Founded in 1967, La Mama Theatre is one of the most influential theatres in Australia. Across six decades it has fostered an audience for experimental performance, supported a diverse community of playwrights, directors, performers and designers, and hosted regular music concerts, poetry readings and other cultural events. And many of the country's best-known performers have appeared at this unique and much-loved venue.
La Mama's production and administration files have been held by the University of Melbourne Archives since 1977. This collection includes photographs, posters, postcards, flyers, scripts, letters, emails, financial accounts and much more. More than 100 boxes of material have now been catalogued by University archivists and volunteers. The collection represents an invaluable resource through which many important Australian cultural and social history narratives can be traced.
The Theatre and Dance Platform is working with La Mama and the University of Melbourne Archives to digitise this important collection and make it accessible online. Currently, there is a selection of over 2000 photographs and posters available. The Theatre and Dance Platform is also integrating the University's La Mama collection with the AusStage performing arts database, helping to build a content-rich digital research environment to facilitate new forms of historical analysis and new ways of bringing the La Mama story to life.