Jul 17, 2024
Aug 16, 2024

La MaMa Umbria 2024 International Symposium for Directors

25th Annual La MaMa Umbria International Symposium for Directors

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La MaMa Umbria International provides artists from around the world with residency programs and intensive workshops. For 25 years, La MaMa Umbria has fostered cross-cultural and international exchanges and creative collaborations. Hundreds of artists have found Umbria to be a space that is beautiful, spiritually enriching, welcoming, and open to bold artistic experiments.


During the two two-week sessions, directors will take workshops with distinguished, internationally renowned directors, visit Spoleto and other Umbrian cultural sites. Accommodation, meals, and local transport are included in the fee.

Session 1: July 17 – 31 

Theatre-Making Today: Techniques for Devising and Adaptation 

“Creativity in Action” with Anne Bogart
"Considerations on the Gaze" with Sergio Blanco
"Living Culture: Combining Justice with Artistic Practice" with Stacy Klein (with Amrita Ramanan)
"Frankenstein's Shadows"  with  
Daniela Nicolò, Enrico Casagrande (Motus)

Session 2: August 2 – 16

Theatre and Conflict Transformation: Civil Engagement Through Theatre Practice 

"Carving Light out of Darkness" with Hope Azeda
"In Your Shoes: Devising Theatrical Worlds Through Radical Listening" with Derek Goldman
"From Personal to Political Landscape" with Dijana Milošević
"Performance as Ritual that Creates Community" with Jakub Skrzywanek

For details of the Workshops being offered and bios of the Artists, please click on the Credits tab above.

A training program for professional directors, choreographers, actors and others. Internationally renowned theatre artists conduct workshops and lecture/demonstrations. During the Symposium, participants will travel to Umbrian towns such as Orvieto, Perugia  or Assisi to get a taste of Umbrian art and culture. Performances at local arts festivals and community fairs are also included.  In addition, participating directors may conduct their own workshops to share insights and techniques with their colleagues.

Participants will be exposed to a variety of theatrical perspectives during the Symposium, from instructors who will expand their sense of what is possible in the theatre. Directors attending the Symposium see how prominent artists on the international scene create their unique productions. The workshops are participatory, and it is expected that all attendees will engage actively in the processes of the various teaching artists.  

EXCURSIONS: While most of the time will be spent in workshops at La MaMa Umbria, at least one day has been set aside for excursions to nearby cities. We will attend at least one performance event at a local arts festival. There may also be opportunities to see additional performances on an ad hoc basis. The group will visit nearby towns such as Perugia, Umbria’s capital, Deruta, famous for ceramics painted by hand or Assisi, to see the famous Cathedral of St. Francis, Orvieto, etc. In addition, we will share an Italian tradition, a sagra, or community celebration of the specialties produced by small Umbrian villages (such as truffles, olive oil and wine.)

EXTRA WORKSHOPS: In addition to our internationally renowned guest teaching artists, there will be an opportunity for you and your colleagues to share exercises and techniques with each other in late night sessions. You may propose a special workshop to offer in one of the late (after dinner) sessions. Use the space on the registration form to describe what you would share. Not all proposals will be accepted based on time and space availability.


Many of our international artists cannot afford to make the trip to Umbria. On our 23rd anniversary, we are offering scholarships to disadvantaged artists from countries that have had little to no representation in our residency programs. It costs approximately $5,000 for the entire trip, which includes admission fee, accommodation, meals, workshops, and international travel for one participant. All donations will help us achieve this goal.

La MaMa Umbria Symposium and Retreat FAQ

How is it decided who will be accepted into the Programs?

The applications are considered on the basis of the responses to the questions on the Application Form: why is this Program appropriate for you and what do you hope to get out of it? Once the Application has been vetted, and approved, the participants will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis. If the Program is filled up, there is a Waiting List you can join.

How does the Waiting List work?

If a Program fills up, we will let you know and put you on the Wait List. If someone drops out, we will go to the next person on the List and offer them that spot. This could happen any time up to a week prior to the start of the Program. If you decide not to wait, please let us know and we will remove your name from the List. 

How do I apply for a Scholarship?

Write an email to ddjdstar@gmail.com requesting a scholarship. Let us know which program you are interested in. Most scholarships cover part of the fees. Please explain why you need the assistance and the minimum you would need to make your participation possible. 

Should I wait until I have been accepted prior to sending in my deposit?

You can wait until you receive an acceptance letter, but we will not reserve your spot until we receive your deposit. If you send your deposit and are not accepted, you will receive a full refund (except for credit card fees.)

What is the Application deadline for the Playwright and Directing programs?

The deadline is May 15th, but the Programs could fill up prior to that date. Please check with us to see if there is still space. We will have a waiting list for those who wish to wait to see if someone who applied decides not to attend. If you pay the Deposit by May 15th and we are not yet full, we will hold your spot.

