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Adena Jacobs is a Naarm/Melbourne based theatre director and the Artistic Director of independent company Fraught Outfit. Her distinct body of work incorporates queer and feminist renderings of ancient texts, hallucinatory landscapes and rich sound scores. Nationally, her work has been presented at Carriageworks, Sydney Opera House, Melbourne Festival, Dark Mofo, MTC, Theatre Works, Malthouse Theatre and Belvoir where she was Resident Director in 2014/15. Internationally, she has directed for Vienna’s Burgtheater, London’s English National Opera and Tokyo Festival.

Directing credits include NOSFERATU (Burgtheater), DIE TROERINNEN (Burgtheater), TITUS ANDRONICUS (Bell Shakespeare/Sydney Opera House), SALOME (English National Opera), THE HOWLING GIRLS (Sydney Chamber Opera/Carriageworks, Tokyo Festival World Competition), BOOK OF EXODUS - PART I & II (Theatre Works), THE BACCHAE (Melbourne International Arts Festival, Dark MOFO), ANTIGONE (Malthouse Theatre), WIZARD OF OZ (Belvoir), OEDIPUS REX (Belvoir), HEDDA GABLER (Belvoir), EXIL (Sydney Chamber Opera/Carriageworks), PERSONA (Theatre Works, Malthouse Theatre, Belvoir), ON THE BODILY EDUCATION OF YOUNG GIRLS (Neon/Melbourne Theatre Company), ELEKTRA (The Dog Theatre).

As a dramaturgue she has collaborated on NEVERNEVERNEVERNEVERNEVERNEVER (Aaron Orzech/Arts House), FLUX JOB (Lucy Guerin Inc/Arts House), THE SEEN AND THE UNSEEN directed by Kamila Andini (Salihara, Jakarta/The Esplanade, Singapore/AsiaTOPA Festival, Melbourne), THE DARK CHORUS (Lucy Guerin Inc/Melbourne International Arts Festival), RE-MAKE (Melanie Lane/Chunky Move), Nick Coyle's BLUE WIZARD (Belvoir), and as associate artist on Jada Albert's Brother's Wreck (Malthouse Theatre).

Adena graduated with a Bachelor of Creative Arts (honours) from Melbourne University (2004), and a Masters of Theatre Practice from VCA (2008).

Adena is a recipient of MIAF's Harold Mitchell Fellowship, the George Fairfax Memorial Award and two Green Room Awards. In 2018, Adena Jacobs' and Damien Ricketson's THE HOWLING GIRLS was awarded the Music Theatre NOW prize as part of Operadagen Rotterdam, and the Best Vocal/Choral Work by APRA AMCOS at the 2019 Art Music Awards. Her production of DIE TROERINNEN at Burgtheater was shortlisted in the top 33 productions of 2023 by the Theatertreffern festival jury. 

Adena is a proud recipient of the 2023 Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship.


Fraught Outfit is a Naarm/Melbourne based independent theatre company, launched in 2010 by Artistic Director Adena Jacobs.

The company was established in 2010 with its production of ELEKTRA, translated by Anne Carson. In 2012 Fraught Outfit premiered Ingmar Bergman's PERSONA at Theatre Works, remounted by Malthouse and Belvoir the following year.

Fraught Outfit is best known for its acclaimed 'Innocence Trilogy,' a series of works created with ensembles of young performers for adult audiences. The trilogy included ON THE BODILY EDUCATION OF YOUNG GIRLS, inspired by Frank Wedekind's 1903 novella, as part of MTC's Neon: Festival of Independent Theatre (2013), THE BACCHAE, a co-production between St Martins and Fraught Outfit, presented by Melbourne Festival, St Martins and Theatre Works as part of MIAF (2015), and at Dark MOFO (2016) and BOOK OF EXODUS - PARTS I & II at Theatre Works (2017).

Fraught Outfit's current project is FLAMES DANCED IN THEIR HAIR BUT DID NOT BURN THEM, a new video art work and collaboration with the cast of 2015's THE BACCHAE. 

Fraught Outfit's work has been nominated for numerous awards. In 2012 their production of PERSONA received 5 Green Room Awards, including Best Independent Production. THE BACCHAE was nominated for 6 Green Room Awards, including Best Independent Production, Best Ensemble and Best Direction.


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