Theodore Browne C0225
Published by George Mason University Libraries
Theodore Browne was born in Suffolk, Virginia, around 1910. He was a playwright, actor, and director in the Federal Theatre Project. In Seattle, Washington, he worked with the Civic Repertory Theatre, a community theater group that would become the Seattle Negro Unit of the Works Progress Administration in 1936. The unit produced four plays written by Browne including Lysistrata of Aristophanes, A Black Woman called Moses, Swing, and Natural Man.
The adaptation of Lysistrata included changing the location of the play from Greece to Ethiopia. The play was performed to a full house, but only once. The head of the Works Progress Administration in Seattle, Don Abel, declared the play bawdy and indecent and stopped future performances. Hallie Flanagan, the national director of the Federal Theatre Project, sent her assistant Howard Miller to take care of the situation. Miller did not resurrect the play but came to a compromise with Abel that would allow the FTP in Seattle to have full control over future productions.
Browne left Seattle to join the American Negro Theatre in 1940 where he led the production of Natural Man at the 135th St. Library Theatre in Harlem. He went on to receive degrees from the City College of New York in 1941 and from Northeastern University in Boston in 1944. Browne stayed in Boston after World War II where he taught and lectured. He died in Boston at the age of 68.
Papers from Theodore Browne, playwright, actor, and director who worked with the Federal Theatre Project in Seattle, Washington. Contents include playscripts, programs, and newspaper clippings, as well as a scrapbook with materials collected by Browne from 1936 to 1941.
Papers are arranged alphabetically by folder title.
Collection is open to research.
There are no restrictions.
The Works Progress Administration oral histories collection, the Federal Theatre Project collection, the Federal Theatre Project photograph collection, as well as numerous other personal papers.
Federal Theatre Project (U.S.)
Theodore Browne papers, Collection #C0225, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.
Donated by Theodore Browne on October 22, 1975.
Processed and EAD completed by Greta Kuriger Suiter in September 2012.