Today in History: Orson Welles’ First Macbeth

Today in History–July 25–the Library of Congress features Macbeth,  “The Play That Electrified Harlem“. The closing night performance of Macbeth, produced by John Houseman and directed by Orson Welles for the Federal Theatre Project (FTP) of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), was staged on July 25, 1936 and featured an all African-American cast. Find out more about this production by visiting the Today in History section, then follow the links below to access more primary source treasures related to this play and other FTP works.

The Play That Electrified Harlem article

The Play That Electrified Harlem story map that explores the 1936 production of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth by the Negro Unit of the Federal Theater Project | CSV file

Macbeth: items from the 1936 production by Orson Welles

Macbeth New York production images

Macbeth (various) images

Negro Version of “Macbeth” Coming to Detroit Theatre The Detroit Tribune. (Detroit, Mich.), 05 Sept. 1936

Macbeth to Open Monday at Lafayette Theatre The Detroit Tribune. (Detroit, Mich.), 12 Sept. 1936

Orson Welles historical newspaper coverage

Macbeth historical newspaper coverage

Periodical articles

Macbeth at the Library of Congress Teaching with the Library of Congress blog post April 16, 2015

Related resources