Point of No Return is written and directed by award winning playwright Alaine Beek, a local Wyndham resident. Alaine runs Essence Productions with the help of a team of professional artists, is director of the Werribee Secondary College Drama Club and Artistic Director of the Wyndham Theatre Company. Alaine was inspired to write Point of No Return after a visit to Port Arthur prison in 2007.
Established in 1834, Point Puer Boys’ Prison was Australia’s first boys’ prison that aimed to rehabilitate young offenders. The prison housed 68 boys aged from 10 to 20 years old when it first opened. Point of No Return is a story about boys becoming men, gang mentality, loyalty, hope and what it takes to survive our early prison systems. It is also a story of hope as many of the boys became our first Australian colonists. As Alaine explains “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.”
In 2014, Point of No Return was awarded Judge’s Choice for Best Written Script, People’s Choice for Best Written Script and People’s Choice for Best Performed Play at the Playhouse Players National One Act Playwright Competition. Post-2014, the play underwent extensive development. Following a rehearsed reading in 2015, the play was selected to be part of the Wyndham Cultural Centres 2016 theatre season. A Victoria-wide tour will take place in 2018.
When asked what has inspired her to continue working on Point of No Return, Alaine explains “I realised I had to keep going regardless of hurdles and knockbacks. I realised my cast, crew and I were going to be in for a long ride. I felt this fascinating story had to be told and from audience’s responses, the play has legs. My Scottish tenacity keeps pushing me on and each performance or workshop has been a step up in the development of the production. Audience feedback from previous performances really helps but it has been the support from my team, from business colleagues and peers and local support from organisations such as Arts Assist that has helped to keep me positive and soldier on. The journey has been both challenging and exciting.”
And with regard to future aspirations for Point of No Return, Alaine comments “This is only the first rung on the ladder. The actors are quite stunning and fearless in their performances and we are all chomping at the bit for this play to be performed in front of audiences. We are already booked to perform at the Albury Entertainment Centre in July as part of their 2019 season so I will build another tour around that date. I want to take it as far as it can go.”
The play tours Victoria in July and August 2018. For details, visit the Point of No Return website
Photo: Local playwright and director, Alaine Beek.