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Living Theatre Creates Film Production Branch

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The Living Theatre has a new creative outlet: film!  The legendary company, which recently gave up its home on Clinton Street, is forming “Love Every Style Productions (L.E.S.)”  Brad Burgess, the Living Theatre’s executive producer, talked with us recently about the new project, which is meant to expand the theater’s reach, to engage with a new digital audience.

The creation of L.E.S. Productions does not mean the Living Theatre is abandoning the stage.  It’s latest production, “Here We Are,” closed on Clinton Street last month, as Judith Malina’s experimental company works towards establishing a new home at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center.  “Here We Are” will make a return engagement at CSV next Tuesday-Friday.  Malina, who lived above the Clinton Street theater space, has moved to the Lillian Booth Actors’ Home in New Jersey; she remains creative director of the company she co-founded in 1947.

Living Theatre co-founders Judith Malina, Julian Beck.
Living Theatre co-founders Judith Malina, Julian Beck. Beck died in 1985.

The film production company will be led by Burgess, along with Living Theatre members Albert Lamont and Eric Olson. They’re already working on the first project, a short starring Malina, with Burgess, Lamont and Olson in supporting roles.  They are not quite ready to announce the subject matter, but Burgess said it would be a “sweetheart surprise to the community.”

There will be local fundraising campaigns in support of each project  in order to, as Burgess put it, nurture a  “community of engaged and invested producers participating in the creation of art they can care about and (that they) feel is also theirs.”  Half of the money raised for each film will go to a charitable cause tied to the subject matter.  Relieved of the intense financial pressures surrounding the Clinton Street lease, Burgess explained,  the Living Theatre is “looking for creative fundraising ideas that bring arts groups and artists and local community together in ways that are mutually beneficial and that dynamically encourage progressive social political behavior.”

He noted that Malina historically used the money earned in her film roles to support the Living Theatre’s productions.  As the company begins a new era, film is once again being looked at as a way to ensure that her  “Beautiful Nonviolent Anarchist Revolution” lives on, and thrives, in the years to come.



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