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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Related Collections
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Geraldine Lust Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1959-1972,
    Date (bulk): (bulk 1960-1969)
    Collection number: D-139
    Creator: Lust, Geraldine
    Extent: 1.6 linear feet
    Repository: University of California, Davis. General Library. Dept. of Special Collections.
    100 North West Quad
    Davis, California, 95616-5292
    Abstract: New York theater producer and director Geraldine Lust (1920-1987) began her career in modern dance and choreography. She later studied acting and directing. In the 1950s, Lust established Stella Adler's drama classes and produced and directed off-Broadway. She also directed plays and developed an Artaud Workshop for the Living Theatre. In 1960, Lust obtained the American rights to Jean Genet's The Blacks, which ran for four years off-Broadway. In 1963, she conducted workshops and directed for the Open Theater. In 1967, Lust unsuccessfully attempted to produce a college tour revival of The Blacks and a film version of Genet's The Screens. The Geraldine Lust Papers (1959-1972, bulk 1960-1969) primarily relates to The Blacks and includes correspondence, investor information, contracts, programs, clippings, and photographic prints.
    Physical location: Researchers should contact Special Collections to request collections, as many are stored offsite.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research under regular Reading Room rules and copyright restrictions.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright is protected by the copyright law, chapter 17 of the U.S. Code. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections, General Library, University of California, Davis as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Geraldine Lust Papers, D-139, Department of Special Collections, University of California Library, Davis, California.

    Acquisition Information

    In 1979 and 1981, Geraldine Lust donated this collection to the Library.

    Processing Information

    Lola Aguilar processed this collection and created its finding aid. Melissa Tyler encoded the finding aid.


    Biographical Narrative

    New York theater producer and director Geraldine Lust (1920-1987) began her career in modern dance and choreography. The daughter of theater chain owner Sydney Lust, she studied acting and directing. She then worked for producer Dale Wasserman on Broadway, a connection she maintained. In 1950, Lust established classes for Stella Adler's drama school. For the next ten years, she produced and directed off-Broadway plays. She also directed plays for Julian Beck and Judith Malina, founders and directors of the Living Theatre, and created a school for the company. While at the Living Theatre, Lust developed an Artaud Workshop based on Antonin Artaud's "Theater of Cruelty."
    Lust obtained the American rights to French author and playwright Jean Genet's The Blacks in 1960. With Lust as co-producer, the play opened on May 4, 1961 and ran for four years off-Broadway at St. Mark's Playhouse in New York City. Theater historians credit The Blacks with starting the "black movement" in American theater. While Genet's attempt to define the black experience angered African American critics, the play provided a showcase for the all-black cast, as well as steady employment. The cast included James Earl Jones, Roscoe Lee Brown, Lou Gossett Jr., Cicely Tyson, Godfrey Cambridge, and Maya Angelou.
    In 1963, Lust directed plays for the newly established Open Theater. She conducted an Artaud Workshop and a teenage workshop for the Open Theater. Beginning in 1967, Lust attempted for several years to produce a college tour revival of The Blacks and a film version of Genet's The Screens, both of which proved unsuccessful.
    Aslan, Odette. Roger Blin and Twentieth-Century Playwrights. Translated by Ruby Cohn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988.
    Banes, Sally. Greenwich Village 1963: Avant-Garde Performance and the Effervescent Body. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1993.
    Genet, Jean. The Blacks: A Clown Show. Translated by Bernard Frechtman. New York: Grove Press, 1960.
    Grossvogel, David I. The Blasphemers: The Theater of Brecht, Ionesco, Beckett, Genet. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1965.
    Hill, Errol G. and James V. Hatch. A History of African American Theatre. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
    Sainer, Arthur. The Radical Theatre Notebook. New York: Discus Books, 1975.
    Webb, Richard C., ed. File on Genet. London: Methuen Drama, 1962.
    Williams, Mance. Black Theatre in the 1960s and 1970s: A Historical-Critical Analysis of the Movement. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1985.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Geraldine Lust Papers is arranged in five series: 1. Correspondence, 2. Financial Documents, 3. Legal Documents, 4. Printed Material, and 5. Photographic Material. Items primarily relate to Lust's role as producer for The Blacks and span the years 1959 to 1972, with the bulk of the collection dating from 1960 to 1969. The first series includes correspondence from Julian Beck and Judith Malina, Anne Bancroft, Rosica Colin, James Earl Jones, Roger Blin, Toby Cole, Robert Hooks, Arthur Penn, Jerome Robbins, Ione Robinson, Herbert Ross, and Gordon Taylor. Financial and legal documents include information on the plays, The Blacks and The Screens by Jean Genet. The collection includes clippings about other producers, directors, actors, costume designers, plays, and films. Two photographic prints are included in the collection.

    Related Collections

    Other material related to the Geraldine Lust Papers may be found in the following collections at Special Collections:
    D-055: Cole, Toby Archives
    D-187: Living Theatre Collection

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Library's online access catalog:


    Lust, Geraldine
    Beck, Julian
    Colin, Rosica
    Genet, Jean, 1910-
    Malina, Judith, 1926-
    Living Theatre (New York, N.Y.)
    African American theater
    American drama--20th century
    Experimental theater
    Performing arts
    Theater--Production and direction