Fire devastates iconic La Mama Theatre in Melbourne

La Mama Fire - photo by Metropolitan Fire BrigadeMelbourne’s theatre community has awoken to the heartbreaking news this morning that the iconic La Mama Theatre has been devastated by fire in the earlier hours of today.

Firefighters were called to heritage-listed theatre in Carlton shortly after 5.00am this morning. It’s unclear how the fire started, but investigators are expected to examine the scene on Saturday morning to determine what caused the blaze.

Approximately 18 MFB appliances and 50 firefighters, as well as Victoria Police and Ambulance Victoria personnel attended the scene and are expected to remain throughout the day. No one has been reportedly injured, though part of the building has collapsed. A building surveyor will also assess the building.

Long serving Artistic Director Liz Jones has told The Age “The feeling is that we must rebuild and we must go on,” she said. “But somehow there has to be a future and it has to be a really good future and a wonderful and optimistic future, because it has been such an optimistic and positive place. There is a future, we will go on.”

Built in 1883, the two-storey building was originally used as a printing workshop and has served as La Mama Theatre since 1967. Valued by artists and audiences alike, La Mama is treasured for its continued advocacy of those seeking to explore beyond mainstream theatre.

In 2008, a significant fundraising campaign abled the purchase of the Faraday Street property to secure the future of the artistic hub. In 2017, the theatre celebrated its 50 anniversary, and to date has produced over 2100 productions, fostering many Australian theatrical great including Cate Blanchett, Graeme Blundell, Jack Charles, Jack Hibberd, Judith Lucy and David Williamson, just to name a few…

La Mama said via Facebook, “Thank you everyone for your support and thoughts – we sincerely appreciate it. Our staff are on site working through it together. We will update everyone in due time.?”

For more information about La Mama, visit: www.lamama.com.au for details.

Image: Firefighters on scene at La Mama Theatre in Carlton – photo by Metropolitan Fire Brigade

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