"Chicago had a big Republic Steel plant on the Southside. Memorial Day in 1937, the strikers had a picnic on those grounds. There was fried chicken, potato salad, women, kids, songs, baseball, and there was some cops there. . . . Someone threw a stone, and you know cops started shooting, shot ten guys in the back, and they killed those ten guys….
Here’s where the Federal Theatre came in. Cradle Will Rock was about a steel strike. Cradle Will Rock was metaphorical, a pro-union play and was considered evolutionary and outrageous. So that’s the kind of stuff we used to do."—Studs Terkel
"I was in Macbeth. I played one of the witches. I also remember so many fights in the lobby about having people of black skin play Shakespearean shows. If it was a maid’s role go ahead, but if it was something like that from the classics. . . . Mr. Welles would raise hell if anybody was in the least nasty to me or tried to ignore me or tried to confuse me. Orson Welles was something else I’m telling you."—Rosetta LeNoire
"The Federal Theatre was a part of a movement in America to put people to work. Among the unemployed people, as well as mechanics and metal workers, were actors and artists. And this wonderful idea to put them to work in the cultural field was such a big moment for America—for education . . . for culture—that we still mourn the loss."—Jules Dassin
"In the Depression, it was all but impossible for a Left writer not to think of the act of writing as a fulcrum for social change."—Arthur Miller
"The miracle of the Federal Theatre lies precisely in this—that from a drab and painful relief project there sprang the liveliest, most innovative, and most original theatre of its era."—John Houseman