Malina, Judith, 1926-....

Alternative names
Birth 1926-06-04

Biographical notes:

Judith Malina, director, producer, poet, and actress, was born in Kiel, Germany and emigrated to New York before the War.

In 1948 she was married to the painter Julian Beck, and together they founded The Living Theatre. The Living Theatre had its inaugural season in 1951 at the Cherry Lane Theatre and later moved to a loft on 100th Street. The company, which was dedicated to a non-commercial theater that would be a part of the community and perform the works of contemporary artists, was known in this early period for its productions of works by Pirandello, Brecht, Stein, William Carlos Williams, Paul Goodman, Kenneth Rexroth and others. In 1959, after several years of preparation, The Living Theatre moved to a theater on 14th Street, where they performed until 1963 when failure to pay taxes forced the closure of the theater and the company's subsequent move to Europe.

From the description of Judith Malina diaries, 1947-1959. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122486604

Judith Malina, actress, director, producer and poet, was one of the founding members of the experimental theater group The Living Theatre. Born in Keil, Germany in 1926, Malina came to the United States before World War II. In 1948 she married painter Julian Beck and with the collaboration of Merce Cunningham, James Agee, John Cage and others formed a company that would challenge traditional theater norms. Their "living" theater reflected the hope of creating a non-commercial, community theater that invited audience participation.

The first performances of the Living Theatre were held in the Becks' New York apartment in 1951. Later that same year they moved to the Cherry Lane Theatre and opened their inaugural season with works by Gertrude Stein, Paul Goodman and Kenneth Rexroth. In 1954, the Living Theatre again relocated and was performing in a loft at 100th Street and Broadway.

By 1957, Malina and Beck were searching for a third location, found a vacant department store at 14th Street and Sixth Avenue, and began renovation. The diaries end at this point in the history of the Living Theatre.

From the guide to the Judith Malina diaries, 1947-1959, (The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.)


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  • Theatrical producers and directors
  • Actors
  • Experimental theater
  • Peace movements--United States--History--20th century
  • Experimental theater--New York (State)--New York
  • Peace movements--20th century
  • Pacifists--United States--20th century
  • Pacifists--20th century


  • Designer


  • New York (State)--New York (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)