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Ljubicica - Wild Violet



Experience an evocative evening of spirited Croatian music that transcends culture and language. These emotionally charged Sevdalinka, Bećarac and Klapa songs will transport you to a faraway place evoking tears of nostalgia and laughter.


“Boldly put, this is the best play 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

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 cabaret Josipa Draisma shares the deeply personal, but universal tale of her mother’s migrant experience. Ljubičica – Wild Violet is the story of this country, it’s everyone’s story.


Ljubičica – Wild Violet is a heartwarming story of the hope, love and 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 cabaret that captures the hardship and 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. 

"This bitter-sweet show, written and directed by Melita Rowston, strikes a thoughtful balance between biography and entertainment...A delightful insight into one of our many migrant experiences with a special poignancy that arises uniquely from true stories." Suzy Go See


"Boldly put, this is the best play I've seen this Fringe Festival, and is right up there as one of the best pieces of theatre I have ever seen. The singing talent of both Draisma and her supporting vocalist Mara Knezevic are unbelievable. Their acapella songs were a standout of the show. The supporting band members were just as talented on their own instruments, with violinist Michael O’Donnell magnificently featured throughout" - The Buzz From Sydney

"From the moment performer Josipa Draisma enters the stage she is captivating, singing with passion and poise, achieving a hypnotic mastery over the audience." Theatre Now


"The Croatia described is a land foreign in more ways than one. Desperately, almost unbelievably, Pythonesquely poor. It’s not her life, but Rowston’s words and construction are the prism through which we see it. That the tale comes across as disarmingly, palpably authentic (save for finely-judged poetic licence which never veers into the twee or impossibly romantic, so that the piece remains wildly violet, but never purple) is the great achievement of the script. Rowston & Draisma have humanised the migrant experience at a time we need it most." Syke On Stage



Writer/Director: Melita Rowston



Starring: Josipa Draisma

Violin/Guitar: Michael O'Donnell

Accordion: Crystal Moloney

Vocals: Mara Knezevic


Casula Powerhouse

18 May, 2017

11am & 7pm

Melbourne Cabaret Festival

21-26 June, 2016

The Butterfly Club, Melbourne

Sydney Fringe Festival

17 - 19 September, 2015

The Seymour Centre, Sydney



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