Joseph Papp, in conversation with James Day, from the broadcast of January 31, 1974. One of the most revolutionary figures in 20th century Theatre – taking what was, by the 1950s a potentially fading art, and injecting new life and a spirit into it that went on for decades after.
Unfortunately, if you didn’t live in New York, smack in the middle of Manhattan or one of the boroughs within easy access, you missed out on some amazing moments, and probably most of what Joseph Papp did had very little affect on you – to a degree. He championed the idea of performing Shakespeare in parks and taking Theatre to neighborhoods far removed from Broadway – to schools and vacant lots, turning people on to the magic of theatre who had never experienced it before. His Shakespeare In The Park in New York’s Central Park has become a staple of Manhattan summer life every year since 1957. And it has always been free. That concept of bringing theatre to everyone caught on all over the country, and many people who had never seen live Theatre before were getting exposure. And because Papp was also a champion of new writers, the new blood of playwrights was flowing.
When Joseph Papp died in 1991 it created a hole that still remains to be filled. One that is needed more now than ever.
As a reminder of Joseph Papp, the man and the force behind a revolutionary movement for change, here is that interview as part of the Day For Night series in 1974.
And while you’re here, can I bug you for a second? As you may know by now, we’re doing our annual Past Daily Fall Fundraiser – once a year we pass the hat in order to pay the bills and to keep the site up and running (and pay for the site, which was completely revamped a few months ago) as well as getting a lot of vintage equipment repaired and running so we can continue digitizing the massive Sound Archive which we use for these posts. We’re not asking for a lot; the price of a cup of coffee or a movie ticket. And we’ve been blown away by your response in just one day. But we have a ways still left to go – so if you can, give what you can. Contribute to a worthy cause: History and keeping it alive.
Just click on the link here (Past Daily Fall Fundraiser) and make your pledge. Very easy, painless and quick. And we’ll love you to pieces for it!