If I pay the Deposit and find that I cannot attend, willI get a refund?

You will get a full refund if you cancel by May 15th, except for the credit card fee.

When is the Full Payment due?

Full payment is due by June 1st.

If I pay the Full Payment and then I find I cannot come, will I get a Refund?

You will get a Full Refund (except for Credit Card charges) if we have a Waiting List and we can find someone to take your spot. If not, you will get a 50% Refund if you let us know by June 15th. After June 15th, there are no Refunds.

Is there a way to pay where I won’t incur Credit Card charges?

Yes, you can pay by check, made out to La MaMa ETC and mailed to: La MaMa ETC, Umbria Programs, 66 East Fourth Street, New York, NY 10003, USA. There are no additional fees. You can also pay by bank transfer or Zelle. There are not additional fees to us, but your bank may charge you a fee.

Umbria 2024 International Playwright Retreat
August 18 – 28, 2024

Next Generation: New Performance Incubator
September 15 – 29, 2024

Session One: Theatre-Making Today: Techniques for Devising and Adaptation 

“Creativity in Action” with Anne Bogart

Drawing on the oeuvre of playwright Chuck Mee, we will engage in the art of devising theater together that emphasizes Embodied Problem Solving and Creativity-in-Action.  Participants will create bold theatrical moments while exploring the intricacies of composition, arrangement, juxtaposition, balance, contrast, stillness, movement, rhythm, proportion and more.

Anne Bogart is the founder and Co-Artistic Director of the prominent SITI Company, which she founded with Japanese director Tadashi Suzuki in 1992 and closed in 2022. She is currently a Professor at Columbia University where she runs the Graduate Directing Program.  

“Anne Bogart is a director of the present moment and, one might add, a director of the prescient moment. Relentlessly she searches for imaginative ways to renew the theatrical experience, to make it more relevant for herself and to those who are receiving it.” — Mel Gussow

“Considerations on the Gaze” with Sergio Blanco

All creation for Blanco begins with an act of deciphering the world: an attempt to understand the world that surrounds the artist/creator. Following this logic, the creative act will always be preceded by the act of looking and contemplating a present. In this way, the gaze is the starting point in every act of creation... this seminar extends the hypothesis that theatrical creations are always preceded by the gaze.

French-Uruguayan playwright and director, Sergio Blanco’s works have toured throughout the world, having been staged on all five continents. Among many awards, in 2023 he received the prestigious Alas Award for his contribution to Uruguayan culture, following Uruguay’s 2022 Silver Morosoli Award for Lifetime Achievement. Blanco has become one of the most represented Spanish language playwrights of his time.

“Blanco carries out an intense academic activity that has led him to hold seminars, courses and conferences in several European and Latin American universities and cultural institutions.” His works have been published and performed in more than twenty-five countries. In 2022, he premieres his new text Zoo at the Piccolo Teatro in Milan. Today he is one of the most performed contemporary Spanish-language playwrights in the world (12 productions  in 2022, 8 future creations already planned).”

“Living Culture: Combining Justice with Artistic Practice” with Stacy Klein (with Amrita Ramanan)

At the crossroads of art, justice, environment and explosive performance, Klein will invite the directors to draw on classic novels and legends, and explore the use of puppets, live music, and street theatre techniques that bring audiences on a literal and figurative journey.

Stacy Klein is the Founding Artistic Director of Double Edge Theatre, and in 1994 she became the founder of the Farm, DE’s center of Art, Living Culture, and Art Justice. Over 40 years, Klein has conceived and directed six original performance cycles and outdoor spectacles, and has received several awards, among them the Doris Duke Artist Award for artists who have transformed their field.  

“Stacy Klein is a radical visionary who came to the realization that she could not find a place among institutionalized formalities or rigid identities to create her art.” — Howlround

Amrita Ramanan is a dramaturg, creative producer, and artistic leader who uplifts the values of equity, access, anti- racism, and anti-colonialism in her practice. She considers herself a professional advocate for writers and generative artists. 

Amrita currently holds the role of Director of New Work Development at the Public Theater where she oversees all new work commissions, readings, developments, residencies, and writers’ groups. She provides holistic dramaturgical support to a range of Public Theater projects, including new musicals and award-winning plays. Recent dramaturgy credits at the Public include Manahatta by Mary Kathryn Nagle and Sally & Tom by Suzan-Lori Parks.

"Frankenstein's Shadows"  with Daniela Nicolò, Enrico Casagrande (Motus)

Motivated by the need to confront today's themes, conflicts and wounds, we mix stage art and civic engagement through images.  The journey for the participants is a launching pad to dive into the Frankenstein novel which is vast and overwhelming and which, because of its open and stratified nature, we want to treat with great visionary freedom.  Together, we will transform many facets into scenic acts of various kinds using the most diverse expressive languages, without limits, aiming at breaking down boundaries between artistic forms (and between living and non-living ones).

