An MTC NEXT STAGE Publication


by Diana Nguyen with Petra Kalive

Based on the novel by Alice Pung

$23.99 + postage

Adapting Alice Pung’s award-winning book, writer and comedian Diana Nguyen and director Petra Kalive bring Laurinda’s schoolyard setting to the stage for a fresh and feisty new work.


More Information

Laurinda tells the story of Lucy Lam, a 38-year-old woman who still has a lot to learn from her 15-year-old self when she is thrust back to the year she won a scholarship to a prestigious private school. The smart and well-liked student is not prepared for the new world she’s suddenly propelled into. It’s a world of wealth and opportunity, overseen by The Cabinet – a trio of girls who wield power over their classmates, and even their teachers. But when The Cabinet turn their attention to Lucy she has to make a choice: fit in and succeed, or stay true to herself. Either way, there’s a cost.

This MTC NEXT STAGE commission from Diana Nguyen and Petra Kalive adapting Alice Pung’s award-winning book offers a witty and moving insight into an all-too common experience as well as the inner strength it takes to speak truth to power.

Diana Nguyen is an actor, writer, comedian and producer, and in 2021 she was awarded the Overall Top 40 Under 40 Asian Australian Leadership Award. Her writing credits include her comedy standup shows, ‘5 Ways to Disappoint Your Vietnamese Mother’ in the anthology Growing up Asian in Australia edited by Alice Pung, and the award-winning web series Phi and Me, which won a Best International Narrative accolade at New Zealand Web Fest. Subsequent to this, the upcoming TV series Phi and Me (Northern Pictures) is currently in development with Screen Australia. Diana has also appeared on Q + A (ABC), The Project (Network 10) and featured in acting roles include the award-winning role of Kim Huong in Phi and Me (Sicily Web Fest); Tunnel Rat (Malthouse Theatre); Viet Kieu (Melbourne Fringe); How to Stay Married (Network 10) and more. Diana is passionate about improvisation and participates with the Melbourne ensemble companies the Humour Foundation and Melbourne Playback Theatre Company. You can listen to Diana on comedy interview podcast The SnortCast

Petra Kalive is Associate Director at Melbourne Theatre Company and has previously directed Touching the Void, The Lifespan of a Fact, Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes (Green Room Award-nominated Outstanding Direction & Outstanding Production), Hungry Ghosts and Melbourne Talam (Green Room Award-nominated Best Director) for the Company, as well as Pandora for MTC NOW. She has also worked for Belvoir Street Theatre, Sydney Theatre Company, Arena Theatre Company, Complete Works Theatre Company, St Martins Youth Arts Centre, Monash University Centre for Theatre and Performance, La Trobe Performing Arts Department and the Victorian College of the Arts. Independent directorial credits include: Taxithi (fortyfivedownstairs – Green Room Awardnominated Best Director); Oil Babies, which she also wrote (Lab Kelpie – shortlisted for the NSW Premier Literary Awards); and My Brilliant Career, a musical adaptation by Dean Bryant and Matthew Frank of the Miles Franklin novel (Monash University). Petra was Artistic Director of Union House Theatre from 2014–2019.