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 Victorian 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.
“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,” said Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson.
“Victorians can look forward to many more decades of creative risk-taking, ground-breaking theatre and exciting new talent from the La Mama family of artists and supporters.”
For more information about La Mama, visit: www.lamama.com.au for details.
Image: Artistic Director & Co-CEO Liz Jones and Artist & La Mama Elder Lloyd Jones at the reopening of La Mama – photo by Darren Gill