La Mama funding ~ theatre notes

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

La Mama funding

News just in: after some nervous waiting, La Mama Theatre tonight announced that it has had its funding confirmed for 2008. Not only that, the company has been granted an extension of its previous funding levels, with 2.7 per cent indexation. And, along with all other Key Organizations, an additional one-off payment of "$50K+".

In what must be the understatement of the year, the company simply reports: "We are relieved and delighted."

And so are we. That a vital and unique cultural institution like La Mama was put on notice by the Australia Council (background here) exposed just how parlous the situation is for small to medium theatre companies.

So roll on the celebrations for La Mama's 40th Birthday, which I for one am looking forward to. They do good bashes. I remember reciting a poem at - was it the 21st? - holding a very small baby. And now Josh will soon be turning 20. Tempis fugit indeed...


Geoffrey said...

How bizarre that there should ever have been cause for concern that La Mama would lose its funding!

Anonymous said...

1. They would never have lost it really...they couldn't/wouldn't do that would they?
2. I remember a friend once replied to my question: 'wanna go see a show at lamama?', with these words: "I never go to lamama, everything there is shit." My response was to go anyway, and let me just say it wasn't, and he is.
3. Yesterday I attended a forum with an american producer in town for miaf, she spoke about the dearth of funding for the arts in the ol u s of a. We are blessed and so very lucky to have lamama, especially in this particular climate.
4. I think right now would be a great time to see lamama full of sudanese youths, facing off against a guy in a suit.
5. I think my favourite ever production at lamama was that barry dickens play a few years ago, Tyranny I think it was called, where these private school boys set out to do over a rich old woman. If I recall rightly, Emma Valente directed it, the cast were nuts and it was like Barry had got up that morning, scribbled it down and handed it in. Who needs drafting when you have barry dickens? So good.

Bravo and many happy returns!!!

Alison Croggon said...

Well, I remember the cultural vandalism that shut down Anthill and the Church and left a complete void in the middle of Melbourne theatre for years. Yes, of course it was possible.

It was serious enough: they were told they didn't have a "brand" or "house style", that their work was duplicated by all the indie companies around town and so was redundant and they they were too old fashioned. And that they didn't have proper quality control or something. All of which so comprehensively misunderstands La Mama's value and mission and place - not to mention the sheer value for money it represents, in terms of the amount of work it puts out - that it's almost scandalous. However, I don't think I have ever seen the Melbourne theatre community so united on an issue: everyone spoke up for it, from the Arts Centre through to independent artists, and everyone was indignant and outraged. I think practically everyone got their start there! Yes, we are so lucky to have it.