The Federal Government Used To Fund SF Theatrical Productions

From an article in SF Weekly:

Between 1936 and 1939, the American federal government paid San Francisco theater workers to do what they did best: write plays and put on shows. The San Francisco Federal Theatre Project was part of Franklin Roosevelt’s nation-wide relief program to put starving artists of the Depression back to work. At its height the Federal Theatre Project funded more than 13,000 workers in 31 states and produced plays for an audience of over 30 million, many of whom had never previously seen a live theatrical performance.

Two Federal Theatre groups operated in San Francisco. The first group organized in 1936 and performed at the Alcazar Theatre, when it was still located at 260 O’Farrell Street. ​The Alcazar group quickly became notable for their quality shows and successful experiments. When Eugene O’Neill saw pictures of the Alcazar group’s production of Beyond the Horizon, he said “Photographs of my productions usually disappoint me but this is exactly the way I imagined [my play].”

Worth a look for the artwork alone!


One Reply to “The Federal Government Used To Fund SF Theatrical Productions”

  1. I am obsessed with the Federal Theatre Project era! Recommend the book “Furious Improvisation” for a history of the project nationwide — including a chapter on the FTP in San Francisco.

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