Carlton’s La Mama theatre will reopen its doors with a free, four-day celebration to reintroduce Melburnians to the beloved building, which has been rebuilt and refreshed.
Three years on from a devastating fire, the heritage restoration has lovingly brought the theatre back to life with new facilities for rehearsals, workshops and artists ensuring the best performances for generations to come.
Improvements have been made to make the new theatre more accessible, while solar panels and a water tank make the creative space more environmentally sustainable.
The Andrews Labor Government invested $1 million in the rebuild, which was also supported by a philanthropic alliance comprising Gandel Philanthropy, John T Reid Charitable Trusts, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, Sidney Myer Fund and a fifth anonymous donor.
Strong community support with donations big and small helped bring the iconic theatre back to life, with the project designed by former La Mama staff member Meg White.
With a reputation as the home of Australian independent theatre, La Mama has shaped the careers of extraordinary talent including David Williamson, Cate Blanchett, Julia Zemiro and Uncle Jack Charles over its five-decade history.
The War-Rak/Banksia festival takes its name from the War-Rak/Banksia flower - which after fire comes back stronger than ever – and will run until 12 December, with a program full of theatre, poetry, dance and music.
The festival marks the start of a busy summer at La Mama theatre, which will deliver a bumper season of programming – alongside Melbourne’s many celebrated theatres, galleries and creative spaces.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson
“La Mama theatre has deep roots in the Australian arts community and we’re proud to deliver this iconic space back to Victoria’s creative sector, stronger and bolder than ever.”
“Victorians can look forward to many more decades of creative risk-taking, groundbreaking theatre and exciting new talent from the La Mama family of artists and supporters.”
Reviewed 09 December 2021