La MaMa Blogs

Thursday, August 20, 2020

La MaMa Umbria International - Re-imagined

In the midst of travel restrictions and social isolation, a collective of innovative artists from around the world gathered online for La MaMa’s first Virtual Umbria Symposium with Emily Mann, Michael Mayer, Nambi E. Kelley, Martha Clarke and more.

For 20 years, La MaMa has provided international theatre artists with space of experimentation and education at our Umbria campus in Spoleto, Italy. This summer, the program evolved to a digital environment. Directors and playwrights joined seven renowned theatre artists for master classes in communal theatre-making, anti-racism theory, and creative resilience.

“The most surprising thing we learned was that you really can create a community over Zoom,” commented David Diamond, Umbria International Coordinator. “A benefit of this format is that you can have such different types of personal interactions within a group.”

Though some workshop participants were thousands of miles away from one another, Diamond notes that collaborative projects and plans for the future have emerged. “Ellen taught us to bring people together,” said Diamond, “and realize the potential of having an amazing confluence of artists in a room.”

The Symposium’s participants celebrate the rich experience of creating a space of togetherness with other artists. “I have never participated in a learning opportunity for directors that was as loving and supportive as the Umbria Directors Symposium,” remarked a participating artist. “I feel focused and filled with hope.”

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Murielle Borst-Tarrant receives Mellon Foundation Awards Residency at La MaMa

Murielle Borst-Tarrant from the Kuna & Rappahanock Nations selected for a three-year residency from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Playwright Residency Program (NPRP). La MaMa is chosen as the host theatre.

Playwright, director, and major advocate for the NYC Native American theatre community, Murielle has been involved with La MaMa for most of her life. She embodies La MaMa’s mission to inspire empowerment and social transformation through the arts.

“It is bittersweet to be awarded this residency during the recent loss of my husband Kevin Tarrant who died of complications due to covid-19. Kevin was a great believer in my work and was my biggest supporter.

Although we cannot continue to enjoy our lives together, this residency will help me fulfill my goals as a theatre maker.

I thank the staff at La MaMa, The staff and ensemble of Safe Harbors NYC, Spiderwoman Theater, Pangea World Theater, Linda Chapman, Morgan Jennesse, Jim Nicolla, Faithe Merrick, my family, and always my loving husband Kevin. I am humbled to be included in this group of theatre makers.”   

Murielle Borst-Tarrant
Director of Safe Harbors Indigenous Collective


More about Murielle Borst-Tarrant:  CLICK HERE

In 2012, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and HowlRound launched the National Playwright Residency Program (NPRP) in response to the increasing difficulty for playwrights to earn a living. More about the residency program: CLICK HERE

Friday, June 12, 2020

Work Resumes on 74 East 4th Street!

After nearly three months, work on our renovations of 74 East 4th Street, the first permanent home of Ellen Stewart's La MaMa, resume with NYC entering phase one of reopening after shutdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Below are photos of a new concrete floor being poured:

To learn more about the plans for our capital project and to find out how you can help: 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

A Message From Mia

April 28, 2020          

Dear Friends,

In these past three weeks, there is not one day that goes by that I don’t think about La MaMa’s treasured resident set designer, Jun Maeda, who died on April 6 due to complications related to the Covid-19 virus. In some moments I am filled with deep sadness, overwhelmed with the loss and with all the loss that is happening around us.  Mostly though I hold on and remember that we live on in the people that we touch.  His exquisite art, unwavering creative force and magic live in the spaces where he worked at La MaMa, in the sculptures and art pieces he made, and of course in our hearts.

With Maeda’s passing, I cannot help but think of generations of La MaMa that came before us.  I go back to the beginnings when Ellen Stewart started La MaMa. She didn’t set out to establish a theatre, but her friends were theatre artists and they needed space to create.  Now with our theatres closed, La MaMa is focused on the virtual space for artists as we continue to present a multiplicity of perspectives and to experiment with different artistic mediums and theatrical forms.

Ellen used theatre as a vehicle to bring global communities together; now we are leveraging the internet and other emerging technologies as creative tools for making art and connecting people around the world. Since 2009, La MaMa in partnership with Seoul Institute of the Arts founded CultureHub. Together we have been exploring emerging technologies, making online art and educational programs, and livestreaming countless productions.

Artists need to be in this space, to inform how these online platforms can be used for art. In the artist’s hands, work generated online will expand our understanding and potential of this new venue where we can gather as humans, as a community. During this crisis, the numbers of viewers in our livestreams have drastically increased. Each stream shows viewers from various states, as well as in countries across the globe.

The impact and access of the artists’ work to go beyond the four walls of our theatres is how we imagine La MaMa’s future. La MaMa will always present live performance in our theatres and nothing will replace the need for us to experience something in a physical space together.  When our work resumes in the theatres, these online explorations will continue and inform how artists can make/share work and how audiences can be engaged. For now we are postponing our productions for the rest of the season but we forge ahead to experiment and collaborate with our artists online through the summer.

Life is changing around us and as we process where we are and where we are headed, art creates an environment of sensitivity which opens up the possibility for change. La MaMa has always been shaped by its community of artists and audiences. It is all of you who give me energy and hope. In exploring what new experiences we can create I am inspired by Maeda who never stopped working until his last days. I feel his spirit in this endeavor to never stop experimenting and examining our humanity through artistic creation.



Thursday, April 2, 2020

New La MaMa Podcast: Amy Rox Surratt chats with Split Britches

Photo by Christa Holka

In the latest edition of the La MaMa Podcast, Amy Rox Surratt chats with Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw of Split Britches.