The Voodoo Macbeth is a common nickname for the Federal Theatre Project's 1936 New York production of William Shakespeare's Macbeth. Orson Welles adapted and directed the production, moved the play's setting from Scotland to a fictional Caribbean island, recruited an entirely African American cast, and earned the nickname for his production from the Haitian vodou that fulfilled the role of Scottish witchcraft.
A box office sensation, the production is regarded as a landmark theatrical event for several reasons: its innovative interpretation of the play, its success in promoting African-American theatre, and its role in securing the reputation of its 20-year-old director.
The Works Project Administration was an attempt at an economic stimulus during the Great Depression, under its aegis was Federal Project Number One responsible for generating jobs in the arts for which the Federal Theater Project was created.
At the lobbying of civil rights activists a Negro Theater Unit was created. It was split into two halves, the "Contemporary Branch" to create theatre on contemporary black issues, and the "Classic Branch", to perform classic drama.
The aim was to provide a point of entry into the theatre workforce for black actors and stagehands, and to raise community pride by performing classic plays without reference to the color of the actors.