Press Releases

The House of Bernarda Alba

16 Apr 2018

A powerhouse cast including Candy Bowers (Lilith the Jungle Girl), Peta Brady (SHIT), Julie Forsyth (Endgame), Bessie Holland (Blaque Showgirls), Sue Jones (Minnie & Liraz), Melita Jurisic (John) and Emily Milledge (Joan) will star in Patricia Cornelius’ raw and exhilarating adaptation of Federico García Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba when it opens on Thursday 31 May at Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio.

Directed by Leticia Cáceres (The Drover’s Wife), this MTC commission takes Lorca’s classic literary tragedy out of the villages of Spain and into the heat of rural Western Australia to explore themes of passion, repression and isolation.

Leticia Cáceres said, ‘The House of Bernarda Alba is a project that Patricia and I have been cultivating for a long time. It is the perfect vehicle to explore the politics of gender and the female body. We’ve dreamed up an unconventional Alba, one that sizzles under the harsh Australian sun.’

With their mining-mogul father dead, the Alba household is in mourning. All four daughters have been called home to pay their respects by their mother, Bernarda, who is truly a force of nature. The future seems wildly uncertain for all but the eldest sister, who has inherited a fortune and is engaged to the local heartthrob. But as tensions rise and tempers flare, will any of them have the power to alter their own destinies?

Patricia Cornelius is one of Australia’s most prolific playwrights. She has written over 25 plays including SHIT (Green Room Award for Writing – Independent Theatre) which premiered in 2015 as part of MTC NEON and has since had multiple return seasons; Savages (Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Drama, Green Room Award for Writing – Independent Theatre); and Who’s Afraid of the Working Class?, co-written with Andrew Bovell, Christos Tsiolkas, Melissa Reeves and Irine Vela. Her prizes for stage work include the 2011 Victorian and NSW Premiers’ Literary Awards, the Patrick White Playwright’s Award, the Richard Wherrett Prize, the Wal Cherry Award and nine AWGIES. She won the prestigious Australian Writers Foundation Playwriting Award in 2015 as well as the Patrick White Fellowship in 2012, and a Fellowship from the Australia Council’s Theatre Board. Patricia has won the AWGIE Major Award three times and in 2017 was announced as one of MTC’s inaugural NEXT STAGE commissioned writers. Patricia is a founding member of Melbourne Workers’ Theatre.

Leticia Caceres is one of Australia’s leading theatre directors. Associate Director at MTC from 2013 to 2015, Leticia directed The Distance, Death and the Maiden, Birdland (Winner of Best Direction Green Room Award, nominated for four Green Room Awards), The Effect (nominated for three Green Room Awards), Cock, and Constellations for the Company, as well as MTC Education shows Yellow Moon (winner of a Drama Victoria Award and nominated for four Green Room Awards), Helicopter, and Random (nominated for three Green Room Awards). She received Helpmann and Sydney Theatre Awards for Best Direction of a Play for The Drover’s Wife (Belvoir), which also won Best Production at both ceremonies in 2017. For Belvoir, she also directed Mortido (co-produced with STCSA) Miss Julie and The Dark Room, nominated for seven Sydney Theatre Awards. Leticia is the co-founder of nationally acclaimed RealTV with multi-award winning playwright Angela Betzien. For RealTV she has directed Tall Man (nominated for two Green Room Awards), War Crimes, Hoods (winner of a Matilda and Drama Victoria Award, and a Helpmann nomination) and Children of the Black Skirt (recipient of a Drama Victoria Award). RealTV are recipients of Brilliant Careers funding through Screen Australia, to adapt their stage content for screen, in consultation with Matchbox Pictures and Madman Productions. In 2017 Leticia will direct two short films: Wild (completed) and Father’s Day. Leticia is the 2017 recipient of a Keith and Elizabeth Murdoch Travel Scholarship. Her previous professional appointments include Intern and Associate Director for Queensland Theatre Company and Artistic Director of Tantrum Youth Theatre, Newcastle.

Cast Candy Bowers, Peta Brady, Julie Forsyth, Bessie Holland, Sue Jones, Melita Jurisic, Emily Milledge
Director Leticia Cáceres
Set and Costume Designer Marg Horwell
Lighting Designer Rachel Burke
Composer Irine Vela
Sound Designer Jethro Woodward

Season Dates
25 May – 7 July

Opening Night
Thursday 31 May

Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio

03 8688 0800


An MTC Commission

Published on 16 April 2018