Palm Island, 2004. An Aboriginal man dies in police custody. Members of the Palm Island community make a direct challenge to police power and the police station is torched. Eight years later, the people of Palm Island continue to demand real justice, and all the while life continues. ILBIJERRI Theatre Company, Belvoir and the Palm Island community have come together to interpret these events against the full sweep of the island’s history.

The result is Beautiful One Day.

An antidote to the relentlessly negative media coverage, Beautiful One Day interweaves the stories of Palm Island, the diktats of white Australia, and the voices of the community. Made through conversation, through argument, through long walks and frequent eruptions of joyfulness, this is a show about what an honest talk might really look like.

As raw as it is shocking, this theatrical documentary stars three Palm Islanders, including Doomadgee's niece, in their first stage appearances, and intersperses personal stories of the performers with interviews with locals, court transcripts, and re-enactments. It captures the horrible reality of an unnecessary death and the Palm Islanders’ remarkable humanity, wisdom and determination to forgive.

"Anger, humour and hope are finely balanced in this warm and illuminating evening of theatre. Of the many and varied stage experiences seen this year, this stands out as one of the essential." (Sydney Morning Herald)

“The cast weaves reportage, interviews, transcripts ad documents with sound and video to create a vivid, poignant, political and often unexpectedly funny work of theatre that demands our full attention, deserves it and rewards it." (Sun-Herald)

  • story-telling naturalism
  • 90
  • 6 total
  • 4 female identifying, 2 male identifying
  • history, people of colour, culturally and linguistically diverse
  • 18+
  • teen, young adult, adult
  • Australian Script Centre


You can preview the full online text with a Membership


Female | Unspecified | under 3 minutes
Starts on page 8

EXTRACT: I remember my Dad didn’t like going for the rations – he built a large cart for my sisters and I to get rations. We had to say his name ‘Tom Geia’ and we would be given tea, barley, flour, syrup, sugar; and at the Babies’ Clinic we would get pumpkin and potato, Sunshine milk, porridge, baby needs. Our Dad was a gardener, fisherman, and hunter and a man who worked many jobs to supplement income.


Trailer, Reviews, Credits, Images.

PLEASE NOTE: This page contains links to files that have been sourced, and websites that are maintained by other businesses and organisations. Please refer to our terms of use.

Search for details of past productions at

AusStage provides an accessible research facility for investigating live performance in Australia.

Search by play title and/or playwright name
Results will open in a new window

PLEASE NOTE: You will be directed to for search results; Australian Plays Transform is not responsible for their completeness. Refer to our terms of use.

SKU: ASC-1653 Categories: ,

We acknowledge that we live and create on unceded lands. We pay our respects to the First Peoples of Australia, and to their elders past, present and future.

© Australian Plays Transform 2024