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The Mill on the Floss

by George Eliot

Adapted by Helen Edmundson

By arrangement with THE AGENCY (London) Ltd

Directed by Tanya Gerstle

Theatre Works

Melbourne, AU

28 Jul - 13 Aug, 2016



The Sydney Morning Herald

Sun Herald


Acting with such synergy and craft could happily grace the stage at any arts festival in the world; you will be humbled and grateful to have experienced it live.

Cameron Woodhead. The Age.

A beguiling piece of poetic melancholy - a delicious treat for theatre goers to devour - definately not to be missed.

Robert Chuter. Arts Hub.

Visually delightful, stunningly crafted, and beautifully acted... a magnificent piece of art and theatre... the skill and finesse is breathtaking

Tricia Ziemer. Weekend Notes.

Women ahead of their time

Maggie Tulliver grows up in a provincial English town where her quick imagination and intelligence are stifled. Her story spans fifteen years and begins when Maggie is nine years old. Relationships with her parents, brother and various suitors reinforce the social norms she is forced to embrace. Yet ultimately she triumphs in an act of free will. Both Maggie Tulliver and George Eliot were women ahead of their time. At the time of publishing under her pseudonym, George Eliot, no one suspected her gender because the writing was considered too good to be written by a woman.

OpticNerve weaves this tale for both women highlighting the collision of opposites and the tension between inner and outer forces. The intense physicality of the work becomes a language of innermost thoughts and emotions where 8 actors playing 17 characters promise a world of haunting resonance and mesmerizing moments.


Director's Perspective

Artistic Team
Director Tanya Gerstle
Performers Zahra Newman, Grant Cartwright, Luisa Hastings Edge, Tom Heath, Rosie Lockhart, George Lingard,  James O'Connell and Maddie Nunn

Voice and Dialect Coach Geraldine Cook
Producer Hannah Liddeaux

Assistant Director Cathy Hunt

Workshop Manager Loraine Little
Workshop Director Stephen Phillips
Sound Design Russell Goldsmith

and Tom Backhaus

Lighting and Set Construction Lucy Birkinshaw and Stewart Campbell

Costumes by Yahav Ron

Stage Manager Luke Preer

Singing Richard Lawton

Production Intern Hayley Sorrel

Green Room Nomination

Independent Theatre Ensemble


The Mill on the Floss has been supported through Theatre Works Access All Areas - Residency Model


Stories about women who fight for the right to express their full humanity are the ones I like to tell. Both the novelist, George Eliot, and her protagonist are dark, disobedient and passionate women struggling to live an imaginative life.

In our version of this story three different actors play the character of Maggie. Young Maggie is full of hope, the next Maggie struggles to find a way to survive her social reality and the last chooses to become an outcast, the only way to escape the imprisonment of Victorian marriage. Whether they represent different phases of a woman’s life or different aspects of the same woman our three Maggie’s each struggle to live a life of purpose whilst excluded from every opportunity.

This story’s modernity lies in a woman’s right to fulfill her potential in whatever field she chooses and in the still frustrated attempts of women to expect equity.

Remarkably their struggle is still that of every woman in our contemporary ‘third world’ and many of those in the ‘first’. Patriarchy is alive and well. Theatrical outrage is an ever timely, ever-valid response.


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