La MaMa Blogs: 2020

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Artistic Directors’ International Online Meetings

 Artistic Directors’ International Online Meetings



Artistic Directors’ International Online Meetings


Broadcast from Nov 24th Dec 6th 2020, for free 

Available in both Japanese and English

TMT website:


Session1 (English (Japanese



As the host panelist from Japan, Hideki Noda of Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre joins the talk.

Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre(TMT) organize “Artistic Directors International Online Meeting” as a special edition of TMT Autumn Selection of Tokyo Festival. Tokyo Festival have decided to hold the festival this year, in the belief that an international performing arts festival is needed to prevent Tokyo from closing its diverse circuits. Therefore, as a part of the festival, TMT specially invite world leading artists and directors with whom TMT planned to work together this year or with whom TMT have a strong bond, to get together online and hold hot discussion. Hideki Noda, the artistic director of TMT will join as the host panelist. Such a gorgeous gathering which would not have been realized if it is nor for this occasion, will extend the exciting talk. 2 sessions of online discussion will be held with ZOOM, and the recording will be streamed for about two weeks.

SESSION 1:   Theatre artists about our times

The world’s leading directors discuss how the theatre of our times will survive this situation. Throughout history, theatre has experienced similarly difficult moments: plague, shutdowns, lockdowns. In the times of Shakespeare, for example. Can such disasters redefine it or not?

Guest Panelists

Didier Deschamps (Théâtre National de Chaillot)

Thomas Ostermeier (Schaubühne)

Ivo Van Hove (Internationaal Theater Amsterdam)

Host Panelist

Hideki Noda (Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre)


Octavian Saiu (theatre critic)

SESSION2: The present and the future of Art Festivals

The modern festival culture started after WWII, in a ruined world, when festivals became platforms of joy. What can we learn from this crisis and how could art festivals fulfill this mission again now? What is the role of international art festivals now?

Guest Panelist

Constantin Chiriac(Sibiu International Festival)

Yi-Ruu Liu(National Theater and Concert Hall, Taipei)

Host Panelist

Hideki Noda(Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre)


Octavian Saiu(theatre critic)

Video messages from:

Mark Ball(Manchester International Festival),

Tisa Ho(Hong Kong Arts Festival),

Damien Jalet(choreographer),

Robert Lepage(director, playwright, actor. Ex Machina),

Silviu Purcarete(director),

Mia Yoo(Artistic Director, La MaMa)

Monday, October 26, 2020

Interview with Split Britches (Lois Weaver & Peggy Shaw)

La MaMa: How would you describe Split Britches’ work?

Lois Weaver: It’s personal. It’s queer. It’s autobiographical, but it’s not autobiography that looks at our lives; it’s a way to use our lives to look at other things that are going on in the world. We look at things from our own personal points of view and combine those things, combine issues with personal experience to create primarily a text-based but also imagistic kind of performance that’s rooted in popular culture, humor, and queer and feminist aesthetics.

La MaMa: Have the current conditions of the world influenced your creative practice? If so, how?

Peggy Shaw: We’re very lucky because our work has always been based in what we’re going through, and it’s never been separate from our theatrical life. Our personal life and performance life have always informed each other. I went to London to rehearse Last Gasp for La MaMa in the spring for our opening of the show, and of course, I got there, and the pandemic really hit. And then the second show we had after La MaMa, which was Barbican, also got postponed, so I had nowhere to live. These wonderful people we know in London talked to their neighbor, and they gave them a key and said we just bought a house but we can’t do anything with it right now – it’s empty. It’s a Victorian house with a backyard. So we stayed in it for five months, and because we had the energy to make a show, we made a movie of the show with everything we had.

What did we have? We had two computers; we had a video camera which we didn’t use. We used Zoom. We made a Zoom Last Gasp, and it’s almost finished. Today’s the first time we’ve seen the whole thing all together as a total, complete work, and La MaMa’s going to present it in November. We think that because we are lucky and we didn’t know anybody who had COVID, and we’ve gone through things in our lives like the AIDS crisis, and starvation, and no money, we know how to survive. So we just survived, and actually did really well and have been very excited.

Lois Weaver: Peggy said something quite important, which underlines what I said. We make work from our lives. We use our work to help us understand what it is we’re going through. We always used our performance almost as a methodology for figuring out life. The other important thing she said is that we work with what we’ve got. We’ve always just worked with what we’ve got, so what we had was the necessity to stay home. How it has changed our work and or lives is that we’ve had to, in a sense, stay home in ways that we haven’t before. We’re usually all over the place, and we make our work all over the place. But there is a certain sense of what it means to stay, to be home, that’s changed, and we’ve been working with that. And that is an essential part of the residency. We’ve been working on something called Sheltered in Place. What does it mean to be sheltered, and what does it mean to be in one place, and what comes out of that? Those are the questions we’re asking.

