Twenty-five years of collaboration between Trinity College’s Theater & Dance Department and La MaMa
How did the relationship between Trinity College and La MaMa begin?
In 1983, Trinity College combined its theater and dance programs, creating one department with a strong cross-disciplinary focus. The departments’ relationship with La MaMa was initiated by dance/theater artist and faculty member Judy Dworin and the late Leonardo Shapiro. In 1986, Judy and Leonardo pioneered an effort to expose Trinity students to the downtown performance scene in New York City. Witnessing the creation of art, absorbing the creative intelligence and craft of the nation’s best performers and artists, and creating their own work, these students became the first alumni of the program. A bridge was formed between Trinity College in Hartford, CT and the world-renowned La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club on the Lower East Side of New York City, as La MaMa became the home base for this innovative and groundbreaking educational opportunity.
The Trinity/La MaMa office and studio are located at 47 Great Jones Street in the East Village of NYC. “Great Jones” is part of the La MaMa complex and houses six floors of rehearsal spaces and company offices. Trinity/La MaMa is within walking distance of NYU, Washington Square Park, SoHo, Union Square and the historic Lower East Side.
What is La MaMa?
La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club is a world-renowned cultural organization founded by the late Ellen Stewart. For over 40 years, La MaMa has passionately pursued its original mission to develop, nurture, support, produce, and present new and original performance work by artists of all nations and cultures. Since La MaMa’s doors first opened in 1961, its primary dedication has been to new works. Many of the best plays and playwrights of the 1960s and 1970s have come from its Lower East Side stages and workshops. The face of theater as we now know it, on Broadway and beyond, was influenced by and infused with the spirit and work of these La MaMa artists. La MaMa has been honored with over 30 Obie Awards, dozens of Drama Desk Awards, Bessie Awards, and Villager Awards. To sustain its global vision, La MaMa has become one of this country’s foremost presenters of international performance.
La MaMa began as a tiny basement theater dedicated to the playwright and all aspects of the theater. In the past 40 years, it has grown into an arts complex of national and international celebrity. La MaMa’s buildings contain three theatres (The First Floor Theatre, The Club, and The Annex), a gallery space, the celebrated and extensive La MaMa Archive which documents the history of Off-Off-Broadway theater, six floors of rehearsal studios and company offices, dormitories for visiting artists, set and costume storage and La MaMa’s own administrative offices. The La MaMa facilities are still located on the Lower East Side where they provide dozens of jobs and bring goodwill and health to the neighborhood.