The Duchess of Malfi

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The Duchess of Malfi

A legendary true story of love, murder, betrayal… and two all-consuming secrets.

Often regarded as one of the last great tragedies of the Elizabethan and Jacobean era, The Duchess of Malfi is John Webster’s defining masterpiece. Set in the 1500s in Malfi, Italy, and based on a true story, it speaks of the undying love a spirited Duchess has for her steward. Married in secret at a time when women’s lives were politicised and controlled by men, this four-century-old classic still powerfully resonates today as we watch women fight around the world for agency and the right to make choices about their own bodies that aren’t curated by men.

The Duchess of Malfi begins as all great tales do… as a love story. A recently widowed young woman now determined to set her own agenda, she chooses her new partner on her own terms – ignoring the demands of two puritanical brothers and the expectations of an unyielding patriarchy. But, in the end, her brothers enact their revenge and what started with hope and love rots into a nightmarish tragedy.

Running in the Meat Market Cobblestone Pavilion, this compelling new adaptation by Arrant Knaves Theatre Company takes its inspiration from the world of gothic horror, drawing spectators into a fascinating web of intrigue and fear. Running for a limited season from the 15th to the 24th of February it brings together an outstanding team of Australian cast and creatives and promises to be a true highlight at the start of the 2024 Melbourne Arts Calendar.

Based in Melbourne, Arrant Knaves Theatre Company is a company of theatre makers who work to reimagine classical play texts and gain new insights into how these works reflect the fault lines that exist in contemporary society.