Federal Theatre Project scripts Edit


Finding Aid Author
Rebecca Hirsch
Description Rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
The processing of this collection and the creation of this finding aid was funded by the generous support of the National Historic Publications and Records Commission.


  • 1935-1939 (Creation)


  • 21.25 Linear Feet (Whole)
    17 boxes

Agent Links



  • Language of Materials

    Most of the scripts present in this collection are in English. However, scripts in Spanish, French, and Yiddish are also present.

  • Abstract

    This collection contains scripts for plays performed by the Federal Theatre Project, which was operated between 1935 and 1939 as a part of the Work Progress Administration. The Los Angeles branch of the project produced over 195 plays.

  • Historical Note

    The Federal Theatre Project (FTP) was established in 1935 as a part of Federal Project Number One, which was the Work Progress Administration's arts branch. Headed by Hallie Flanagan, the primary goal of the FTP was to produce jobs for unemployed actors, writers, directors and stage technicians. The existence of the FTP marked the only time in American history during which the federal government was directly responsible for the administration and staging of theater productions. The Los Angeles branch of the project produced over 195 plays before the project was shut down at the national level in 1939.

  • Conditions Covering Use

    The collection contains published materials; researchers are reminded of the copyright restrictions imposed by publishers on reusing their articles and parts of books. It is the responsibility of researchers to acquire permission from publishers when reusing such materials. The copyright to unpublished materials belongs to the heirs of the writers. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

  • Conditions Governing Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. Advance notice required for access.

  • Preferred Citation

    [Box/folder# or item name], Federal Theatre Project scripts, Collection no. 0116, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California.

  • Scope and Content

    This collection contains scripts for plays performed by various branches of the Federal Theatre Project. Some of the scripts are annotated with production notes and revisions, but many are not annotated. Most of the scripts appear to be from the Los Angeles branch of the FTP, but other cities also appear to be represented. Authors represented include William Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw, Eugene O'Neill, Sinclair Lewis, and Elmer Rice. Many of the scripts are shortened adaptations of original works; some were also adapted for marionette theaters.

  • Arrangement

    Scripts are in alphabetical order by the author's last name. Adapted works retaining their original title are filed under the original author's name. Adapted works with new titles are filed under the adapter's name.