Tell us about the Federal Theatre Playhouse that was on the corner of Tulane Avenue and South Miro Street. How long did it entertain us and is the building still there?
In operation from 1937 to 1939, the Federal Theatre Playhouse was located at 2301 Tulane Ave. The building is long gone.
The Federal Theatre Project (FTP) was a national program sponsored and funded by the U.S. government as part of the Works Progress Administration. Founded in 1935, the playhouse was the first federally supported theater in the country. Its purpose was to create jobs for unemployed theatrical people during the Great Depression and bring high-quality, affordably priced theatrical productions to small towns as well as large cities across the U.S., providing many Americans with their first exposure to theater. Its director was educator and playwright Hallie Flanagan, who visited New Orleans to inspect the city's portion of the program.
Nationwide, the FTP employed about 10,000 professionals in all facets of the theater, and Flanagan oversaw approximately 1,000 productions that were staged over the course of four years.
The project had a brief life — from 1935 until 1939 — but in that time the FTP presented an extraordinary number of theatrical productions across the United States in many genres, including opera, the classics, modern drama, puppet theater, the circus and dance.
In New Orleans, we were treated to many wonderful productions. They included the plays The First Legion and Boy Meets Girl, which were produced in 1937, and Monsignor's Hour by Emmet Lavery and Moon of the Caribbees by Eugene O'Neill, which were featured in March 1938. Especially popular was the production of an old-time vaudeville show consisting of 15 acts and a big production number.