Beautiful One Day by Ilbijerri Theatre Company



A PLAY TO: Read, read aloud, study, perform, to use as stimulus for responding to First Nations history, culture and stories.

CASTING: Indigenous characters and roles

GENRE: Documentary theatre, Storytelling, First Nations stories and experiences, non-naturalism

THEMES: Identity, resilience, deaths in custody, dispossession

CURRICULUM LINKS: Drama (Australian, First Nations, Documentary), Theatre Studies, History, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Culture, Intercultural understanding, Personal and Social Learning.

SYNOPSIS: 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. The play 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.

STAGING: A neutral space that can be multi-locational. The original production used multi-media as a story-telling technique.

Education resources: Beautiful One Day Education Resource

Additional resource: Teaching First Nations Content and Concepts

Note: Please note that BEAUTIFUL ONE DAY performance, education resource and supporting learning resources contain sensitive content and material that may bring up issues for students particularly those of an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander background. These are all used in the context of the story and performance.

Note: The creative team and artists have all given their consent to this script being performed within an educational setting

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