La MaMa: Tell us about Care Café. What made you start it and how has it evolved since then?

Lois Weaver: I started it right after Donald Trump was elected president. Peggy and I had been going downtown and texting for Hillary [Clinton], and we had enjoyed the camaraderie of being in one place with people we didn’t necessarily know but having nice conversations and doing something. After he was elected, it felt like we needed to have a wake, or we needed to have an opportunity like a wake where people come together and acknowledge the circumstance of loss in this case. I also wanted to reclaim that feeling of being in a place with people I didn't necessarily know, having good conversations, and doing something. So, I used that structure to create this thing called the Care Café to give us a chance to come together and start to heal. I used that experience as what I call a protocol. It feels like a café. It looks like a room setup like a café. People walk in and sit down with people you probably don’t know and start to have very informal conversations while you are making something, or painting something, or cutting and pasting something, or writing postcards – all under a roof of care. There’s no agenda, and there’s no discussion led by anyone in particular. It’s just a way to be together. The activity that we do, and there’s different activities each time, is just a way to take our mind off things so we can have proper conversations.

Peggy Shaw: I always think of a story when Lois’ mother finally had a couple of her kids raised, and she was going to go out to work and she was so excited. She put on her shoes and jacket and left the house, and she found out she was pregnant with Lois. She just went back into the house, took off her coat, put on the coffee, and started over. It’s just that – not even trying to control anything, but it’s just, ok, how are we going to survive this? It’s survival without anxiety in a way.

The worst part of the pandemic seems to be a lot of people grinding their teeth and not sleeping. It’s true, of course, especially when you have no money to pay your rent, but there is something about just saying: Well that didn’t work. Let’s make a new life. Let’s go back to what we think of as the old America, not what Donald Trump thinks of it, but people planning new wonderful things that don’t manipulate a system but just make a new system.

La MaMa: Tell us about your residency with La MaMa this season.

Lois Weaver: We’re always in residence at La MaMa. Even when we’re not there, we are somehow at home in La MaMa. We know that it’s always our home ,and we’re always considered as family, and we’re always connected. Even now in doing these digital residencies, and a little bit later we will be in physical residency, it doesn’t matter. We are always there. We are always at home there. That feels like a really important backdrop for the work we’re trying to do now.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

La MaMa Launches Patreon Memberships

La MaMa is launching Patreon Memberships to view this season's Online Happenings on-demand as well as special events and selections from the La MaMa Archive.

All of La MaMa's Online Happenings will remain free 
when broadcast live this season.

Join for as little as $2 per month!

Become a Patron!

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

La MaMa Stands With Belarus

On the evening of September 9, 2020, exactly one month after the elections in Belarus, cultural organizations around the world joined Belarus Free Theatre’s Global Artistic Campaign in Solidarity with Belarus by lighting up our facade (with help from CultureHub's Sangmin Chae and Billy Clark).

Since the election, Belarus has witnessed its biggest protests in modern history, as the Belarusian people have defied threats of a government crackdown to continue protesting the falsified election results. This weekend more than 100,000 people filled Independence Avenue in Minsk calling for Alexander Lukashenko to step down, with marches also taking place in 33 cities across the country, including Brest, Vitebsk and Grodno. The EU has stated that it does not recognize Lukashenko as Belarus’s president and is moving forward with targeted sanctions on members of his regime.



Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Interview With Downtown Icon Yoshiko Chuma

LA MAMA: How would you describe your work as an artist? 

YOSHIKO CHUMA: For me, inspiration and creation are a kind of laboratory, almost like a science. I am always observing; always had a vision, in a very mathematical sense. Very often, we want to be categorized. Am I a dancer? Yes. Am I a choreographer? Yes. I direct for the theatre, yes. I can be an actor, a performer, a designer – yes. I am really more of a scientist, or a mathematician. 

My work with The School of Hard Knocks comes from the idea that you learn the hard way, and you are often uncomfortable when you don’t know where you’re landing. Those ideas are almost always present in my productions. 

LA MAMA: Tell us about your Saturday Morning Live: Zooma - Dead End - series and your upcoming 24-hour performance, Love Story: The School of Hard Knocks. 

YOSHIKO CHUMA: When I came to NY, I went to a taping of Saturday Night Live. I’ve known Lenny Pickett [musical director of SNL] and his wife Kathy [dancer] since 1978-79. Kathy called me one day and said, “what are you doing on Saturday?” So, we went, and I observed, and it’s very interesting how SNL participates with the audience. 

