Will we see a Federal Theatre Project Part II?
If I had a dollar for every time I heard a reporter say that we’re in the greatest economic crisis since The Great Depression, I could buy ourselves out of this crisis myself.
One of the most interesting New Deal programs that came out of Depression v1 was The Federal Theater Project, which sought to employ many of the out-of-work artists, stagehands, etc. post stock market crash.
As both Presidential candidates speak of public-works programs as part of their economic stimulus packages, do you think a theatre project will be proposed if unemployment surged in our industry?
Should it be?
I’m not so sure. As much as I’d like to see the government step in and provide relief if the situation got out of hand, I’m not sure a bailout would help us in the long term.
And honestly, I don’t think we’ve earned a Federal Theater Project v2.
We’ve heard both candidates talk about how government spending has gotten out of control, with talk of pork and earmarks, etc. They repeat and repeat that useless expenses need to be cut in order to insure that we’re more fiscally responsible.
Sound familiar? Broadway spending and government spending have trended in the same direction in the last 20-30 years, with the investor and the tax payer footin’ the bill.
While no one likes a crisis, the only upside is that it forces all of us, Producers, Unions, Directors, General Managers, Designers, etc., to examine what we’re doing and how we can do it more efficiently.
I also think those Producers, Unions Directors, General Managers, Designers, etc. are smart enough to get us pointed in a new direction on our own.