A new play by Diana Nguyen with Petra Kalive, based on the novel by Alice Pung

Directed by Petra Kalive

6 Aug — 10 Sep 2022

Southbank Theatre, The Sumner

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.

Approx. 1 hour and 40 minutes. No interval.

Under 30? Receive 50% off A-Reserve or B-Reserve tickets to Laurinda! Just select the 'Youth (29 & Under)' price when booking. 

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‘Filled with intelligence and humour.’

The Conversation
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‘The all-star cast provides a captivating performance.’

Beat Magazine


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. Like Heathers or Mean Girls with a uniquely Australian flavour and featuring an all Asian ensemble cast, this delightful take on the beloved novel stars Fiona Choi (The Family Law), Gemma Chua-Tran (Netflix's Heartbreak High), Georgina Naidu (Minnie & Liraz), Chi Nguyen (The Wilds), Ngoc Phan (Boy Swallows Universe), Roy Phung (Jasper Jones) and Jenny Zhou (Girl, Interpreted) in an incisive, funny study of a woman caught between cultures and class.

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.

Whether high school is (thankfully) a distant memory or a current reality, this MTC NEXT STAGE commission 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.


 Next Stage logo MONO      Malcolm_Robertson_Foundation_Logo_2020_72dpi_small.jpg      Playking_Foundation_Logo.png

Commissioned with support from the Malcolm Robertson Foundation, with play development supported by MTC’s Playwrights Giving Circle Donors, The Ian Potter Foundation, Naomi Milgrom Foundation, The Myer Foundation and The University of Melbourne, and community engagement support by Playking Foundation. 


  • Wheelchair Accessible

  • Hearing Assistance

  • Audio Described

  • Tactile Tour

  • Open Captioning

Performance Type Performance Date(s)
Audio Described
by Vision Australia
Saturday 27 August at 2pm
Tuesday 30 August at 6.30pm
Tactile Tour
by Vision Australia
Saturday 27 August, before the 2pm performance
Open Captioning
via screen
Saturday 3 September at 2pm

Fiona Choi

Katie / Mrs Leslie / As cast

Artwork for Gemma Chua-Tran

Gemma Chua-Tran

Linh / Brodie

Artwork for Georgina Naidu

Georgina Naidu

Trisha / Mrs Grey / Mrs White / As cast

Chi Nguyen

Chi Nguyen

Mum / Amber / Charlotte / As cast

Artwork for Ngoc Phan

Ngoc Phan

Lucy / Lucy-38

Artwork for Roy Phung

Roy Phung

Dad / Dr Vanderwerp / As cast

Jenny Zhou

Jenny Zhou

Tully / Chelsea / Mrs Newberry / As cast


Alice Pung


Artwork for Diana Nguyen

Diana Nguyen


Diana Nguyen is an actor, comedian and writer. Diana has been in the entertainment industry for 15 years, and performed all over Australia and internationally in LA and Edinburgh.

Diana has performed on TV, film and theatre including devising over ten shows, including Dirty Diana and Naked (standup), Dirty Baby and Viet Kieu (theatre). She has also appeared on TV: The Project (Ch10), Q+A (ABC), How to Stay Married (Ch10), 5 bedrooms (Ch10), Fancy Boy (ABC) and Fat Pizza (Ch7).

In 2008, Diana's popular short story Five Ways to Disappoint Your Vietnamese Mother was published in Alice Pung's book Growing up Asian in Australia. This started her need to share her story of growing up in Springvale and lead to the creation of the theatre show, Phi and Me.

She is the co-creator of Phi and Me, the first ever Vietnamese Australian family comedy series which was first performed at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2011, sharing the love of a refugee mother's love for her child living in Australia.

In 2019 Phi and Me became the first ever Vietnamese Australian family comedy web series which was funded by Screen Australia and crowd funders from around the world.

Artwork for Petra Kalive

Petra Kalive

Writer & Director

Petra trained at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and has extensive experience as a director, writer and dramaturg of new works for the stage. Her acclaimed adaptation of Peter Goldsworthy’s novel Three Dog Night toured nationally. She was Dramaturg at Red Stitch from 2009 – 2012, Assistant Dramaturg at The Malthouse in 2010.  Petra was Artistic Director of Union House Theatre (UHT) 2015-2020.

At Melbourne Theatre Company Petra has directed Laurinda, Touching the Void, The Lifespan of a Fact, Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes (Green Room nom Best Direction), Hungry Ghosts, Melbourne Talam (Green Room nom Best Director) and Beached.

Petra has also worked for Belvoir Street, Sydney Theatre Company, Arena Theatre Company, Complete Works Theatre Company, Union House Theatre, St Martins Youth Arts Centre, La Trobe, Monash University & Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) performing arts programs. 

Her notable independent directing credits include the much-acclaimed Taxithi, which had two sell-out seasons at fortyfivedownstairs (Green Room nom Best Director), her own work Oil Babies at Northcote Town Hall (shortlisted for the NSW Premier Literary Awards 2019) and new Australian musical, My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin adapted by Dean Bryant and Matthew Frank.


Eugyeene Teh

Set Design and AV Concept & Design

Karine Larché

Karine Larché

Costume Designer

Rachel Lee

Rachel Lee

Lighting Designer

Marco Cher-Gibard

Marco Cher-Gibard

Composer & Sound Designer

Artwork for Justin Gardam

Justin Gardam

AV Designer

Artwork for Xanthe Beesley

Xanthe Beesley

Movement Director

Artwork for Roshelle Fong

Roshelle Fong

Assistant Director & AV Composition

Roshelle Fong (she/her) is a Hong Kong born multidisciplinary artist who created the award-winning immersive show nomnomnom (2018), adapted in East Iceland, Shanghai and Sydney. She also made the online interactive theatre show Thirsty! (2020) for Griffin Theatre’s Griffin Lock-in and Google Creative Lab’s Theatre, made for the internet, and co-created the Green Room Award nominated theatre show Poona (2021) with Keziah Warner for Next Wave. In 2022 Roshelle worked with Melbourne Theatre Company as Assistant Director and AV collaborator on Laurinda, and wrote for the theatre’s annual playwriting showcase Cybec Electric Scenes.  She was also a participant in Australia Council for the Arts and Creative New Zealand‘s Digital Fellowship Program and RISING Festival’s Headroom Award mentorship. Roshelle’s graduating play for the Masters of Theatre (Writing) at Victorian College of the Arts, 红铅 The Red Lead, won the Bruntwood Playwriting Prize International Award 2022 part of UK’s largest national playwriting competition. 

Artwork for Alice Qin

Alice Qin

Cultural Consultant

Artwork for Lauren May Cheok

Lauren May Cheok

Standby Cover

Artwork for Kevin Hojerslev

Kevin Hojerslev

Standby Cover

Artwork for Tiarne Sue Yek

Tiarne Sue Yek

Standby Cover

The Sumner

140 Southbank Boulevard

Southbank, Victoria 3006

Learn more about Laurinda