La Mama Turned 50

In 2017 La Mama turned 50, an occasion marked with a gathering of 300 La Mama community members, a season of alumni and the production of a 50th anniversary commemorative book, published by Melbourne University Press and received national recognition for our contribution to the arts.

In 2017 La Mama celebrates its 50th anniversary. It has been a constant in Melbourne’s artistic scene since actors first trooped onstage in the former underwear and shirt factory in Carlton in 1967 to perform Jack Hibberd’s Three Old Friends. Australian culture as we know it is unthinkable without it. […] In that half-century, this tiny theatre has nurtured generations of talent: not only theatre artists but also musicians, filmmakers and poets. […] With La Mama, it’s always personal. Thinking about this anniversary, I realised that La Mama has wound through my entire artistic life.
La Mama was doing gender equity long before it was hip, pioneering the work of Val Kirwan and Tes Lyssiotis in the 1970s and ’80s, and has long had a policy of Indigenous representation, most recently a prominent association with Ilbijerri Theatre Company. […] La Mama was, and against all the odds still remains, the place that says “yes”.

The Monthly, Alison Croggon, 2017

Every time I go to see yet another performance at La Mama, I can’t help but marvel at just how fortunate we have been in Melbourne to have such an unconventional, off-the-wall, eccentric and downright idiosyncratic theatrical space in our midst for nigh of fifty years.

-Jean Taylor, La Mama audience member