La Mama Theatre to deliver free Professional Development Australia-wide in July

La Mama Maude Davey Todd MacDonald Rachael MazaMelbourne’s La Mama Theatre will brighten up the dark space that has become a dearth of skills development opportunities for theatre artists this July. The organisation will provide a free in-person and online professional development series targeting any theatre practitioners working within the independent theatre space.

Across the five nights and four days, practical topics such as producing, media release writing, First Nations theatre, diversity, consent and power, design, stage management, accessibility, dramaturgy and navigating the mainstream will be workshopped and discussed by presenters and panellists such as Rachael Maza, Sarah Mainwaring, Todd MacDonald, Maude Davey, Laura Milke Garner, Angus Cerini, plus a further forty-four experts, some of the top names in the industry.

“As universities cut theatre programs, and government funding dries up, there are fewer places for artists to learn and grow and develop their skills,” said La Mama CEO and Director Caitlin Dullard.

“Meanwhile there’s more onus on artists to wear a variety of hats and develop skills in adjacent spaces, such as producing, or in writing media releases, or in being across changed expectations regarding safety and consent, so that they can implement this learning themselves within their practice and their shows.”

“With funding and course cuts we have more and more artists turning to us for assistance, and in responding to their needs we hope to crack open those conversations – not just in Melbourne where the situation has certainly become dire, but right across the country,” said Dullard.

The sessions are not only free to attend, they will also all be livestreamed, meaning someone in Perth can listen in as easily as someone in Carlton. Each of the evening sessions will also be Auslan interpreted – the goal being to make this series as open and accessible as possible.

The series is part of La Mama’s broader Pathways program, which the organisation launched last year as a contribution to a future thriving scene in spite of the current challenges.

This year’s expanded Pathways program has been supported financially by John T Reid Cultural Trust Fund, who recognised that La Mama is perfectly positioned to fill this opportunities void, “and then acted on it with their incredibly meaningful philanthropic support,” said Dullard.

“We’re so pleased to be able to offer this program Australia-wide, through livestreaming. Organisations like ours are the feeders. Without education and skills development available, what will the major companies do in the future?

“This program and this series will hopefully help change some theatre practitioners’ lives, and will go some way to restoring the health of the industry,” said Dullard.

The La Mama Professional Development Series consists of 13 free sessions featuring 50 presenters. The series will run 8 – 12 July 2024 at the La Mama Courthouse and online. Bookings now open – free to attend, but bookings essential. For more information and full program, visit: for details.

Images: Maude Davey (supplied) | Todd MacDonald (supplied) | Rachael Maza – photo by Tiffany Garvie