Point Puer Boys’ Prison is located on a peninsula next to Port Arthur prison in Tasmania. Established in 1834, it was the first of its kind for the British Empire and an experiment that aimed to rehabilitate young offenders. On opening, there were 68 boys aged from 10 – 20. The boys were given some opportunities to learn a trade, read and write. But, this was sporadic and depended on the skills and attitudes of the guards, many of whom were once prisoners at Port Arthur. Living conditions were rough and punishments were often brutal.
Point of No Return centres on a group of young convicts transported to Point Puer. The group face terrible hardship and strive to find hope for a future beyond the horrors of prison life. The leader of the group cleverly protects his gangs and fights to keep them together. A new young convict arrives and challenges the dynamics and relationships of the group. The prisoners are not the only ones struggling to survive in this harsh Tasmanian prison, the guards are also playing their own brutal game.
A lost piece of history. Fascinating - Unforgettable
A note from Alaine Beek - How Point of No Return Came About
I visited Port Arthur in 2007 and was fascinated and drawn to this unique story – not just its darker themes but also the sense of hope as many of the boys did survive and learn a trade. I wrote a very short version of this play on my return and it was workshopped with Grade Six Werribee Primary students. It was resurrected again in 2014 with a talented group of male
students in the Werribee Secondary College’s Drama Club. We further developed the play then I entered it into Playhouse Players National One Act Playwright Competition open section and it won Judges Choice for Best Written Script, People’s Choice for Best Written Script and People’s Choice for Best Performed Play.
I made another trip to Port Arthur and spent time with the Research Department who helped in providing fascinating primary source material which enriched the story. Since then it was developed further and from a rehearsed reading, was selected by the Wyndham Cultural Centre to be part of their 2016 subscription season and was performed there in April 2016 then at the
Courthouse Youth Arts in May 2016.
“If a boy at Point Puer found a middle way between the strictures of authority and the pressure of his peers and managed to learn a trade, he could come out with a better chance of making good than most assigned men. If not the system would simple grind him down.” Robert Hughes, ‘The Fatal Shore’.
Alaine has been running her production company ‘Essence Productions’ since 2002. Her company has a theatrical residency at Werribee Park and her original plays, ‘What Was That?’ and ‘Down to Earth’ are performed there each weekend all year round. They are the highest rated experience Australian wide, on Red Balloon and attract people from all over Australia.
Between 2002 and 2012 Alaine, with her husband Bart, ran the multi-award winning Essence Food Studio offering weekly ‘gourmet concerts’ – combining cooking classes with live theatre and music.
Alaine wrote and produced ‘Was That a Bunyip’ for the Werribee Open Range Zoo in 2012. In 2014 she wrote Point of No Return which won a number of playwright awards in 2014. As a full length play it was performed professionally in 2016 then had a highly successful professional Victoria tour July/August 2018. It is published on australianplays.org.
Her latest short play ‘The Scrunch Test’ is a comedy drama based on her Scottish parents on Christmas Day. This won a number of awards in 2017. She is currently developing this play into a full length play.
Alaine has been Director of the Werribee Secondary College’s after-hours Drama Club since 2014. She is also Artistic Director of the Wyndham Theatre Company.
A graduate of QUT Academy of the Arts, Philip began his career in Queensland touring Shakespeare around Australia and overseas. He was a founding member of Complete Works Theatre Company. He has also toured and performed with The Australian Shakespeare Company in numerous productions with credits including Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Lysander and Snout in A Midsummer Nights Dream.
Television credits include Neighbours and Blue Heelers. In 2014 Phil was awarded at the Victorian Drama League Best Male Actor – Drama for his performance as Henry II, in The Lion in Winter
William Farnsworth is a Geelong based actor and writer. He has developed his own small plays all through high school and has published poems, short stories and articles through a range of media.
For the past four years, he has worked in various roles in short film productions across Victoria both in front of and behind the camera.
In 2017, he had a role in SOOT’s production of Room with a View while also setting up his production company Rogue Cell Productions. He is also one of the main committee members of Geelong’s first LGBTQIA+ film festival: Geelong Pride Film Festival which has just had its first successful year.
Alex Roe is a graduate from both the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art’s MA: Theatre Lab program and Monash’s Performing Art’s Honours program. He has been an active collaborator in Melbourne's theatre community for the past 10 years working with companies including Bell Shakespeare, Popup Playground, Attic Erratic and A Quiet Little Fox.
Last year he proudly performed and co-devised the award winning absurdist physical comedy 'DOG SHOW' to sell-out audiences (dir Cassandra Fumie) at Melbourne's Fringe Festival, which was then showcased at Marion Bay's Falls Festival. Alex most recently played both Demetrius and Peter Quince in Essential Theatre's 2018 National vineyard tour of ‘A Midsummer Night's Dream' (dir Mark Wilson).
Will McDonald is an actor, musician and theatre practice graduate from the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA). He is originally from Hobart, Tasmania.
In 2015, Will and eight of his peers devised the piece ‘Unplugged’, which was performed at the 8th Asia Pacific Bureau Theatre Conference in Singapore. His roles at the VCA include Theseus in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ (dir. Gary Abrahams), Anthony Diver in ‘No End of Blame’ (dir. Bridget Balodis), Firs in ‘The Cherry Orchard’ (dir. Melanie Beddie), Jo Bonaparte in Golden Boy (dir. Barbra Bosch) and Chris in 'Bucks' (or A Bag of D*cks); a piece devised for FRISK, presented as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival 2016 and shown independently as part of the Adelaide Fringe Festival 2017.
Point of No Return marks Jeremy’s debut performance in a professional production. His passion and skill for theatre has evolved from a continuous involvement in, and regular contribution to community and amateur theatre. Performing with production company's such as Wyndham theatre company (WTC), Altona City Theatre (ACT) and Playback Productions (PP) and Geelong Lyric Theatre Society (GLTS).
Jeremy has entertained characters ranging from the timid Prince "John" The Lion In Winter (WTC), to the more eccentric and buxom "Granny" Snow Queen a pantomime (ACT), Franz Klinemann’, Rock of Ages (ACT) and Ivan Adrinkalot Song Contest:
The Almost Eurovision Experience. Jeremy is a member of the original team that worked with Essence Productions to develop Point of No Return, workshopping the concepts of the show into the script and performing in the original showcase in Richmond.