Tribute to La MaMa

Dear Friends and Artists of the La MaMa Family,
we hope this letter finds you well.

This letter is going out to many friends and family of La MaMa, all over the world.

This summer the work at La MaMa Umbria International will continue with several activities, including the Directors Symposium, the Playwright retreat, the Master Acting Workshop and a special workshop conducted by original members of Kantor’s Cricot 2 theatre.

As you all may well know Ellen felt a strong connection to Italy, where in 1986 she founded a beautiful Artist Center called La MaMa Umbria International, which has been now active since 1990. She came to Spoleto for the first time in the late Sixties, invited to present various La MaMa shows at the Spoleto Festival of 2 Worlds. Somehow, she found something special in this place, something that called her to come back many times. She first bought an apartment in town and later, when she had the opportunity through her Mac Arthur Fellowship “Genius” Award, she bought a former monastery, immersed in the country side near Spoleto, to create another “home base” for La MaMa artists. Many of you have passed by here and have personally witnessed the great energy and inspiration that this place can offer. She has built the place with such passion and care that every detail conveys her beautiful creative and generous spirit.

To find support for the work here in Italy was always a struggle, but this did not stop her from continuing her plan. Through the years La MaMa Umbria became a working and studying place for many artists from all corners of the world. Her presence touched and inspired many people, and ultimately her activities gave a lot to the Italian theatre community and to the town of Spoleto. In 2003 she was given honorary citizenship of Spoleto. In 2007, she was invited to create a performance with the Great Jones Repertory Company for Venice Biennale. For that occasion it was published a book called “La MaMa of the Avantgarde, the work of Ellen Stewart and her relations with Italy”, curated by the Italian theatre journalist Moreno Cerquetelli.

Ellen was deeply attached to Spoleto and to La MaMa Umbria International, she work very hard to make a welcoming and creative place, so much that she expressed the wish to be brought to Italy to remain forever. This will happen in July and for the occasion we will organize some events in her honor. With this letter we would like to inform you of these events, hoping that you will want to contribute in any way you can and join us in Spoleto.

These are some of the things we are planning:

Tribute to La MaMa
July 6, 2001

Teatro San Nicolò, Spoleto
An evening dedicated to Ellen Stewart

The evening will be produced by La MaMa Umbria International, in collaboration with the Spoleto Festival of 2 Worlds, Offucina Eclectic Arts and of the City of Spoleto. The idea is to create an evening that Ellen would like to attend, with artists from La MaMa offering short artistic contributions in her honor. There will also be a few speakers and video from the Archives of La MaMa E.T.C. and of La MaMa Umbria. We are hoping that La MaMa artists will offer a small performative contribution. For those that cannot be present in person, you could send a short video contribution. We are thinking of creating a video collage, composed of short (one-minute) “on-video” contributions specially made for the occasion.

La MaMa dell’Avanguardia
publication of a new revised edition

We will publish a new revised version of the book La MaMa dell’Avanguardia, adding new contributions from La MaMa artists and friends, focused only on Ellen’s work and life in the theatre. We would appreciate if you could consider sending us contributions for the book. We will accept various types of formats: photographs, short essays and interesting stories. Contributions will have to be either in Italian or English and should not exceed 5 pages (double spaced).  If you have larger text contribution that you would like to propose, please contact Andrea Paciotto, as soon as possible.

Spoleto Fringe
from June 24, 2011

Since 2009, La MaMa Umbria International, has been participating in the organization of the Spoleto Fringe. This is a new artistic event, curated by Andrea Paciotto and Offucina Eclectic Arts that we are working to establish in Spoleto. Entering its 3rd edition, but it has received enthusiastic response, both by the general public and critics. It presents the work of artists from different disciplines (theatre, dance, music, visual arts, etc.) in various indoor and outdoor alternative spaces, as a special evento of the prestigious Spoleto Festival of 2 Worlds. This year the Spoleto Fringe will be this year dedicated to Ellen with the participation of many La MaMa artists. It will begin on June 24th, at the same time as the main Festival, but this year it will continue on after the main festival finishes.

La MaMa is entering its 50th season this Fall. There will be special programming in October and we will tell more in the coming months.

This incredible La MaMa Family that Ellen has created is unique and has shaped the legacy of La MaMa. We hope it will continue into the future.

Love to everyone.


May 13,

Please let us know as soon as possible if you intend to come to Spoleto and participate in some of these events. La MaMa Umbria International will be fully engaged in the Summer courses (check the website of La MaMa E.T.C. for more detailed information regarding the courses, or click the link to download the brochure Symposium La MaMa Umbria 2011), so unfortunatelly we will not be able to offer accommodation, but we will help find affordable and nice solutions.

Those of you that are interested in proposing a performance contribution for the Tribute to La MaMa (July 6, 2011) and/or for the Spoleto Fringe (from June 24, 2011), or to send contributions for the book La MaMa dell’Avanguardia, please please contact:

Mia Yoo
La MaMa E.T.C.

tel. +1 212 2546468


Andrea Paciotto
La MaMa Umbria International
Offucina Spoleto

Tel. +39 0743 222601 or 347 8984151


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