An incredible true story

Tatura’s past comes alive in music and theatre

THE fascinating story behind the invention of the foldable umbrella will come to life in a new musical theatre show. The play shines a light on local history as well, with scenes from Tatura’s internment camps featured in the stage show.  

Driftwood – The Musical tells the inspirational story of renowned Austrian/Australian sculptor Karl Duldig and his artist/inventor wife, Slawa Horowitz-Duldig, who invented the foldable umbrella in Vienna in 1929, miraculously escaped the Nazis and Holocaust, and rebuilt their lives in Australia.  

Their granddaughter, the distinguished soprano Tania de Jong AM plays her grandmother, Slawa, in the adaption of her mother’s original memoir, Eva de Jong-Duldig, who was interned at Tatura for two years with her parents as enemy aliens. This new Australian production features a stellar cast and creative team directed by Gary Abrahams with musical direction and composition by Anthony Barnhill. Award-winning playwright Jane Bodie has adapted Eva’s memoir for the stage. 

“There are not many true stories of such substance put on the stage in Australia,” said Ms de Jong. “The story shares a real sense of creativity and invention, family, love, community, and the importance of being tolerant and respectful of diversity, because division can cause atrocities, like the Holocaust. Driftwood is more than a memoir. It is an inspiration. Eva weaves her remarkable story of escaping the Holocaust and overcoming its ghosts to find the key to freedom.” 

The world premiere of Driftwood – The Musical will be shown in Melbourne at the Alexander Theatre Monash University and Chapel off Chapel, Prahran between May 13-28.  

Those interested in creativity, invention, magical story telling, musical theatre or history, particularly WWII, do not want to miss this uplifting and powerful show. Whilst in the city for the world premiere season, visitors should visit the Duldig Studio in Malvern East to see the former home and artworks of Karl and Slawa and the prototype of the original foldable umbrella which Slawa invented. You will be in for a real treat.  

Tickets are on sale now, with discounts for groups of 10 or more. To book or to view the trailer, please visit  and visit 

CAPTIVATING SHOW… Eve de Jong-Duldig photographed with her mother, Slawa Horowitz-Duldig, the inventor of the foldable umbrella. Photo: Supplied.