The Discovery of Ourselves: The Rockefeller Foundation and Regional Drama in the 1930s

by Cecelia Moore

Jan 1, 2010
The Rockefeller Foundation's (RF's) interest in drama at the University of North Carolina (UNC) in the 1930s and 40s was part of a program within the RF's Humanities Division that promoted the development of community theatres and university programs for the training of theatre professionals. This same interest led the Humanities Division to support the Federal Theatre Project, a Works Progress Administration jobs program from 1935-39, and the first federal government-sponsored theatre in the United States. Both endeavors were informed by regionalism, a political and cultural concept about American national identity. Although not a new concept, regionalism was popular in the interwar years among intellectuals who saw it as a counter to the negative impact of modernism, urbanization and commercialization. It was also used to explore the possibilities of cultural pluralism.
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