Ballarat National Theatre




Tuesday 10th to Saturday 14th April at 8pm
Matinee Sunday 15th April at 2.00pm


In July 1918 Tsar Nicholas II, his family and servants were assassinated by the Bolsheviks in Yekaterinburg.

In Berlin on 17th February 1920 an unknown woman was fished out of the Landweir Canal after an unsuccessful suicide attempt. Two years later rumours circulated that the unknown woman was the Tsars youngest daughter – The Grand Duchess Anastasia -.

Over 50 years later the final court case was still inconclusive saying that whilst the Woman hadn’t proved that she was Anastasia this didn’t prove that she wasn’t!

D.N.A. tests undertaken on the bodies found in a wood near Yekaterinburg proved to be those of the Tsar’s family and servants. However two bodies were missing, those of the Tsaravitch and Anastasia! Their bodies have never been found.

In the meantime the Woman had married a wealthy American, Mr. Manahan, and settled in the U.S.A. Mrs. Manahan died on 4th February 1984. Her body was cremated!

Directed and Designed by Julian Oldfield



The Inspector - Peter Nethercote
Mrs. Manahan - Elizabeth Wood


Tony McGuinness
Mary-Rose McLaren
Matt Noble
Peppa Sindar


Stage Manager - Sally Read
Crew - Katrina Hill
Lighting - Elise Allen with Shaye Davitt
Sound Advisor - Michael Zala
Opening sequence - Jef Hammersley

Graphic Design - Peter Freund
Photography - Gary Hunt




Since 1920, when a young woman tried to drown herself in Berlin and then at first refused to answer questions about her identity, the question has been asked: Was this the Grand Duchess Anastasia, sole survivor of the massacre of the Russian royal family in 1917? Claims and counter-claims persisted even after modern forensic testing found the remains of five members of the family but could not account for the body of Anastasia.

Ballarat National Theatre’s current production, The Anastasia File by Royce Ryton,does more than sift through the evidence, both for and against the claim. It offers a fascinating re-creation of the characters involved in this sixty-year saga, while leaving those in the audience to come to their own conclusion.

Tony McGuiness, Mary-Rose McLaren, Matt Noble and Peppa Sindar show their versatility and considerable talent in a range of parts, as medical staff, German and Russian nobles, wealthy Americans, journalists and others. At the centre of the drama are rivetting performances by Peter Nethercote as the police inspector who comes to believe implicitly in her story, and who continues to pursue the truth, and Elizabeth Wood as the woman who may – or may not – be the Grand Duchess Anastasia.

Julian Oldfield’s tight direction is apparent and a very simple but versatile set allows the action to move freely in both time and place. I found myself totally absorbed in the story unfolding in front of me. The season is short unfortunately - only this week -so try to find a night as I can certainly recommend it to anyone who loves a mystery, a human drama and a really good night’s theatre experience.