Shulamit Bat-Dori defied widely held notions about the inappropriateness of theater in the kibbutz, creating popular and acclaimed plays for the masses. Born Shulamit Gutgeld, Bat-Dori was immersed in music, theater, dance and languages from an early age and began studying at a Warsaw university at age sixteen. Following her Zionist brother, Mordecai Bentov, Bat-Dori joined Ha-Shomer ha-Za’ir and made Aliyah in 1923. She joined Kibbutz B (later Mishmar ha-Emek) and worked as a house plasterer. She created a play, Bread, for International Worker’s Day, and the American writer Waldo Frank and a travelling journalist both praised the innovative performance. She travelled to Poland to aid members of Ha-Shomer ha-Zair and studied theater and dance in Berlin, learning to use performance as a vehicle for political statements. After returning to Israel in 1934, she joined the Matate Theater and founded the Kibbutz ha-Arzi Company, inciting fury among conservatives for her portrayals of the problems of new olim and causing her first play When You, a Simple Man, Set Out on Your Way to be banned “on grounds of public safety.” Undaunted, she continued to write, direct, and perform for huge audiences. From 1965–1974 she also taught theater at Tel Aviv University.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Shulamit Bat-Dori." (Viewed on December 15, 2018) <https://jwa.org/people/bat-dori-shulamit>.