La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club is New York’s premier Off Off Broadway venue, celebrating works that push the boundaries of language and culture, and showcasing cutting-edge talent from around the globe. Founded by Ellen Stewart in 1961, the company has grown into a vibrant and vital hub for artists and theatergoers alike, often presenting multiple shows simultaneously.
What Ellen Stewart began in a small basement on East 9th Street has grown into an astounding 88,000 square feet of dedicated art space — four performance venues, rehearsal studios, an art gallery, a dormitory for visiting artists, offices, and the La MaMa Archives, documenting the history of Off-Off Broadway. Each season La MaMa presents more than 70 productions and receives approximately 34,000 visits from people of all ages and backgrounds, who attend performances, exhibitions, educational activities, and the La MaMa Archives.
La MaMa’s vision of nurturing new artists and new work remains as strong today as it was when Ellen Stewart first opened the doors in 1961. Now under the artistic direction of Mia Yoo, cultural pluralism and ethnic diversity are inherent in the work created on our stages. Here, artists find a supportive environment for artistic exploration, and audiences are part of the development of an artist’s work over time.
Productions or Exhibits of Artist Work
The La MaMa Meet-Ups give artists the opportunity to meet our curators and talk about their work. Two to three times a year, all of the La MaMa Curators converge in the Ellen Stewart Theatre to meet with individual artists and arts organizations to discuss theater, dance, puppetry, playwrighting, poetry, visual art, children’s programming and more for fifteen to thirty minutes. Simply reserve a time to speak with the staffer in charge of programming for your area of interest. Please bring your portfolio, resume, press clippings, video and any other supporting materials. Tell us why you want to work at La MaMa, and show us who you are! Every season at La MaMa includes artists from the La MaMa Meet-Ups!
Founded in 1984, La MaMa opened La Galleria, committed to nurturing experimentation in the visual arts. La Galleria encourages an active dialogue between new media, performance, the plastic and visual arts, curatorial projects, and educational initiatives. As a non-profit, La Galleria is able to provide artists and curators with unique exhibition opportunities that are largely out of reach in a commercial gallery setting. If you are interested in showcasing work, submit all proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org
For the past 19 years, the Experiments Play Reading Series has provided a forum for talented playwrights to continue their creative process. The Monday evening readings at La MaMa give playwrights the opportunity to hear their developing plays read by professional actors and to receive valuable audience feedback. Experiments is a playwright driven service that is free to attend. Each season, it is organized around shifting themes and curators, which allows a larger, underserved theater community to experience a greater diversity of programming. For the 2018-19 season, Experiments looks to the past while seeking out new emerging playwrights of all backgrounds. Experiments: 19 “Class Acts” will present works in progress inspired by classical texts. Each month, we will select an up-and-coming playwright who has re-imagined Shakespeare, a Greek tragedy or any number of classical texts to create a new, vibrant work that speaks to us today.
Residencies & Workshops
Every summer La MaMa Umbria hosts artist residencies, and organizes workshops led by internationally renowned art professionals whose work is impacting the contemporary landscape of performative arts. Immersed in the creative, natural and regenerative environment of Umbria, culturally diverse artists live together while working on productions or participating in workshops to develop their artistic skills. In the past 24 years, La MaMa Umbria’s activities have included the presentation of over thirty theatre productions as well as workshops, art exhibitions, and conferences. Check the La MaMa Umbria webpage for application information.
Coffeehouse Chronicles is an educational performance series exploring the history of Off-Off Broadway. Part artist-portrait, part history lesson, and part community forum, Coffeehouse Chronicles take an intimate look at the development of downtown theatre, from the 1960s’ “Coffeehouse Theatres” through today. Events feature firsthand oral accounts from artists of the day, as well as conversations with contemporary artists who work in the same bold, daring manner today. Since 2005, La MaMa has presented more than 147 Coffeehouse Chronicles, building on our mission to provide a home for personal engagement with art. Coffeehouse Chronicles are held on one Saturday each month (September through June).