Enrico Casagrande and Daniela Nicolò have received prestigious awards, including three UBU awards and various special prizes for their work. Silvia Calderoni - their favorite actress - has been working with them since 2005 and has won numerous awards, including the UBU Award for "Best Italian Actress", the Elizabeth Turroni, Marte and Virginia Reiter Awards.

"Motus specializes in what might be called enlightening confusion, blurring our perceptions to improve our vision. The casts of their genre-bending shows are usually small, yet you always leave a Motus production feeling you have spent time amid an ever-multiplying throng. Everybody on stage contains multitudes." — Ben Brantley, NY Times

Session Two: Theatre and Conflict Transformation: Civil Engagement Through Theatre Practice 

“Carving Light out of Darkness” with Hope Azeda  

“Art has been the greatest companion in the most unknown time and space we currently live in. We will explore the true meaning of art in our lives and it’s off-text ability to thrive.”

Director and playwright, Hope Azeda, is one of the leading figures of contemporary Rwandan theatre.  She is the founder and ongoing artistic director of Mashirika Performing Arts and Media, a leading company in Rwanda. Her work as a writer, performer and teacher has taken her to many countries. She has been involved with 77 productions including the famous Africa’s Hope, a play performed in Kigali for the 10th anniversary commemoration of the genocide, and which subsequently toured throughout the world. In 2015 Hope created and still curates the Ubumuntu Arts Festival which showcases drama for reconciliation.  

“Hope Azeda was a light in the darkness, and her work with us was inspiring and transformational.”

“In Your Shoes: Devising Theatrical Worlds Through Radical Listening” with Derek Goldman

"In Your Shoes™—created and developed by Goldman—harnesses the power of theatrical performance, dialogue, and deep listening to surface and celebrate the perspectives and experiences that shape who we are and how we interact. Participants will engage in a devised process culminating in an ensemble performance rooted in Goldman’s “Performing One Another” approach built from group activities and pair conversations on pressing topics of shared interest.

Dr. Derek Goldman is an international stage director, playwright, producer, festival director, adapter/ deviser, filmmaker, curator, and published scholar. He is co-Founding Artistic and Executive Director of The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics (The Lab) at Georgetown University in Washington DC,  with a mission “to humanize global politics through performance.”  Goldman has directed over 100 theatrical productions and works regularly as an adapter/playwright at leading off Broadway, international and regional theaters.  

For Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski directed by Derek Goldman
“GRIPPING...Starring a virtuosic David Strathairn...under [Derek] Goldman’s inspired direction.” – Celia Wren, The Washington Post

“From Personal to Political Landscape” with Dijana Milošević

An approach in which directors/choreographers and actors and/or dancers engage together in creative physical and vocal training and in the process of creating material from which, through montage, they create a performance. Milošević will take the participants through improvisational exercises that explore the ways in which the personal and the political intersect. Through this work, the physical exploration of various levels of attention becomes the groundwork for political action.

Dijana Milošević  is an award-winning theater director, activist, writer and lecturer. She co-founded DAH Theater in Belgrade, Serbia and has since been its leading director for over thirty years. She has devised and directed theater shows with her company and toured them nationally and internationally as well as directing the work with other companies all over the world.

“Dijana, and her physically based practice opened me up to the new ideas of spectacle and event, also political purpose, her great courage in putting these plays on under duress” — Erik Ehn - DAH SOURCEBOOK

"Performance as Ritual that Creates Community" with Jakub (Kuba) Skrzywanek

In my workshop, I would like to use my experience of creating art in countries where freedom of speech is restricted and the policies pursued take a populist and authoritarian direction. Using the tools of theatrical reconstruction combined with reference to what is most primordial in theater - ritual, I propose a method in which working on archives and current political  and social events takes the form of artistic expression that allows supporting important social processes aimed at social justice and equality.

Jakub Skrzywanek is an award-winning director, author, creator of performative installations and artistic director of the Contemporary Theater in Szczecin, Poland. He is also the program curator of the Vaba Lava theater in Tallinn, Estonia.

“Kuba is without a doubt one of the most inspiring and visionary directors of his generation, fearlessly taking on urgent subjects in a fraught political landscape - and doing so with deep humanity, joyous spirit, and boundless theatrical imagination.” — Derek Goldman

La MaMa Umbria International


La MaMa Umbria International provides artists from around the world with residency programs and intensive workshops. For over 25, La MaMa Umbria has fostered cross-cultural and international exchanges and creative collaborations. Hundreds of artists have found Umbria to be a space that is beautiful, spiritually enriching, welcoming, and open to bold artistic experiments.

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