Founded in 1961 by Ellen Stewart in a tiny basement on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, La MaMa is dedicated to the artist and all aspects of the theatre. La MaMa has a worldwide reputation for supporting fearless and provocative theater while helping artists gain a foothold in New York. La MaMa is a global organization with creative partners and dedicated audiences around the world. To date, La MaMa has presented artists from over 70 nations. Each season, over 100 productions with over 400 performances are staged in La MaMa’s three theaters (Ellen Steward Theater, The First Floor Theater, and The Club) attracting audiences from all backgrounds.
La MaMa provides a supportive home for artists and takes risks on new work. Artists such as Sam Shepard, Lanford Wilson, Philip Glass, Robert Wilson, Harvey Fierstein, Blue Man Group, David and Amy Sedaris, – and others whose names you haven’t heard of yet – began their careers at La MaMa. International artists introduced to America by La MaMa include Tadeusz Kantor, Andrei Serban, Kazuo Ohno and, more recently, the acclaimed Belarus Free Theatre. In its 50 year history, La MaMa has been honored with more than 30 OBIE Awards, dozens of Drama Desk and Bessie Awards, and Villager Awards.
As a landmark institution for artists and audiences alike, La MaMa presents cross-disciplinary work in theatre, dance, performance art, and music that defies form and transcends boundaries of language, race, and culture.
La MaMa recently opened their The Downstairs, in the basement of 66 E. 4th Street, this November 2015. The venue is La MaMa’s fourth performance space and will contain a 150-seat theater, an exhibition space and a classroom, and will emphasize new media and multidisciplinary work. Its opening is part of a larger $30 million renovation and restoration.