Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Ellen Stewart Theater

On November 1, the La MaMa Annex Space will be renamed The Ellen Stewart Theater, as a living tribute to La MaMa's founder and artistic director. I can't think of better way to celebrate the life and career of Ellen Stewart; nor can I think of a theater person more deserving of having a theater named after them.

The following comes from the press release from La MaMa:

La MaMa ETC - one of the standard-bearers of experimental theater in New York and around the globe since it was founded in 1961 by the inimitable Ellen Stewart - will rename its Annex theater the Ellen Stewart Theater at a gala entitled "Celebrating Ellen" on Sunday, November 1 at 4 p.m. at the Annex (66 E. 4 St.), it has been announced by Mia Yoo, Associate Artistic Director of La MaMa, and Frank Carucci, President of the theater's Board of Directors.

A host of La MaMa alum - including Tony winner Bill Irwin, Meredith Monk, John Kelly, Peggy Shaw, Lois Weaver, Elizabeth Swados, Andrei Serban and members of Ms. Stewart's own Great Jones Repertory Company - will perform and pay tribute to Ms. Stewart, affectionately known as "Mama," at the November 1st event, which will also mark the 48th anniversary of the founding of La MaMa ETC.

Through Ms. Stewart's guidance and vision of international and multi-cultural collaboration in the arts, La MaMa ETC is considered the home of experimental theater in America, one of the premiere presenters of the international avant-garde, and a beacon to all artists who explore the boundaries of creative expression. Well-known names of the theatre for whom La MaMa was their first artistic home in the United States include Andrei Serban, Elizabeth Swados, Jerzy Grotowski, Tadeusz Kantor, Tom O'Horgan, Lee Breuer,Tom Eyen, Mike Figgis, Joel Zwick, Harold Pinter (THE ROOM -- La MaMa was the first presenter of Mr. Pinter's work in the United States); Kazuo Ohno, Tan Dun, Julia Stiles and Diane Lane, as well as artists from Japan, Nigeria, Korea, Zaire, Ivory Coast, Poland and countless other countries. La MaMa was the first Off-Off Broadway theatre to support full-time resident companies, and was the first Off-Off company to tour Europe. La MaMa has been honored with numerous OBIE Awards, dozens of Drama Desk Awards, Bessie Awards and Villager Awards.

For ticket information about "Celebrating Ellen," call the La MaMa box office at 212-475-7710. Single tickets are available for $100, with various patron packages also available.

Ellen Stewart also won the first Stewardship Award from the New York Innovative Theatre Foundation (an award that NYTE was honored to received in 2008). La MaMa's website is at

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