Show artwork for Diana Nguyen


Diana Nguyen


Already a fan of Alice Pung’s work, Diana Nguyen is thrilled to now have the author’s blessing to adapt her award-winning YA novel Laurinda for the stage.

As part of her NEXT STAGE commission to adapt the novel, Diana Nguyen will work with dramaturg and director Petra Kalive to bring to life Pung’s funny, feisty and moving characters.

What can you tell us about the project to adapt Alice Pung’s novel Laurinda?

I’ve been a huge fan of Alice Pung’s work ever since reading her first book, Unpolished Gem, in high school. To then contribute my own short story, Five Ways to Disappoint Your Vietnamese Mother, to her anthology Growing up Asian in Australia was a great honour. To top that, to have Alice’s blessing to adapt her book to a play – wow!

I am excited to work with dramaturg and director Petra Kalive to bring to life Alice’s character of a high-school student finding her way in the world.

How does your process work for a project like this?

I have been lucky to have worked with Petra at Melbourne Playback Theatre Company for a number of years, and entering the zoom writing room has been energetic and wonderful to understand each other’s processes again, albeit via the internet. Through our work at Melbourne Playback we’ve been able to draw themes out from the book and onto our google documents, discovering anew each character created by Alice, and bringing them alive.

What does being a part of the NEXT STAGE program mean to you, personally?

I am excited to step up my work and be part of the NEXT STAGE program. Having co-written web series Phi and Me with Fiona Chau – which  we created to celebrate our families’ Vietnamese refugee story – I am excited to learn the adaption process and work with Petra in bringing Laurinda to life. I know that being part of this program will give me the courage to continue to tell human stories that move and affect us regardless of our gender, culture or race.

NEXT STAGE is made possible with the support of our Playwrights Giving Circle Donors, The Ian Potter Foundation, Naomi Milgrom Foundation, The Myer Foundation, Malcolm Robertson Foundation and The University of Melbourne.

Published on 23 November 2020

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