The Federal Theatre Project: Uncovering Changes in Playscripts of Popular Performances
October 24, 2012
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About the Lecture:
The archives of the Federal Theatre Project (FTP), the first and only nationally subsidized theater in the U.S., is held by the Library of Congress and comprises more than 500,000 pieces of Federal Theatre-related ephemera, including playscripts that were marked up by directors and other FTP personnel. These markings have faded over time or were intentionally erased. Some have been recovered using the hyperspectral imaging system of the Preservation Research and Testing Division, during a nine-month fellowship jointly offered by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and hosted at the Library of Congress. These revelations have helped to elucidate the history of some of the FTP's most popular performances and can reveal, in particular, the evolution of the scripts from initial imagination to final performance.
Amy Brady is an instructor at Kean University and a doctoral student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is completing a dissertation that combines textual analyses and performance reconstruction of plays performed for and written by the Federal Theatre Project. Much of her dissertation data was gathered at the Library of Congress thanks to the generous CLIR/Library of Congress Mellon Fellowship for Dissertation Research in Original Sources.