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ljubičica  wild violet

by Melita Rowston

Performed by Josipa Draisma


“Boldly put, this is the best play that I have seen this Fringe Festival, and is right up there as one of the best pieces of theatre I have ever seen" - The Buzz From Sydney

"Rowston & Draisma have humanised the migrant experience at a time we need it most" – Syke On Stage

"The stories are sentimental, and the songs are romantic. The bitter-sweet show, written and directed by Melita Rowston, strikes a thoughtful balance between biography and entertainment, with surprising variations in atmosphere that help hold our attention. It is ultimately a delightful insight into one of our many migrant experiences, with a special poignancy that seems to arise uniquely from true stories" - Suzy Go See

"From the moment Josipa Draisma enters the stage she is captivating, singing with passion and poise, achieving a hypnotic mastery over the audience. Worth seeing for Draisma’s voice alone" - Theatre Now
"The real reason why this play is so brilliant, though, is because it is real. This isn’t just an actor performing a part; Draisma is recounting a true story based on her mother’s life. These are stories, songs and emotions that she herself grew up recalling. The honesty of the play is its greatest asset. This is true theatre"  - The Buzz From Sydney

Ljubičica Wild Violet - Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Photo by Robert Catto

Ljubičica Wild Violet - Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Photo by Robert Catto

Ljubičica Wild Violet - Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Photo by Robert Catto

Ljubičica Wild Violet - Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Photo by Robert Catto

Ljubičica Wild Violet - Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Photo by Robert Catto

Mara Knezevic and Josipa Draisma, Photo by Johnny Diaz Nicolaidis

Josipa Draisma, Photo by Johnny Diaz Nicolaidis

A poor Croatian village girl is called to a new life in far away Australia by a father she has longed for, but can barely remember

In this exuberant music theatre show Josipa Draisma shares the deeply personal tale of her mother’s migrant experience. Ljubičica – Wild Violet is a universal story of hope, love and the legacy of a Croatian wild flower.

A young girl grows up in a remote village in Croatia. At bedtime her beloved grandmother tells her stories of a man sailing the high seas seeking ‘paradise’ for his family. This man – her father – is a stranger to her. When her grandmother suddenly dies, her life is turned upside down. The money her father had been sending dries up leaving her family to survive on scraps. Perhaps her father has found a new wife, a new family? Trapped in a one-roomed house with her mother, sisters and alcoholic grandfather, the wild violets of Croatia become her only comfort in a childhood beset by cruelty, hunger and poverty.

Based on interviews with Josipa’s mother Ivica, Melita Rowston has written a music theatre play that captures the hardship and com- ical absurdities of life in Vrsi, Croatia and the bravery of a father who went on a risky journey across the seas to create a better life for his family.

While considered by some as a common weed, the beauty and resilience of ljubičica, the wild violet, becomes the enduring symbol for Ivica’s journey.

In Ljubičica – Wild Violet Josipa plays multiple humorous and exuberant characters from her mother’s life, and sings spirited Croatian songs that transcend culture and language. These emotionally charged Sevdalinka, Bećarac and Klapa songs will transport audiences to a faraway place evoking tears of nostalgia and laughter.

Ljubičica – Wild Violet stars award-winning performer Josipa Draisma (Best Music Award Sydney Fringe & Best Sydney Comedy Festival Emerging Comedian). Written and directed by 2016 Sydney Theatre Company Patrick White Award finalist Melita Rowston, accompanied by gypsy jazz trio Michael O’Donnell (Violin/Guitar), Laura Bishop (Accordion/Piano) and Mara Knezevic (Vocals).

available to tour

Ljubičica - Wild Violet is available to tour in English and Croatian.

For more information please email IN WILD COMPANY via our contact page.


In Wild Company acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and pay our respect to Elders past, present and future. 

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