Theatre Within History Print E-mail

Theatre Within was founded as a theater workshop in 1962 by maverick director/therapist Alec Rubin and as a not-for-profit Performing Arts Presenter in 2006 by comedian/producer Joe Raiola.

1962-1977
Theatre Within was originally known as Theater of Encounter and regarded as one of New York’s most fearlessly experimental companies. Founder Alec Rubin was a master teacher who developed a simple and ground-breaking technique for performing artists to access deep feelings and create emotionally-charged work for the stage. Under his innovative direction, Theater of Encounter produced countless original theater and dance performances, most notably Why Is A Crooked Letter (1966) featuring a young Al Pacino.


Alec Rubin at the Theatre Within Studio................................Al Pacino and scene partner at
.......................................................................................................the
Theatre Within studio,
.......................................................................................................circa 1967

1978-1990
Reflecting his growing conviction that core inner work was the key to unlocking the artist’s full potential, Alec renamed his company “Theatre Within,” while teaching ongoing classes in “primal theater” at his Center For Feelings And Creativity. In the late 70s, Joe Raiola, then an aspiring young stand-up, joined the workshop and began an ongoing collaboration with Alec that would last over 25 years. In 1981 they created the Annual John Lennon Tribute, which Alec directed for two decades, with Joe assisting in all areas.


1991-2005
In 1991, Alec established a residence in Miami Beach, where he founded a second Theatre Within company, leaving Joe to direct the winter season in New York. When Alec relocated to Florida full time in 2001, Joe took over as the Artistic Director of the Annual John Lennon Tribute and soon re-envisioned the show, breaking away from its traditional improvisational theater format and establishing it as a charity concert. On November 10, 2005, one month before the 25th Annual John Lennon Tribute was held at Lincoln Center, Alec Rubin died in Miami Beach after suffering a stroke.



The cast of Take Five, 2002: Wendy Osserman (top),
Carla Bianco, Joe Raiola (middle), Nuria Divi,
Charlie Kelly (bottom)


2006-Present

In 2006, Joe Raiola established Theatre Within as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit Performing Arts Presenter committed to “furthering the role of the performing arts as a positive force through concerts, theater productions and workshops.” Under his leadership, the Annual John Lennon Tribute evolved from its modest beginnings to a full-scale professional production, attracting top artists and benefiting local and international charities. The Theatre Within Workshop, now in it's sixth decade, continues to provide performing artists at all levels of experience with a nurturing environment for project development and professional and personal growth.


Bettye LaVette, ...............
....................Patti Smith and Cyndi Lauper,...........Judy Collins,
29th Annual John Lennon ...............30th Annual John Lennon ..................32nd Annual John Lennon
Tribute ..................... ...........................Tribute ..................... ..............................Tribute