La MaMa Blogs: August 2020

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.”