Judith Martin was raised in Newark, NJ, and commuted to New York City for dance and drama lessons. After high school, she studied dance and drama at the Neighborhood Playhouse and children’s theater at The New Theater School. She became interested in modern dance in the 1940s, studying with Martha Graham and dancing with the Merce Cunningham Company and the Anna Sokolow Dance Company. In 1950, she formed the Judith Martin Dance Company. She also taught dance and drama to children in New York City and New Jersey. In her work with children, she began to experiment with improvisation and to develop an appreciation for what captured the imagination of children. This led her to co-found a children's theater company, The Paper Bag Players, in 1958. In 1956, she had married Solomon Miller, an anthropologist, with whom she had a daughter. She wrote, designed, choreographed, directed, and performed in Paper Bag Players shows, combining music, dance, painting, and storytelling. The shows included Hot Feet, I Won’t Take a Bath! Dandelion, and When My Cousin Slept Over. From its early performances on the Lower East Side of New York, the company grew to tour the USA, Canada, the UK, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.