La Mama Fire
The La Mama Fire of Saturday 19 May 2018 was ignited by an electrical fault. Melbourne’s Metropolitan Fire Brigade and key insurers QBE found no evidence of arson or negligence. The electrical fault is thought to have been caused by old wiring. The overwhelming response from the community was strengthening. It was made clear that La Mama is an essential creative institution that must rise from the ashes. Immediately following the fire, we re-housed the next six productions programmed at La Mama at generous venues around Melbourne. From there, we created our own theatre space at Trades Hall, presenting eight La Mama productions up until early October 2018. In doing this we honoured all the artists that we had committed to. We postponed our Explorations 2018 season to 2019 and reduced our program from October 2018. We will continue to operate from the Courthouse, with the exception of Explorations 2019 being held at The Burrow, up until La Mama on Faraday Street is rebuilt.
La Mama is a Melbourne masterpiece, a critically important part of our theatre history and living performance ecology. It can and must rise again though its new form is yet unknown. The message to our dear friend Liz Jones and the La Mama team is that when you have finished grieving deeply as you must – and we all grieve with you – it will be time to gird the loins, harness the support that wants to be told how to give, and begin the journey to some better future. It is a very hard road – there are false starts, dead ends, muddy crevasses and seemingly impossible peaks to be scaled in the midst of appalling storms – but many will want to help you along the way. Find the trail or make the trail and ask for help. You have lost so much, but kicking through the stinking black ashes you will discover new green growth.– Daily Review, Carrillo Gantner, 2018