Art imitating life: Bakersfield Mist comes to the Arts Centre in July

Bakersfield Mist, a new dramedy by Stephen Sachs, is coming to The Arts Centre Gold Coast in July. Based on a real life events, the play tells the story of Maude, an unemployed bartender, who buys a painting for a few bucks from an op shop, convinced it’s a masterpiece. But when a world-class art expert flies over from New York and arrives at her trailer park home in Bakersfield to authenticate the painting, shenanigans erupt. The play stars Gold Logie Award winner John Woods as art expert Lionel Percy and Blue Heelers actors Julie Nihill as the enterprising Maude. We caught up with Julie ahead of the production’s visit.

Can you tell me about your character?

She’s lived in a trailer park for 33 years, it’s northern California and she swears a lot (it’s got fucking everything!) and she had a son. She’s been to the bottom and back and she’s got this painting and the finding of the painting and what happens with it actually transforms her life. You see what art actually is and what it does for you.

Are you excited to be working with John again?

Yeah it’s been lovely, it’s been such a long time. I actually left acting and went off teaching for a bit and I only came back because I won a scholarship with Larry Moss. He comes out here once a year and my daughter made me apply for it and if it wasn’t for him I don’t think I’d be acting again, but I fell in love with it again. During that period [of not acting] I didn’t really see John or anyone. I think it’s really healthy to completely get away from things.

Stage or screen?

Some actors have preferences but I actually really love both! There are such demands on the film set that aren’t on the stage and there are things you can on stage that you can’t do on a set and I really love the challenge of  both of them.

Bakersfield Mist comes to The Arts Centre Gold Coast on 12 and 13 July. Tickets at

IMAGE (c) Gina Milicia

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