Founded in 1961 by theatre legend Ellen Stewart, La MaMa is the only original Off-Off-Broadway venue still in operation. Ellen established La MaMa as a haven for underrepresented artists to experiment with new work, without the pressures of commercial success. Today, we maintain an environment of uncensored creative freedom, where artists of all backgrounds and identities can develop work that pushes the boundaries of what is possible onstage.
To date, La MaMa has supported more than 5,000 productions, featuring 150,000 artists from 70 nations. In 2018, The American Theatre Wing presented La MaMa with the Regional Theatre Tony Award, stating, “La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club is a staple of the New York theatre scene. It is an exciting space where artists can grow, create, and push boundaries, and we are thrilled to be able to honor them this year.” La MaMa has also been honored with more than 30 Obie Awards, and dozens of Drama Desk, Bessie, and Villager Awards.
“La MaMa has always been a home to rebels and outsiders. It is a place that understands the importance of difference, of diversity, a place that gives a platform to unheard voices from here and abroad.”
-Ping Chong, Director & National Medal of Arts Recipient
Artists nurtured at La MaMa include: Blue Man Group, Ping Chong, Tisa Chang, André De Shields, Olympia Dukakis, Tom Eyen, Harvey Fierstein, Richard Foreman, Philip Glass, Diane Lane, Taylor Mac, Bette Midler, Meredith Monk, Tom O’Horgan, Estelle Parsons, David and Amy Sedaris, Sam Shepard, Elizabeth Swados, Julie Taymor, Robert Wilson, and others.
Our network and community extend worldwide. La MaMa has presented the U.S. debuts of many artists, such as Min Soo Ahn, Peter Brook, Tan Dun, Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, Tadeusz Kantor, Branko Milicevic, Kazuo Ohno, Andrei Serban, Shuji Terayama, Tokyo Kids Brother, Duk-Hyung Yoo, and Belarus Free Theatre.
Every artist in our season receives a developmental residency at La MaMa, including rehearsal and performance space, technical staff, marketing support, and box office services. In addition to these seasonal residencies, La MaMa is home to a number of long-term resident companies. Our current companies in residence include Kinding Sindaw, Loco7 Dance Puppet Theatre, Pua Ali’i ‘Ilima O Nuioka, Talking Band, Teatro Patologico, Yara Arts Group, and many others.
“Artists are welcomed at La MaMa and lovingly encouraged to experiment,” says Artistic Director Mia Yoo. “As we have grown over the years, risk-taking and diversity have remained key cultural values.” With 88,000 square feet of dedicated art space in the East Village, La MaMa is a historical cornerstone and modern hub for experimental theatre across disciplines and boundaries.