Fran Belin

In the mid 1960’s, she moved to Greenwich Village to take a position working for American playwright, Maryat Lee. One day, as she relates in her 2010 book, Gone But Not Forgotten, she was riding an uptown bus when she noticed a sign which read: “ Make New York a better place, leave!” And so she did!

In 1971, she and her daughter, Anina, along with Maryat Lee, left New York City for the mountains of West Virginia, having purchased a small farm in Powley Creek near Hinton. At that time, a back-to-the-land movement was taking place in several rural states and land in West Virginia was extremely cheap. A few years after settling in and learning how to navigate life “up the holler” without the external stimulation of city life or her much loved bialys and bagels, she and Maryat initiated a street theater performance company, Eco Theatre, which developed drama productions out of oral histories in Appalachia – Ole Miz Dacey and John Henry among them. In embracing local residents and their personal stories, the strange newcomers gradually became welcomed by and embedded in their new West Virginia community.

In the early 1980’s, Fran relocated to nearby Lewisburg and secured a studio teaching/apartment where she continued to give private…

Click here to read full content