12 November 2018
Melbourne’s iconic La Mama Theatre is a big step closer to being rebuilt with the Victorian Government announcing support towards the project.
Widely considered the birthplace of independent Australian theatre, La Mama’s Faraday Street home was devastated by fire earlier this year. While insurance is expected to cover part of the rebuild, a shortfall of up to $2 million has been identified.
The state government will contribute $1 million which will enable La Mama to proceed with confidence and provides a strong foundation for the company’s fundraising efforts.
The funding is expected to leverage further support from other tiers of government, philanthropists and from La Mama’s dedicated and passionate community.
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 and a team of highly experienced heritage and project consultants.
In the hours, days and weeks following the fire on May 19, Australia’s arts community and others rallied behind La Mama. The Victorian Government provided a $150,000 rescue package which enabled the company to employ additional staff and access expert heritage and project management advice.
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.
Work is expected to commence on the Faraday Street site in mid-2019 and be completed by mid-2020.