hallie wrote her instructions for the FTP and said, “The primary aim of the Federal Theatre Project is the reemployment of theatre workers now on public relief rolls: actors, directors, playwrights, designers, vaudeville artists, stage technicians, and other workers in the theatre field. The far reaching purpose is the establishment of theatres so vital to community life that they will continue to function after the program of this Federal Project is completed (LOC).” 10,000 men and women were hired on average each year by the FTP (NOVA). During the beginning they were only paid 23.86 each week …show more content…

These theaters consisted of schools, churches, factories, and closed off streets (Ross) . This may have been one influence to the off-off-broadway theatre movement, later in the 1960’s. They did not produce shows in every state because many lacked the proper theatre professionals (Flanagan). However, 40 states did have shows running and before this many people did not have access to such a luxury. Theatre was very expensive in the 1930’s. Out the approximate 1,200 shows they produced, 65 percent of the FTP’s shows were free (Flanagan) . The goal of the FTP was not to make a profit but to employ people in the theatre industry (Flanagan). Making so many of the shows free to the public allowed a barrier to be broken. Before, when tickets prices were sky-high that segregated the classes. Only the wealthy people who could afford the theatre

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