Ellen Stewart was the founder and artistic director of the La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in New York City.
Stewart helped advance the growth of the performing arts through extensive involvement in the international arts community, and launched the careers of many well-known artists. She founded La MaMa in 1961, and under her direction, it presented more than 1,900 productions, including theater, dance, music, multimedia, and video works in a variety of settings, and hosted artists from more than seventy different countries. Stewart also created a number of original works in a genre she calls folk-opera/spectacle, and staged them in the United States, Italy, Turkey, Argentina, Brazil, Morocco, Israel, and Nigeria, among many other countries. In addition to presenting La MaMa performances worldwide, she developed an artists’ residence in Spoleto, Italy, called La MaMa Umbria.
Stewart served on the boards of the U.S. Center of International Theatre Institute, the National Council for Culture and Art, and the Playwright’s Platform.
Stewart was a visiting professor of the Institute of Drama in South Korea and a longstanding member of the Seoul International Theater Institute.
Last updated January 1, 2005.