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Primary Sources & Lesson Plans
Document Study Sheet

Program for the Federal Theatre Project’s Sing for Your Supper, 1937

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About this Personal Artifact

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Historical Background

Discussion Questions

Level: High School and Above

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More of this TYPE: Personal Artifacts

More of this TIME PERIOD: 1900-1949

More on these TOPICS: Arts & Recreation, Law & Politics


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The New Deal of the 1930s consisted of a wide variety of legislative initiatives intended to address the many problems that both caused and resulted from the Great Depression. The New Deal’s strength was its ideological flexibility. Through the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the Federal government attempted to provide employment for artists, academics, and performers. Formed in 1935 and run by Harry Hopkins, the WPA proved to be quite creative. Its Federal Theatre Project engaged in experimental works and exposed many Americans to their first experience with live professional performances.

As a government program, the WPA could not escape its political origins. The works created as part of the WPA were frequently scrutinized for political undertones, and funding for specific projects was affected by their content. Congress cut funding for New Deal programs generally in 1938 and 1939, and the Federal Theater Project came to an end.

The1937 musical revue identified in this program gave choreographer Anna Sokolow, as well as other dancers, singers, and composers, a creative venue.

For more on Anna Sokolow’s innovation in dance in the 1930s, go to JWA’s Women of Valor exhibit.

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1. Why is the title of this musical revue ironic?

2. Why do you think the organizers of the revue included the disclaimer located in the box on the second page of the document?

3. Look at the specific titles of the pieces that were performed. How do they reflect their historic circumstances?

4. To what extent should the government be able to censor the arts?

5. Does your answer to question 4 change if the government is funding the artist?

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How to Cite This Page
Jewish Women's Archive. "JWA - Personal Artifacts - Program for the Federal Theatre." <>.