Point of No Return premieres in Werribee and Geelong

Fuller PR | 7-Apr-2016
The world premiere of Australian play Point of No Return by award winning playwright Alaine Beek. Essence Productions are bringing a gripping new convict era play, Point of No Return, to Wyndham Cultural Centre in Werribee on 22 and 23 April and the Courthouse Youth Arts in Geelong for two nights only on 6 and 7 May. Tickets are available for the Werribee performance via www.wyncc.com.au and for the Geelong performance via www.courthouse.org.au.
Address: Werribee and Geelong
Date: April - May
Web: essenceproductions.com.au
Point of No Return is written and directed by award winning playwright and Essence Productions founder Alaine Beek. It was awarded Judge's Choice for Best Written Play, People's Choice for Best Written Play and People's Choice for Best Performed Play at the Playhouse Players National One Act Playwright 2014 Awards.

A well-researched historical drama, Point of No Return presents the harsh yet inspiring story of life at Point Puer boys prison near Port Arthur in the early 1800s. Based on a true story, the play centres on a group of young convicts who are part of the British Empire's first attempts at rehabilitating young prisoners.

Point Puer prison is a lost piece of Australian history. It was the first attempt made by the British Empire to introduce any form of rehabilitation into prison, first by separating the boys from men, and by teaching them a trade. The government experiment was underfunded and as most of the guards were ex prisoners there was a lack of control in punishments with the boys often used for cheap labour.

The story charts the journey of these young boys as they attempted to survive in a hostile and unfamiliar world, holding onto hope for a future beyond prison. When newcomer Jeremiah is introduced, the group's leader battles to keep them together. But it isn't only the boys who are struggling to survive - the guards are also playing their own brutal game.

Phil Cameron-Smith plays Hawkins the prison guard overbearing six young convict prisoners. Group leader Red is played by Jeremy Withers and Dustin Caldwell takes on the role of newcomer Jeremiah, both contrasting and pivotal roles. The cast is rounded out by Ben Cook as Ardy, Dylan Mazurek as Mac, Travis Tunstall as Scott and Chris de Zeeuw as Bones.

Alaine has been involved in music and theatre for over 30 years. She is the director of the Werribee Secondary College Drama Club, and runs Essence Productions with the help of a talented team of professional artists, with the aim of inspiring and enlightening audiences while bringing history to life through performance. Alaine wrote Point of No Return after a visit to the prison in 2007, but left it alone for many years before dusting it off for the Drama Club to perform. The cast includes some of the original boys from the Drama Club: Chris de Zeeuw, Ben Cook, Travis Tunstall and Dustin Caldwell.

Two of Alaine's plays (What Was That? and Down To Earth) have been staged every weekend at Werribee Park since 2003. Seen by over 14,000 people, these plays involve professional actors and combine history, comedy and scary elements.

Point of No Return has undergone extensive development since it received the host of awards in 2014. Following a rehearsed reading in 2015, the manager of the Wyndham Cultural Centre requested the play be part of the subscription season. The Geelong shows follow two performances at the Wyndham Cultural Centre in late April.

Werribee Dates: Friday 22 April, Saturday 23 April

Time: 8.00pm (running time 90 minutes plus 20 minute intermission)

Where: Wyndham Cultural Centre, 177 Watton Street Werribee, (03) 8734 6000

Prices: $45 adult, $35 concession or group +10, $25 Under 25, $15 School student

Bookings: www.wyncc.com.au

Geelong Dates: Friday 6 May, Saturday 7 May

Time: 7.30pm (running time 90 minutes)

Where: Courthouse Youth Arts, 60 Little Malop Street Geelong, (Corners of Gheringhap and Little Malop streets)

Prices: $25 adult, $20 concession/child

Bookings: www.courthouse.org.au

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