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La Mama Theatre is nationally and internationally acknowledged as a crucible for cutting edge, contemporary theatre since 1967.
Valued by artists and audiences alike, La Mama is treasured for its continued advocacy of those seeking to explore beyond mainstream theatre.
As a not-for-profit association, La Mama is producing work by theatre makers of all backgrounds and encouraging works that deconstruct and critique form, content and social issues. Described by its founder Betty Burstall as “essentially a playwright’s theatre, a place where new ideas, new ways of expression can be tried out, a place were you can hear what people are thinking and feeling”, La Mama is the home of alternative and experimental local theatre.
La Mama’s model of giving artists upfront funding to present work in a rent-free venue, with 80% box-office return, is unique in Australia. This model supports a high artistic risk/low financial risk proposition for artists and encourages a high volume of activity. In addition access to rehearsal and meeting space, administrative, marketing and technical support and ticketing means for artists, lack of money and infrastructure is no barrier.
La Mama seeks to identify projects, productions and programming opportunities which give a forum to a diversity of theatrical forms; play with, question and extend contemporary performance practice and aesthetics; redress social inequity by promoting social and cultural diversity; challenge, enlighten and empower audiences. La Mama seeks to prioritise new Australian works, created by theatre makers from all backgrounds.
La Mama facilitates the development of people, providing opportunities, pathways and creative empowerment on an incomparable scale. Emerging artists see La Mama as an entry point to the industry, established artists return to La Mama for the unparalleled freedom and artists and audiences from around Australia and the world come to be part of the iconic institution.
La Mama’s list of Alumni reads like the who’s who of Australian theatre including such greats as David Williamson, Cate Blanchett, Jack Hibberd, Graeme Blundell, Judith Lucy and Julia Zemiro. La Mama is proud to play a crucial role in fostering the distinguished careers of so many established and emerging Australian artists.
In recent years, La Mama artists such as The Rabble, Daniel Schlusser and Nicola Gunn have gone on to perform at the Melbourne International Festival and MTC’s NEON Festival of Independent Theatre. La Mama veteran Jack Charles continues to work across the country, and in 2013 La Mama regular Ben Grant was touring internationally with Robert Lapage.