A star of the avant-garde Vilna Troupe, Bella Bellarina was beloved on the Yiddish stage but faded to obscurity when her lack of English prevented her from transitioning to mainstream theater. Bellarina began studying at the Warsaw School of Drama in 1916, where she was discovered by David Herman, future director of the Vilna Troupe. He first encouraged her to join the local dramatic clubs, then hired her for the troupe in 1918. They toured Europe for several years before their New York debut in 1924, performing Yiddish classics as well as new plays and specializing in serious drama. Bellarina was known for her dramatic range, playing the mischievous tomboy Tsine in Grine Felder and the reserved, ladylike Leah in The Dybbuk. She toured with various companies through North and South America throughout the 1930s, but by the 1940s, Yiddish theaters began to close and Bellarina’s language barrier closed her off from both the English-language theater scene and movie roles.
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Jewish Women's Archive. "Bella Bellarina." (Viewed on September 18, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/bellarina-bella>.