Migrant workers are an important part of the Australian economy, but they don’t always get a fair go.

Language barriers and limited understanding of their rights leave them vulnerable to mistreatment and exploitation.

This happened to Maggie. She did something about it.

Maggie is the central character in JUTE Theatre Company’s new play, I Is Maggie, telling the story of a Thai migrant woman working in an industrial laundry.


It’s billed as an uplifting story of survival, and a first for Australian theatre, a representation of a Thai-Australian cross-cultural perspective on stage.

I Is Maggie is co-written by JUTE’s Write Sparks alumnus, Dennis McIntosh, and his Thai wife, Saengthien Klamkaew.

Dennis says it’s a story built on the contemporary narrative of an immigrant underclass, and the struggles that affect their daily lives.

“With one-third of Australians from overseas countries and cultures, I know the audience will relate to her hardship, courage, and the way she makes her voice heard, despite coming from a non-English speaking background.

“Maggie’s sense of humour is infectious.”

JUTE says the play explores themes of migrant resilience in the face of workplace exploitation.

The production brings together a high calibre, cross-cultural cast and crew of  Thai and Australian playwrights, director, and actors.

Thai born theatre practitioner, Pranchalee Khajai, directs I Is Maggie, with Thai-Australian Sydney-based actor, Tivy Siripanich, in the lead role.

JUTE Theatre Company has secured a Playlab Theatre digital partnership for the production, so it can be filmed during the final days of its Cairns season.

Artistic Director and CEO, Suellen Maunder, said I is Maggie was a compelling pitch for Playlab Theatre.

“This partnership provides an opportunity for the text to resonate more broadly via open accessibility to producers, publishers, and educators.

“More importantly, it’s a powerful endorsement of its cultural and literary value and, in my opinion, comprises all the elements of a seminal Australian work.”

I Is Maggie will be presented at Bulmba-ja Arts Centre from Friday 14 to Saturday 22 October.



Main points

  • I Is Maggie at Bulmba-ja Arts Centre 14 to 22 October.
  • It's the latest production from JUTE Theatre Company
  • Explores themes of migrant resilience in the face of workplace exploitation
Maggie’s sense of humour is infectious.
Dennis McIntosh
Co-playwright I Is Maggie