During the depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked congress to set aside funds to create employment opportunities for writers, directors and actors, fulfilling President and Eleanor Franklin’s desire to provide support for aspiring artists. Work Projects Administration (WPA) funds were distributed to help establish theatrical communities and theaters. Davies Hall was built for Theatre Americana at Farnsworth Park in Altadena, California where they became the resident theater for many years.

During those years, Theatre Americana thrived and produced over 500 plays and staged readings, along with playwriting contests for aspiring writers across the United States. Some of the plays went on to make their debut on Broadway, and it was not uncommon for Theatre Americana to welcome some well-known celebrities both on stage and off.

Theatre Americana Cast (date unknown)

At one point TA had 500 active members, some of which were part of the Hollywood and L.A. theatre and entertainment industry. Because of the diverse background and multi-talent of the members, costumes and set designs looked authentic and were very detailed.

Set Design (circa. 1960)

Theatre Americana is combining old traditions with new ones. We continue to uphold the tradition of producing original plays by American playwrights. In addition, we have implemented writing and acting workshops, and continue to explore new opportunities to help others grow both personally and artistically. We have reached out and collaborated with organizations to help bring the arts to audiences of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds and raise social awareness on issues that affect the safety and well-being of our communities. Our history plays an important part in contributing to the culture and richness of our community.

Honoring the dreams and hard work of our predecessors, we bring energy and innovative ideas to make Theatre Americana what it is today.

Beloved actor, friend and father
(May 20, 1943 – February 21, 2010)