The FTP Show (working title) is a new play by Theater in Asylum telling the story of the Federal Theatre Project: its participants, its obstacles, and its echoes still felt today. Operating from 1935–1939 and led by the incomparable Hallie Flanagan, the Federal Theatre Project (FTP) was a federally-funded enterprise, putting thousands of performers to work creating theater across the country. With this show we ask: How did it happen? Why did it stop? With the FTP model, or with a new one, how do we today give artists the support, and American audiences the theater, they deserve?
- Created by Theater in Asylum
- Scripted and Developed by: Marcella Adams, Paul Bedard, Sarah Biery, Christopher DeSantis, Nadia Diamond, Ali Dineen (also music), Addy Jenkins, Adin Lenehan, Katie Palmer, Al Parker, Francine Pinheiro, Arisael Rivera, Dan Stearns, Cindy Wong
- Directed by Paul Bedard & Katie Palmer
- Dramaturgy by Al Parker
- Lighting design by Dan Stearns
- Production support from Kathryn Appleton
- Marketing and PR by Charlotte Dow
Timeline & Development History
- August 27, 1935: The Federal Theatre Project (FTP) is established.
- June 30, 1939: The FTP is defunded.
- September 29, 1965: The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is established.
- 1990: The "NEA Four" have their funding cancelled and the issue goes all the way to the Supreme Court with National Endowment for the Arts v. Finley. Following this, the Republican Party in Congress renews attacks on the NEA, drastically cutting its budget and permanently ending the funding of individual artists.
- 2016: Theater in Asylum hosts a Cold Reading of It Can't Happen Here, 80 years after its 21-theater, simultaneous premiere at FTP theaters around the country.
- 2016: Theater in Asylum hosts a Cold Reading of The Cradle Will Rock, 79 years after its controversial and semi-sanctioned FTP production.
- 2017 & 2018: Congress rejects Trump Administration budgets defunding the NEA.
- 2020: During the Covid-19 lockdown, Theater in Asylum begins exploring the FTP.
- July 29, 2020: Theater in Asylum hosts a Cold Reading of the Living Newspaper One-Third of a Nation, 82 years after its FTP production at Broadway's Adelphi Theatre.
- August 19, 2020: Theater in Asylum hosts a Cold Reading of the Living Newspaper Power, 83 years after its FTP production.
- April 21, 2021: Theater in Asylum hosts a Cold Reading of the Living Newspaper Spirochete, 83 years after its FTP production.
- April 23, 2022: Theater in Asylum hosts a Cold Reading of the Living Newspaper E=MC², 74 years after Hallie Flanagan's original production.
- Winter 2022: Theater in Asylum hosts a book club to read Susan Quinn's Furious Improvisation.
- May 13 & 14, 2022: Theater in Asylum produces The FTP Cabaret.
- Spring 2022: Theater in Asylum hosts a book club to read Kate Dossett's Radical Black Theatre in the New Deal.
- August 2022: Theater in Asylum convenes for a week-long workshop to develop a full-length show.
Theater in Asylum (TIA) is a New York-based theater company founded in 2010 to challenge and empower our community. TIA joyfully pursues a rigorous research and an ensemble-driven approach to theater-making. We create performances to investigate our past, interpret our present, and imagine our future. We prize space to process, space to question—asylum—for ourselves and our community.