A new stage adaptation of the classic ’90s novel and 2000 film ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ lands in Melbourne

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A new stage adaptation of the classic ’90s novel and 2000 film ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ lands in Melbourne

A coming-of-age story set in 1990s inner Sydney, 'Looking for Alibrandi' is an honest and empowering portrait of an Italian-Australian teenager - and one that's hit Melbourne's stage for July. 

Looking for Alibrandi is a powerful story about systematic racism in Australia, told from a migrant perspective. Melina Marchetta’s beloved novel has been adapted into a cult movie and is now coming to the stage for the first time.

A collaboration between the Wheeler Centre and Malthouse Theatre, playwright Vidya Rajan and director Stephen Nicolazzo bring this foundational exploration of family, womanhood, first love, identity and othering to the Merlyn Theatre at The Malthouse.

The key takeaways

  • Looking for Alibrandi, the beloved book and cult film, is being adapted for the stage for the first time
  • It’s an honest and empowering story about Mediterranean culture, set in 1990s Sydney
  • It takes place from July 9 – 31 at The Malthouse Theatre

Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around the region here

Josie Alibrandi is in her final year of high school. Whip-smart and aspirational, she is a third-generation Italian teenager and scholarship kid, with the shadow of a family curse and a penchant for rulebreaking. Juggling grades, boys, and the claustrophobia of an overbearing nonna and saintly mother, Josie’s life becomes tangled in the webs of class, identity, and family history as she finds her place in a changing world.


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“The story has always compelled me because it spoke so directly to the conflict I experienced, socially and internally,” states director Stephen Nicolazzo.

“I was scared to embrace my identity for fear of not being able to access an Anglo-centric world. Josie was the first character I had ever read or seen on screen that understood what it was like.

“She made me proud to be a wog and I will thank Melina for creating her every single day.”

Looking for Alibrandi takes place from July 9 – 31. Get your tickets by heading here.