When you are watching SNL in your living room, you see advertisements. But when you’re there live, and they call “CUT,” you see every single change…the set, the costumes, every kind of person coming through; stage managers, special guests…and it’s moment-to-moment until they go, “5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Hello!” The most interesting part is the bridge between segments, from one kind of a world to another. That style is implemented with my production. Love Story: The School of Hard Knocks is exciting because it may be the first of my productions that is looking at the future, not the past. We’re working onsite with two cameras, online with Zoom, and with pre-recorded “advertisements,” so there are three layers of media. 

LA MAMA: Have the current conditions of the world influenced your creative practice? If so, how? 

YOSHIKO CHUMA: I say yes and no. I’ve been holding Zoom rehearsals…I became a Zoom expert. I am a visual artist too, and since 1979, I’ve made 16-millimeter films. Online, you don’t hand-cut the film. That’s not how video editing works anymore. The pandemic introduces an interesting bridge in approach. Communication is very different. It also opens the door to work overseas. With this project, I can include artists from Tehran, Venezuela, Palestine, and Turkey. They are working with my Manhattan group of artists. And that’s really very beautiful.

Watch Yoshiko Chuma's 24-hour performance, Love Story, School of Hard Knocks live on Saturday, October 17th at 11am to Sunday, October 18 at 11am.

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.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

An Important Message From La MaMa

Dear friends,

In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, all public events and performances of shows at La MaMa are suspended as of Friday, March 13, 2020 until further notice. La MaMa is exploring ways to respond creatively to a situation that is potentially changing how we gather as a community in our theatres. 

La MaMa and CultureHub have closed this weekend’s interactive exhibition, Re-Fest, to the public and instead the event will be live-streamed all weekend. One performance of Pananadem (Remembering) will be live-streamed on Sunday, March 15th. 

La MaMa is working with CultureHub to provide online streaming of select productions and events on Howlround Theatre Commons. Watch live performances and events for FREE around the world in the comfort and safety of your home. 

Thank you,
La MaMa

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Opening Night: Fandango For Butterflies (and Coyotes)

Tony Shalhoub, Anne Hamburger and Brooke Adams 

Post-Opening Reception

Silvia Dionicio with the cast and audience members

Jen Anaya (center)

The cast and audience at the post-show fandango

 All photos by Theo Cote

La MaMa presents

An En Garde Arts Production 

Directed by José Zayas 
Written by Andrea Thome 
Music by Sinuhé Padilla

February 6 - 15, 2020     

Ellen Stewart Theatre
66 East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $25 Adults, $20 Students/Seniors

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE

Thursday, February 6, 2020

New La MaMa Podcast: Albert Poland

In the new episode of the La MaMa Podcast,  La MaMa Director of Audience Development John Issendorf speaks with Albert Poland, whose memoir STAGES looks at his life and 43 year career in NYC theater.

ALBERT POLAND, in his 43 year career in the New York theatre, served as general manager for more than 90 productions including The Homecoming, Talk Radio, Glengarry Glen Ross (Tony Award, Best Revival), Hugh Jackman in The Boy From Oz, Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Tony Award, Best Revival), and Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, Dirty Blonde, The Last Night of Ballyhoo (Tony Award, Best Play), The Grapes of Wrath (Tony Award, Best Play), As Is (Drama Desk Award, Best Play), The Price, the original productions of Little Shop of Horrors (Drama Critics, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Best Musical), Steel Magnolias, and One Mo’ Time as well as Bill W. and Dr. Bob, Steve Martin’s Picasso at the Lapin Agile (Drama Desk, Best Play), Uta Hagen in Mrs. Klein, Eileen Heckart in The Waverly Gallery, Always Patsy Cline, Sam Shepard’s A Lie of the Mind (Drama Critics, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Best Play), Vanities, David Mamet’s A Life in the Theatre, The Neon Woman, Tommy Tune Atop the Village Gate, Let My People Come, Stephen Sondheim’s Marry Me a Little and Tom Lehrer’s Tomfoolery. Mr. Poland operated the Astor Place Theatre from 1977 through 2000, during which time it was host to such long runs as A Coupla White Chicks, The Dining Room, The Foreigner, and Blue Man Group. He is the Co-Editor/Author, with Bruce Mailman, of The Off-Off Broadway Book published in 1972 by Bobbs-Merrill. As a performer, he appeared at Carnegie Hall, La Mama, Judson Poets Theater and the Village Gate. Mr. Poland’s first venture in show business was as the founding president of The Official Judy Garland Fan Fan Club in 1955.


Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Interview with Andrea Thome of Fandango For Butterflies (and Coyotes)

Playwright Andrea Thome took time out from rehearsals to sit down and talk about her new show, Fandango For Butterflies (and Coyotes) which begins performances on Thursday, February 6, 2020 at The Ellen Stewart Theatre at La MaMa.