Established in the early 1970’s, La MaMa Archives collects, preserves, and exhibits records of permanent historical value relating to La MaMa and the Off-Off Broadway movement. In doing so, it draws on a deep vein of in-house institutional memory, the passionate community of artists whose work has found a home on La MaMa stages, and a diversity of scholars, educators and international artists with whom we regularly collaborate. La MaMa Archives regularly conducts tours for student groups and is open to the public Monday through Friday from 1pm -4pm BY APPOINTMENT. Tours are available every Wednesday at 2PM. For more information please contact Archives Director, Ozzie Rodriguez at 212-260-2471 or email archives [at] lamama [dot] org.
Access to Space and Resources
Each of La Mama’s legendary fully equipped theatrical spaces allow producers to build upon our incomparable history of groundbreaking experimental theatre and guarantees an exclusive and secure environment in which to create the perfect world for your productions. At La MaMa, not only do your shows become fully realized, they become part of the history of cutting edge East Village theatre. Whether you are producing a special event, a gala or fundraiser, a workshop, festival, reading, or a full theatrical production we can offer a variety of different venues. All of our theatrical spaces provide you with the versatility to transport your audiences anywhere you wish to take them. La MaMa can offer a cabaret, a 299 seat Main Stage experience or a wide open playing area in which to explore the depths of your script.
La MaMa operates three rehearsal studios at 47 Great Jones St. Rehearsal Studios are available throughout the year. Studio size: 24′ x 48′. Free Wifi is available. La MaMa also has 3 fully equipped theater spaces available, Ellen Stewart Theatre, The Downstairs and La Galleria. These spaces are available to rent for galas, fundraisers, performances, script readings and more. For more information or a site visit, email email@example.com.
CultureHub is a center for art and technology that connects communities around the world. To date, CultureHub has linked audiences with over 500 artists from 30 countries through live performances, exhibitions, web-based presentations, live streams, and education programs. Founded in a partnership with La MaMa and the Seoul Institute of the Arts in Korea, stay in touch with CultureHub for the most up to date information about CoLab, a free summer program for young artists ages 15–20, and Micro-residencies that offer access to CultureHub’s studio equipped with a theatrical grid, lighting system, A/V hardware, and media production software.
Programs for Youth
La MaMa Kids takes place every two Saturdays a month. It is a series of creative workshops taught by La MaMa master teacher in which theatre play is used to encourage imaginative play and hands on learning. Children and adults learn the basics of storytelling, dance, mask and puppet-making, and more! It is $10 per child for the workshop.
The La MaMa Indigenous Initiative aims to provide a platform for Indigenous arts and culture, both nationally and worldwide. La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club is committed to supporting ethnic diversity, cultural pluralism, and marginalized identities in the arts. The Initiative curates original Indigenous programming, including workshops, markets, and theatrical productions, to elevate the voices and artistic works of Native communities both nationally and internationally.
Safe Harbors Indigenous Collective Founder Murielle Borst-Tarrant and La MaMa Artistic Director Mia Yoo initially established the Safe Habors Indigenous Collective to spear head original Indigenous programming.
La MaMa’s Squirts: Generations of Queer Performance most recently curated by Eva Yaa Asantewaa, Linda LaBeija and Shannon Matesky. The Helix Queer Performance Network is a collaboration between La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange and the Hemispheric Institute of Performance & Politics.
The Poetry Electric fuses music, movement, sound, and dance with the spoken word and presents artists working in a wide range of styles including beatboxing, jazz and hip-hop theatre. This series has presented over 200 emerging poets from diverse cultural backgrounds.
Poetry Electric is presented monthly at La MaMa.
The La MaMa Puppet Festival showcases new contemporary puppet theatre by artists from around the world. Curated by Denise Greber, this year’s series focuses on diversifying the voices, stories, and perspectives shared onstage, with the goal of uplifting marginalized identities within the puppet community. The festival highlights interdisciplinary works from female artists who explore issues such as cultural identity, Black Lives Matter, the refugee crisis, and the disability experience.