Carlton’s best kept secret: La Mama Theatre

IN THIS week’s edition of the International Students’ Guide to Carlton, Meld reporter Joyce Ho goes backstage to unveil one of the neighbourhood’s hidden gems, the La Mama Theatre.

Theatre right at your door step. La Mama Theatre is located on Faraday St in Carlton.

Theatre right at your door step. La Mama Theatre is located on Faraday St in Carlton.

DID you know one of Melbourne’s oldest and most relevant theatres is right on your doorstep here in Carlton? It was where Cate Blanchett started out as a young woman and budding actress in the late 1980s.

Founded by Betty Burstall in 1967, La Mama Theatre has been recognised both here in Australia and overseas as a crucible for cutting edge, contemporary theatre; as well as a proud advocate of those seeking to venture beyond mainstream theatre.

La Mama Theatre in the early days.

La Mama Theatre in the early days.

More than 1700 new works have been staged at the La Mama Theatre in the past 44 years, and more than 60 new Australian works are added to the list every year – staged at both at its original birthplace on Faraday St, and its second venue La Mama Courthouse on Drummond St in Carlton.

Noteworthy too is the diverse body of work being staged at La Mama by theatre makers from all backgrounds, many of whom  are interested in exploring and critiquing social issues.

La Mama Theatre then...

La Mama Theatre then...

And now... at the 2011 Summer Launch at La Mama Theatre.

And now... at the 2011 Summer Launch at La Mama Theatre.

What we like most about La Mama, is the way in which it has worked hard to support emerging and often cash-strapped artists through a unique budgetary model, by offering them a high artistic risk/low financial risk proposition. Artists are given upfront funding to present work in a rental-free venue, and offered an 80 per cent box-office return.

Past production images at La Mama Theatre for the stageplay Skinhouse (pictured).

Past production images at La Mama Theatre for the stageplay Skinhouse (pictured).

Tickets to shows are also affordable at $25 full price and $15 concession. The theatre’s artistic program is divided into four seasons during the year and each new season brings an eclectic array of shows to appeal to a broad cross section of audiences.

La Mama Theatre is located at 205 Faraday Street, Carlton VIC 3053. To find out more about the history of La Mama and to see what’s showing now and down the track, visit La Mama Theatre’s website.

La Mama Theatre is pleased to offer our readers 3 double passes to any La Mama production from June 24 to August 24, 2011. For your chance to win, tell us on our Facebook page one thing you wouldn’t want to be caught dead on stage doing by 11pm Thursday June 23. Entries go into a random draw.

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