La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club is New York’s premier Off Off Broadway venue, celebrating works that push the boundaries of language and culture, and showcasing cutting-edge talent from around the globe. Founded by Ellen Stewart in 1961, the company has grown into a vibrant and vital hub for artists and theatergoers alike, often presenting multiple shows simultaneously.
“It’s a place that gives people a chance, then goes an extra step and nurtures them,” says David Sedaris. “Were it not for La MaMa, Amy and I never would have written a single play, much less five.” A diverse and impressive roster of artists have been nurtured there, including: Blue Man Group, Sam Shepard, Ed Bullins, Taylor Mac, Estelle Parsons, Adrienne Kennedy, Diane Lane, Jackie Curtis, Harvey Keitel, Robert Wilson, Bette Midler, André DeShields, Harvey Fierstein, Max Roach, Steve Buscemi, Julie Taymor, Philip Glass, and Olympia Dukakis.
“Artists are welcomed at La MaMa and lovingly encouraged to experiment,” says Artistic Director Mia Yoo. “As we’ve grown over the years, risk-taking and diversity have remained key cultural values.” Our East Village location is a thriving community of four performances spaces, a suite of rehearsal studios, an art gallery, a dormitory for visiting artists, and the La MaMa Archives (an unparalleled physical record of downtown theater).
In 2018, The American Theatre Wing presented La MaMa with the Regional Theatre Tony Award recognizing it as “the influential company that helped give birth to the Off Off Broadway movement.” La MaMa has also been honored with 30+ Obie Awards, dozens of Drama Desk and Bessie Awards and Villager Awards.
Well-known as a place where American theatergoers are introduced to the work of artists from around the globe, La MaMa has presented the US debuts of Peter Brook, Tadeusz Kantor, Andrei Serban, Kazuo Ohno, and recently, Belarus Free Theatre, which the Times’ Ben Brantley called “One of the most powerful and vividly resourceful underground companies on the planet.”
With creative partners from around the world, La MaMa has presented more than 5,000 productions and supported more than 150,000 artists.