La Mama Experimental Theatre Club, Inc.
Rating: 5 stars 1 review
Issues: Arts & Culture
Location: 74A E 4th St New York NY 10003 USA
Mission: La MaMa Experimental Theatre is a world-renowned cultural organization led by founder Ellen Stewart. For 41 years La MaMa has pursued with passion its original mission to develop, nurture, support, produce and present new and original performance work by artists of all nations and cultures.In 1961 La MaMa E.T.C (Experimental Theatre Club) began as a small basement theatre dedicated to the work of experimental theatre creators. In the past 39 years, La MaMa has grown into an arts complex of national and international renown, housing three theaters, an art gallery, a 7-story rehearsal/studio building, and a enormous archive documenting the history of off-off Broadway theatre. Still located in New York's historic Lower East Side, the theatre produces/presents 50 to 60 works each year by artists from New York and around the world. La MaMa's founder and artistic director, Ellen Stewart has created a world theatre with her directorial work and curatorial brilliance. Ms. Stewart was the first American director to bring the theatrical genius of Jerzy Grotowski, Tadeuz Kantor, and Eugenio Barba to the United States. Closer to home, La MaMa brought to the forefront of American theatre such artists as Sam Shepard, Lanford Wilson, The Blue Man Group, Mabou Mines, Meredith Monk, Tom O'Horgan (director of "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Hair",) John Michael Tabalek ("Godspell"), and others. Today our theatre continues to be the home for many talented and important artists including Andrei Serban, Elizabeth Swados, The Great Jones Repertory Co., Slant Theatre, The Yara Art Group, Ping Chong & Co., Maureen Fleming, East Coast Artists, and other groups who work in residence at La MaMa - a testament to our commitment to artistic research and development.La MaMa's cross-cultural, multi-national programming is a vital contribution to our Lower East Side neighborhood, the New York community, and the American theatre scene. To maintain accessibility within the community, we keep ticket prices to a bare minimum (still $15-20), so that people of all economic means may attend live performances. We also distribute about 3,000 - 5,000 free tickets each year to nonprofit social service organizations, senior centers, schools, and various rehab programs in the boroughs of New York. La MaMa's other projects include a play reading series for new playwrights, studio/rehearsal space for other nonprofit arts organizations and hundreds of artists, the La MaMa Archives and a visual art gallery.As part of its educational mission, La MaMa has created several unique programs to increase public awareness and appreciation of artistic traditions outside the normal range of the theatre audience's everyday experience. These programs include the Cross Cultural Institute of Theater Art Studies (CCITAS), the Educational Workshop program for the New York public schools, Trinity College/La MaMa (www.trinitylamama.org), La MaMa's summer residency program for directors and actors in Umbria, Italy. Ellen Stewart and her theatre projects have continuously supported performing artists and their work for nearly four decades. La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club ("La MaMa E.T.C.") has contributed to the evolution of American and multi-national theatre in immeasurable ways. La MaMa steadfastly continues to offer opportunity and experimentation in the theatre arts.
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La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club has been a haven for artists from around the world. This year, La MaMa hosted an extraordinary event: the conference Acting Together on the World Stage: Theatre and Peacebuilding in Conflict Zones, which brought together almost 400 people from 30 countries where doing theatre is a dangerous political act. In fact, just this week, two of the artists who were part of the conference from the Belarus Free Theatre were arrested in Belarus. The importance of having this conference at La MaMa and sharing the stories of hope for peace and reconciliation can be under valued. I personally will take a greater part in doing theatre in conflict zones as a result of this experience.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
going to see shows at La MaMa, attending the Conference, being involved in projects of the theatre.
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
give them more money so they could expand their work and do even more.