La MaMa presents

An En Garde Arts Production 

Directed by José Zayas 
Written by Andrea Thome 
Music by Sinuhé Padilla

February 6 - 15, 2020     

Ellen Stewart Theatre
66 East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $25 Adults, $20 Students/Seniors

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE

Monday, February 3, 2020

6 Questions for Silvia Dionicio of Fandango for Butterflies (and Coyotes)

Silvia Dionicio is part of the cast of Fandango for Butterflies (and Coyotes), which begins performances this week in the Ellen Stewart Theatre at La MaMa.  Silvia took time out from rehearsals to answer our 6 Questions.  Come join the Fandango beginning February 6, 2020!  There are only 8 performances at La MaMa, so get your tickets now! 

1. What does the word fandango mean to you?
This is actually my first experience with Fandango! Til the beginning of rehearsals I’d never actually been to one. And as of now I’ve been to 3 and I love them. They are a welcoming, warm, fun and a symbol of cultures. And it’s nice to speak mostly if not completely Spanish for once.

2. How do you describe your role in Fandango for Butterflies (and Coyotes)?
I think my character in this play represents: the “audience” (she’s an “outsider”) she’s never been to a Fandango, she doesn’t really know what it is. Yet she is welcomed with open arms and in a matter of minutes she becomes part of this family! And I think that’s what we are doing! We are opening up to the audience, telling them who we are who Latin Immigrants really are, sharing a little piece of us, our music and our stories.

3. What is the experience of performing in both English and Spanish?
It’s been great to play back and forth with the Spanish and English, in an honest, not forced way! It’s really interesting because rehearsals were the same way, a non stop back and forth of Spanish and English. And it was nothing but heartwarming.

4. How would you describe the music by Sinuhé Padilla in Fandango?
BEAUTIFUL AND HAUNTING! I would literally go home unable to stop singing his lyrics.

5. What have you learned from these stories of undocumented immigrants from Latin America living in New York?
I’ve learned a LOT about how hard the whole process of crossing can be, how scary, how haunting! Is just so shocking and beautiful how far people will go to create a better future for themselves and their family (as well as safety).

6. What does working at La MaMa mean to you?
Oh this is definitely an “Acting Goal” from my bucket list! Plus I get to tell a story that is so close to me with such amazing people!


La MaMa presents

An En Garde Arts Production 

Directed by José Zayas 
Written by Andrea Thome 
Music by Sinuhé Padilla

February 6 - 15, 2020     

Ellen Stewart Theatre
66 East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $25 Adults, $20 Students/Seniors

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

6 Questions for Hideki Noda of ONE GREEN BOTTLE

Renowned Japanese theater artist Hideki Noda comes to La MaMa with ONE GREEN BOTTLE.  Hideki wrote, directs and stars in the show that begins performances on February 29, 2020.  Hideki took time out from rehearsals in Japan to answer our 6 Questions about that show and working at La MaMa.

1. What inspired you to write ONE GREEN BOTTLE?
I wrote a sort of portrait of a disconnected family on a self-destructive course. It parallels to a portrait of our society that faces the issue about over consumerism and too much technology in a ‘selfie’ community.

2. What does the title mean?
The song of “One Green Bottle” shows that Ten green bottles hanging on the wall becomes no green bottle by accidentally falling one by one. When I listened to this song for the first time, I thought that it symbolizes our community all over the world. In an environmental way, a spiritual way and a physical way how many bottles are we diminishing form ten bottles to?

3. Who do you play in ONE GREEN BOTTLE?
I play a role of Boo.(the wife of this family)

4. Why is cross-gender casting important to the show?
Male actor can think of a role of female in a family and a society through a role of female he plays. And female actor vice versa.

5. What is the most difficult thing about directing a show you are also acting in? 
For instance, when I’m performing as an actor, I come up with the new idea as a director. I can’t stop the show. Then after the show, I totally forget the fantastic new idea as if you realize that you forget everything after you wake up when you believed you dreamt an amazing dream.

6. What does working at La MaMa mean to you?
My legend of the theatre, Shuji Terayama (Japanese director)’s production was performed at La MaMa. I have known the name of La MaMa since I was in my teens. Also, the name of La MaMa has been a legend for a long time. I feel so honored to perform at La MaMa.

La MaMa in association with
Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre and NODA・MAP 

Written and Directed by Hideki Noda 
English Translation adapted by Will Sharpe 
Featuring: Hideki NodaLilo Baur and Glyn Pritchard 

February 29 - March 8, 2020 

Ellen Stewart Theatre 
66 East 4th Street 
(between Bowery and Second Avenue) 
New York, NY 10003 

Tickets: $35 Adult; $30 Student/Senior Tickets 

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE