• 7 Stages Theatre (Atlanta, Ga.) Records. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library, via the Digital Library of Georgia.

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    Kenny Leon (seated) and Michael Keck, performing in "Sizwe Bansi Is Dead"
    • Date
    • 1986-09
    • Creator
    • 7 Stages Theatre (Atlanta, Ga.)
    • Description
    • Local identification number: M219-Prints-1986-09-25. 7 Stages Theatre (Atlanta, Ga.) Records (M219), Popular Music and Culture, Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library.
    • Rights
    • Copyright 7 Stages. The contents of this item, including all images and text, are for personal, educational, and non-commercial use only. This item is the property of Georgia State University Library and any user is asked to acknowledge Georgia State... more
      Copyright 7 Stages. The contents of this item, including all images and text, are for personal, educational, and non-commercial use only. This item is the property of Georgia State University Library and any user is asked to acknowledge Georgia State University Library. M219-Prints-1986-09-25. 7 Stages Theatre (Atlanta, Ga.) Records. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library. less
    • Partner
    • Digital Library of Georgia; Georgia State University. Libraries. Special Collections
    • Contributing Institution
    • Georgia State University. Libraries. Special Collections

  • Courtesy of the Hargrett Library, University of Georgia, via the Digital Library of Georgia.

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    Atlanta Federal Theater Project. "The Drunkard"
    • Date
    • 1936
    • Rights
    • All images on the Hargrett site are either protected by copyright law, or are the property of the University of Georgia Libraries, Hargrett Library. Permission to publish must be obtained from both the Hargrett Library, and/or the legal copyright hol... more
      All images on the Hargrett site are either protected by copyright law, or are the property of the University of Georgia Libraries, Hargrett Library. Permission to publish must be obtained from both the Hargrett Library, and/or the legal copyright holder. See: http://www.libs.uga.edu/hargrett/resources/permission.html less
    • Partner
    • Digital Library of Georgia; Hargrett Library
    • Contributing Institution
    • Hargrett Library

  • Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration. 

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    WPA Federal Theater Project in New York:theater workers
    • Creator
    • Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945.
    • Rights
    • Unrestricted.
    • Partner
    • National Archives and Records Administration
    • Contributing Institution
    • Franklin D. Roosevelt Library

  • Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration. 

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    "Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. [Actors Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, and Charlton Heston.], 08/28/1963"
    • Creator
    • U.S. Information Agency. Press and Publications Service. ca. 1953-ca. 1978.
    • Rights
    • Unrestricted.
    • Partner
    • National Archives and Records Administration
    • Contributing Institution
    • National Archives at College Park - Still Pictures

The Federal Theatre Project ended in 1939 when Congress suspended its federal aid funding. Because of the varying quality of productions, audience attendance at shows diminished, which in turn prompted low-ticket sales and the early cancellation of shows. Since majority of the FTP plays were based on economic and social justice themes, there were speculations about the plays being influenced by Communist ideologies.

The Federal Theatre Project was an arts and cultural movement, which served as both a professional and cultural platform that created many career opportunities to up and coming actors, directors, costumes designers, technicians among other theater and arts professionals during the Great Depression.  Although the project was formally cancelled, it had a broad impact on the careers of many of these professionals and shed light on the educational and community purposes to which theatre could be put.  While the Federal Theatre Project created a Depression-era platform for established playwrights like Eugene O’Neill, it also provided a starting point for the careers of new ones like Arthur Miller. Its programs paved the way for predecessor organizations like the American Negro Theatre, which grew out of the disbanded Negro Theatre Project. This group would train a new generation of actors like Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, and Ruby Dee, who would become fixtures on American stage and screen in later decades and would be known particularly for their investment in exploring race and inequality. The tensions between FTP theatre professionals and Congress around social issues in art foreshadowed the intrusions of Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings into the lives and works of playwrights and other artists in the 1950s. As its impact demonstrates, the Federal Theatre Project was a powerful and influential movement that altered the landscape of post-Depression-era American theater through its innovative productions and ideas about how theatre can engage national and local audiences.