School Reviews/Testimonials

Testimonial – Jason Harris, Youth Case Worker, Tirkandi Inaburra Cultural and Development Centre – group attended a performance of Point of No Return,


In July 2019, a group of participants from Tirkandi Inaburra Cultural And Development Centre were taken to see Alaine Beek’s play Point of No Return.  This play is based on the true story of Australia’s first boys prison Point Puer and it certainly held the group’s attention throughout.  In fact, after the show their positive response to it was clear from the amount of great discussion it generated.  They related to the experiences of the boys being where they don’t want to be, the boys’ relationship with the guard character in the play and the need to have good friends.  It is not always easy gathering a group of young people and taking them out on excursions but this was certainly worth the effort.


Janice Drew, Leader of Faith and Care

St Francis De Sales College Leeton, NSW


I took my Year 10 and Year 11 Drama classes to see Point of No Return in Griffith on 26th July 2019, for the Schools performance.

The students were absolutely in awe from when they first sat down to the Q & A at the end of the performance.

The fact of it being Verbatim resonated with the students as we teach this style of theatre throughout Stage 5 & 6.

The Q & A afterwards including the writer/director was eye opening for the students especially in regard to a piece ‘never really being finished’.


The actors were candid with the students and offered them sound advice about performing as well as devising (it is always good for them to hear it from other voices instead of their teacher).

As a teacher I felt the whole event was worth about a month’s worth of teaching. 

I was extremely glad I bothered with the hassle of organizing an Excursion – truly worthwhile!

A fabulous piece of intimate theatre highlighting some very multi-talented performers (and Writers).  July, 2019




Briellen Gibson, Head of Drama

Frankston High School


Recently, I made the decision to take my Year 11 Drama students to see the performance of Essence Productions’s “Point of No Return”, written and directed by Alaine Beek. I was particularly interested in the historical aspects of the play, as it intended to capture the lives of the first “boys” to serve in a juvenile prison in Point Puer, Tasmania in the 1830’s. In light of recent events concerning the harsh treatment of young boys in detention, I felt compelled to see a play that could shed light on whether or not imprisonment can provide opportunities for rehabilitation- and if over the years, we have learnt from mistakes of the past.


Everyone in the theatre that day was blown away by the performance that was “Point of No Return”. We were able to see the show in a small, intimate setting that allowed for us all to be transformed into this world that existed nearly 200 years ago, to a time that ordinarily would be incredibly hard to imagine. To the world around them, these boys were unwanted, they were forgotten, and they were unimportant. But for those 80 minutes, they mattered. They mattered to us. They became our children, our brothers, our allies, who we worried about, who we cared for and who we longed to save. That in itself is the heart of this play- it serves as a reminder that no one is too hopeless to save. Everyone needs to belong, and be loved, and be counted. It is through Alaine’s courageous writing, and the incredible performances of this wonderful cast, these boys, and other boys like them, will matter.

 I wish I could put into words the most amazing atmosphere that was created that day, but that’s the magic of theatre- it is live and in the moment. All I can say is that the audience was on the journey with these boys, in every breath and every heart wrenching moment. And that, in itself, is something truly special.  August 2018


My Year 11’s also wanted to share their experience of seeing “Point of No Return”:


“The realistic portrayal of the Point Puer boys allowed for the performance to connect with the audience, creating touching and heartwarming moments between the audience and actor. You won’t know whether to laugh or cry within this performance.” – Mathilde Lambert


“Point of No Return” is a truly amazing show, orchestrating the true meaning of brotherhood in a community, using the hardship of real historical events portrayed by some of the finest actors. Saying that this show is enticing is an understatement as the story captures you and brings you back to the world of young convicts.”  - Jackson Pfeil


“Point of No Return” brilliantly and effectively reflected the life felt by those who experienced similar scenarios in prison during the 1800’s. The sensational cast successfully brought to life the emotions and impact prison life had on those who went there and sometimes didn’t come out.”


“The performance was amazing! I was so astounded by every single cast member. The story was portrayed really well and made the audience feel many emotions. The message was shown really well and opened my eyes to the ongoing problem. Well done to everyone involved.” – Erin Kent


“Point of No Return” is an inspiring performance surrounding the lives of inmates and guards. Funny and symbolic, the show has take-home messages for everyone. The audience felt connected to the emotional plight of the characters and the journey they go through. The actors powerfully capture the hope, the joy and heartbreak of the characters that leaves the audience not wanting the performance to end.” – Lauren Campbell


“The sheer realism held behind this play is emotionally enthralling and captivating. The cast really brings this piece to life. This show captures you at the start and has you held until the end.” – Max Oliver


“Brilliant performance. All actors portrayed their characters extremely well. An extremely heartfelt, beautiful and emotional performance. Never a dull moment on stage.” – Em Dickinson


“Bloody brilliant! The cast of “Point of No Return” really captivates the audience with its contrasting characters and stunning story.”


“The performance was reflected as being truly amazing, passionate and heartfelt, which left the audience wanting more! Amazing group of actors who portrayed each character very effectively and overall a 10/10 performance!”


“The play raises a pertinent issue in a raw, powerful way; the treatment of our youth, and whether prison can ever be a rehabilitative environment.” – Tandie Banana


“Extremely realistic and heartbreaking in moments to watch, in a very good way. Loved it so much.” – Emy Hammill


“Very thought provoking – the parallels of the events at Point Puer and Don Dale were very real and startling.”    - Ruby Hartley


I would strongly recommend our students, our kids, in the society with live in, to go and see this play- this is a light that needs to be shone, and these are voices that need to be heard.

Thankyou to Alaine and her incredible cast and crew for welcoming us into the PONR world, and for giving us such an unforgettable experience.






Donna Prince, Drama Teacher

Alice Miller School, Mount Macedon


I wanted to write regarding the plays of Alaine Beek, and in particular "Point of No Return'. At my school I do a subject called Text to Performance. In this subject we take plays, read them and look at the wider cultural context if the play, Alaine's plays are perfect for this. Using Point of No Return we were able to look at early convict life through the lens of children. Something that was exceptionally engaging for the students in my class, who are about the same age. Using the play we delved deep into the world of the child convict and the students were able to connect with the text. This kind of connection to text is invaluable and with Point of No Return this proved easy.


After working on the script (and a session with Alaine who came to our school) I organised my students to see a performance of the play at The Capital Theatre Bendigo.  This was the highlight of the process for the students who were fully engaged and immersed into the live performance.  The play was powerful and enlightening and my students deeply connected with it giving me plenty of material to work with back in the classroom.


I highly recommend Alaine's plays to teachers and for high school aged drama students to experience Point of No Return.  





Laura Roberts, Drama Co-ordinator - VCE Theatre Studies Teacher

Werribee Secondary College


‘As a Theatre Studies teacher, I can definitely see the benefit of students studying and analysing the play Point of No Return. The play consists of many elements that would make for rich discussion in the Theatre Studies classroom. For instance, the blend of both naturalism and non-naturalism would be a wonderful discussion point as the actors move seamlessly through both styles. In addition, having taken current Theatre Studies students, as well as students from younger year levels, to the 2016 performance at the Wyndham Cultural Centre, it was clear that students found the play both engaging and challenging. The students I attended the play with enjoyed discussing elements of the play including the use of stagecraft and the application of acting and direction. The students were able to connect to the characters in the play, often finding parallels between the characters' situations and their own lives - which I thought was fantastic, as this does not occur with every play I see with my students. Therefore I believe that other VCE Theatre Studies and Drama teachers would also enjoy unpacking this show with their students and would find it a thoroughly enjoyable experience in doing so.’