There and Back Again: A Journey Through the Regional Theatre Movement in the United States Open Access

Pettitt-Schieber, Christine (2009)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/j96021370?locale=en
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Abstract

Throughout the 20th century, American nonprofit theater grew rapidly throughout the United
States away from New York. Generally referred to as the "Regional Theatre Movement,"
this growth provided artists an abundance of jobs and provided audiences new opportunities
to experience theater. This investigation looks at what major resources were provided to
theater artists during this time, and how they shaped American nonprofit theater into what it
is today. The four major resources examined are the Ford Foundation and its Division of
Humanities and the Arts, Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the Rockefeller Brothers
Fund Panel Report, and the National Endowment for the Arts. The Ford Foundation began
funding theater artists whose theater companies were housed in buildings and had ensembles
of actors who worked in those companies, thereby institutionalizing the theater. Theatre
Communications Group, borne out of the Ford Foundation, provided further support by
unifying theater artists across the country and giving them a voice, both with audiences and
also in the United States government. The panel report promoted the needs of theater artists
to the American public and addressed the concerns of various constituencies (i.e.
corporations, individuals, etc.) And the National Endowment for the Arts was a test for how
effectively these previous initiatives had altered the public's fundamental opinion of the arts:
that the arts are only for the elite, and that the arts must be useful in order to be valued. The
conclusion of this investigation is that due to the business model set by the Ford Foundation
and propagated by TCG, this paradigm failed to be completely shifted, and as a result,
American nonprofit theater is highly successful, yet is still lacking in providing sufficient
support for individual artists such as actors, directors, playwrights, and designers.

Table of Contents


Table of Contents


Introduction
.............................................................................................1

The Ford Foundation...............................................................................10

Theatre Communications Group..............................................................21

The Rockefeller Panel Report
..................................................................31

National Endowment for the Arts
............................................................42

Conclusion
..............................................................................................55

Appendix A.............................................................................................64

Works Cited
............................................................................................65











List of Tables and Figures


Figure 1: New Theaters Made in the Twentieth Century........................................3

Figure 2: Amount Awarded to Theaters by the Ford Foundation.............................19













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