By Katherine Lyall-Watson

Directed by Caroline Dunphy

MOTHERLAND is a play about three remarkable real women based on the incredible true story of Nell Tritton, a Brisbane socialite who married Russia’s deposed Prime Minister, Alexander Kerensky, and helped him escape from the Nazis during the Second World War. This is gripping contemporary theatre, weaving stories of belonging, love and loss that span decades, continents and world wars.

Shortlisted for the Sydney Theatre Company's Patrick White Playwrights’ Award, MOTHERLAND is a tapestry of friendship, displacement, home, and identity – a finely-crafted story of the casualties of love, ambition, and politics.


Sweeping through the Russian Revolution, World War II, and Brisbane history, Motherland is an epic new work of historical fiction, informed by actual events.

Three women, exiled from their homelands, find their lives are woven together across continents and decades. Nell Tritton, the Brisbane wife of a deposed Russian prime minister forms a close friendship with Nina Berberova, who is exiled in Paris. The woman who would tell their story is Alyona, a Russian curator whose dreams of a new Australian paradise are crushed by bankruptcy and the Fitzgerald Inquiry.


Director: Caroline Dunphy
Cast: Barbara Lowing, Kerith Atkinson, Peter Cossar, Daniel Murphy & Rebecca Riggs
Set Designer: Penny Challen
Associate Designer: Annie Robertson
Lighting Designer: David Walters
Composer & Sound Designer: Dane Alexander
Dramaturg: Kathryn Kelly
Producers: Chris Bendall (Critical Stages) & Danielle Shankey (Belloo creative)

Cast: Barbara Lowing, Kerith Atkinson, Peter Cossar, Daniel Murphy & Rebecca Riggs. Photos by Jackie Ryan.


MOTHERLAND is possible thanks to support from: Queensland Theatre Company, The Queensland government, Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, Metro Arts & Brisbane City Council. MOTHERLAND’s first production was in October 2013 at Metro Arts, Brisbane, where it was co-produced by Metro Arts and Ellen Belloo. 

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WINNER Best Independent Production, Matilda Awards
WINNER Best Overall Production, Groundling Awards
WINNER Barbara Lowing, Gold Matilda Award AND Groundling Award
WINNER Dane Alexander, Best Sound Design, Groundling Award
FINALIST Patrick White Playwrights’ Award
FINALIST Best New Australian Work, Matilda Awards

The best plays sweep you up, visually and emotionally, and drop you down amongst the action. They’re so engaging you can’t escape. They’re so spectacular you don’t want to. The newest production on my Best Plays list is the phenomenal ‘Motherland’. ... High-energy, entertaining and emotionally stirring.
— Weekend Notes.
This new production of Katherine Lyall-Watson’s play is a beautiful piece of work in every possible way. It is a finely crafted script that melds perfectly from character to character, time-frame to time-frame and country to country... I must say here that all five of the actors were superb... The play was first performed in 2013 to acclaim and now, after more work and a new technical team, the script comes to life in a new way. It is one of the best plays I have seen in a while.
— Eric Scott, Absolute Theatre April 2016
Motherland is the most beautifully crafted and intelligently delivered story you’ll see on stage this year. Its passion and fierce beauty will stay with you long after you leave the theatre.
— Xanthe Coward, XS Entertainment April 2016
... In your face melodrama...
— Martin Buzacott, The Australian April 2016
... the audience is treated to an impressive tapestry of the human experience, with all its quirky twists and turns, which makes life so unpredictable…The playwright, cast and director Caroline Dunphy have done a fine job in taking an interesting real-life personal history out of the Brisbane story and turning it into a compelling piece of theatre.
— Douglas Kennedy, Hush Hush Biz April 2016