The Eckler Lecture

Living Theatre

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.  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


John Chappell, actor


W. D. Snodgrass, poet


Vincent Dowling, actor and director


Arthur Kincaid and Deirdre Barber, actors


Laura Whyte, actress


Cyril Mallett and Jean Lane, actors


John Maxwell, actor


James Mitchell Lear, actor, and David Walters, director


Elaine Sulka, director


Natalie Ross, actress


Brenda Wong Aoki, actress


Mark Stevenson, actor


Ken Richters, actor


Joy Harlo, poet


Kent R. Brown, professor of drama


Amy Hempel, author


Joy Harjo, poet


Carolyn Forche, poet


no lecture


no lecture


Tobias Wolff, author


Brian Bedford, actor


Jason Marr, actor


Bret Lott, author


Robert Olen Butler and Elizabeth Dewberry, authors


Cleo Laine and the John Dankworth Band, jazz musicians


Nikki Giovanni, poet


William S. Yellowrobe Jr., playwright


Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, acclaimed novelist and poet


Paula Vogel, playwright and author


David Giffels, author and journalist


Philip Gerard, author and professor


Phillip Richards, author and English professor at Colgate University


Dan Wilson, professional actor, writer and director


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


Living Theatre, theatre production 

To The Top!