“The Yeast which Makes the Bread Rise”
Hallie Flanagan on Drama as Politics
“The theater must grow up,” declared Hallie Flanagan, director of the New Deal-era Federal Theatre Project (FTP), which provided employment for actors, directors, and technicians during the Depression. By the 1930s, theater was rapidly losing its audiences to movies, and Flanagan sought to win audiences back by revitalizing drama with the excitement and conflict of contemporary life and politics. Her energy and sense of urgency came through in this talk on theater as social action, entitled “First Federal Summer Theatre: A Report.” She borrowed the rhetoric of the militant labor movement as she summarized the work of a 1937 summer project that gathered FTP workers from around the country."