La Mama Theatre

La Mama Theatre

Founded in 1967 by Betty Burstall, La Mama is one of Melbourne's oldest and most fondly regarded theatres.

Famously the cradle of the huge burst of energy which characterised the birth of Australian theatre in the early 1970s, it has never ceased to nurture new, vital and unconventional talents.

With its open fire, free coffee, cheap tickets and its continuing program of what's new and exciting in Australian theatre, it has become an indispensable part of Melbourne's artistic life.

La Mama also manages the Carlton Courthouse theatre.

On the La Mama web site you can find information about current productions, resources for theatre artists, writers and actors and a guide to our educational program and community outreach project.

Betty Burstall


On Friday 14th June 2013, our beloved founder and mentor Betty Burstall left us. She was 87 and died peacefully surrounded by loving family members.

La Mama History

Started in July 1967 in a rundown former lingerie and shirt factory. La Mama was the inspired project of teacher Betty Burstall who had returned to Melbourne from New York with her imagination fired by the creative freedom she found in off-off-Broadway theatre such as Ellen Stewart's La MaMa on the city's lower east side.

After hunting for a suitable venue in the then cheap student haunt of Carlton, Burstall found an 1880's building in Faraday Street owned by the Del Monaco menswear family, available for $28 a week rent.

Forty years on, LaMama's alumni include Cate Blanchett, Graeme Blundell, Louis Nowra, Paul Grabowski and Judith Lucy - but also many names most of us would never have heard of. The point, though, was not fame or success: it was to create a forum of experimentation. And LaMama has supported everything from David Williamson's The Removalists to Monday poetry nights and a 1985 opera staged with a cast of eight and a budget of $350.00.


La Mama operates two venues La Mama Theatre and La Mama Courthouse.

La Mama Theatre (this page)
205 Faraday Street, Carlton 3053

La Mama Courthouse
349 Drummond Street, Carlton 3053

Both venues are a 5 minute walk from public transport:
Melbourne University Tramstop: Routes:1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 64, 67, 72
Parking in the area is available, but can be especially difficult on Friday and Saturday nights, so please allow plenty of time.

205 Faraday Street  Carlton Victoria 3053 | View Map New Window
New Window Telephone: +61 3 9347 6948 | Bookings: +61 3 9347 6142

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