Million dollar boost to help La Mama rise from the ashes

Caitlin Dullard and Liz Jones survey the aftermath of the fire at La MamaMelbourne’s La Mama Theatre is set to wow audiences yet again with the Victorian Government providing $1 million to help kick-start fundraising efforts to rebuild the iconic theatre.

Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley has announced the funding, which will boost the theatre’s existing fundraising efforts and help attract further donations. “La Mama has contributed so much to our creative industries and to our cultural life – backing artists, creative risk-taking and ideas since the 1960’s,” said Minister Foley.

“The passion, commitment and resilience of this place, and the people behind it, has shone through over the last six months and I hope this $1 million helps La Mama get back on its feet and return stronger than ever.”

Widely considered the birthplace of independent Australian theatre, La Mama’s Faraday Street home was devastated by fire earlier this year, leading to Australia’s arts community and others rallying behind the beloved theatre.

The Labor Government provided a $150,000 rescue package to enable the company to employ additional staff and access expert heritage and project management advice in the wake of the tragedy.

Since then, the small La Mama team has worked tirelessly to continue to provide opportunities for local artists and present performances, while dealing with the aftermath of the fire and planning for the rebuild. They are now based at the nearby La Mama Courthouse venue.

The renewal project will respect the heritage and spirit of the site and restore and repurpose as much of the original building as possible. It also provides the opportunity to make La Mama fully accessible and ensure the building best serves the needs of future generations of artists.

La Mama has appointed Meg White as lead architect for the project. Meg has a long and close association with the theatre, designing multiple productions and was once the house manager. Architecture and construction firm Cottee Parker is also on board alongside a team of highly experienced heritage and project consultants.

“La Mama, so devastated by the fire in May, has been given great heart by the Labor Government’s grant of $1 million to launch our fundraising campaign,” said La Mama Theatre Artistic Director Liz Jones. “This very substantial contribution will indeed help us restore our beloved theatre to its vital role in the cultural life of Victoria.”

Work is expected to commence on the Faraday Street site next year and be completed by 2020. For more information, visit: www.lamama.com.au for details.

Image: Caitlin Dullard and Liz Jones survey the aftermath of the fire at La Mama (supplied)

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