The Eckler Lecture

About the Lecturer

For most of its history Living Theatre was led by its founders, actress Judith Malina and painter/poet Julian Beck; after Beck's death in 1985, company member Hanon Reznikov became co-director with Malina. After Malina's death in 2015, her responsibilities were taken over by the anarchist company. The Living Theatre and its founders were the subject of the 1983 documentary Signals Through The Flames.  From its inception, The Living Theatre was dedicated to transforming the organization of power within society from a competitive, hierarchical structure to cooperative and communal expression. The troupe attempts to do so by counteracting complacency in the audience through direct spectacle. They oppose the commercial orientation of Broadway productions and have contributed to the off-Broadway theater movement in New York City, staging poetic dramas.

Lecture Description

For this year’s Eckler lecture the Theatre Department is happy to announce a residency by the Living Theatre Workshop.  The Living Theatre is an American theatre company founded in 1947 and based in New York City. It is the oldest experimental theatre group in the United States. 

Co-Founders of the Workshop attached to the company, Lois Kagan Mingus and Jerry Goralnick will be in residence on the Mount Union campus from October 26th through the 29th.  In keeping with the fall lecture series theme of Facing our Fears the workshop leaders will be working with interested Mount Union students to create a performance piece entitled A Day in the Life of the City that will be performed on October 29th in the Gallaher Black Box Theatre. 

About the Eckler Lecture

Mount Union established the Mary W. & Eric A. Eckler Endowment in Literature and Drama in 1981 through a trust given by the late Mr. and Mrs. John A. Cummins. Both Dr. and Mrs. Eckler were long-time faculty members in Mount Union's English department.

Mrs. Cummins, formerly Dorothy Nelson, was a 1929 graduate of Mount Union and was a student of the Ecklers. The trust was given in appreciation of the Ecklers' years of service to the College and the community. The income from the trust is used annually to bring a person to the campus for one or more programs in literature and drama.

Dr. Eckler was a member of the English department at Mount Union from 1922 until the time of his death in 1955. Known to hundreds of students through the years as "Pop," Dr. Eckler served in many campus and community capacities. In addition to his position as a professor of English language and literature, he was chairman of the department from 1922 to 1954. 

A graduate of Washington and Jefferson College, he earned his master of arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his doctoral degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Eckler's wife, Mary W. Eckler, was an associate professor of English at the College from 1922 until 1964. Known as "Mom" to many Mount Union students, Mrs. Eckler earned her bachelor of arts degree from the University of Michigan and her master of arts degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

She received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Cabinet of Mount Union Women in 1962. She was named one of Mount Union's first McKinley Fellows in 1993.

 

Past Eckler Lecturers

1981

John Chappell, actor

1982

W. D. Snodgrass, poet

1983

Vincent Dowling, actor and director

1983

Arthur Kincaid and Deirdre Barber, actors

1984

Laura Whyte, actress

1985

Cyril Mallett and Jean Lane, actors

1986

John Maxwell, actor

1987

James Mitchell Lear, actor, and David Walters, director

1988

Elaine Sulka, director

1989

Natalie Ross, actress

1990

Brenda Wong Aoki, actress

1991

Mark Stevenson, actor

1992

Ken Richters, actor

1993

Joy Harlo, poet

1994

Kent R. Brown, professor of drama

1995

Amy Hempel, author

1996

Joy Harjo, poet

1997

Carolyn Forche, poet

1998

no lecture

1999

no lecture

2000

Tobias Wolff, author

2001

Brian Bedford, actor

2002

Jason Marr, actor

2003

Bret Lott, author

2004

Robert Olen Butler and Elizabeth Dewberry, authors

2005

Cleo Laine and the John Dankworth Band, jazz musicians

2005

Nikki Giovanni, poet

2006

William S. Yellowrobe Jr., playwright

2007

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, acclaimed novelist and poet

2009

Paula Vogel, playwright and author

2010

David Giffels, author and journalist

2012

Philip Gerard, author and professor

2014

Phillip Richards, author and English professor at Colgate University

2015

Dan Wilson, professional actor, writer and director

2016

Azar Nafisi, national bestselling author and professor of aesthetics, culture, and literature

2017

Living Theatre, theatre production 

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