For the first time Beautiful One Day headed home to Palm Island for a very special performance. Then it played as part of Brisbane Festival. Earlier this year, the production toured regional Victoria and also the Origins Festival of First Nations in London.

Beautiful One Day is a theatrical documentary about the irrepressible life and times of Palm Island. Three theatre companies (Belvoir, ILBIJERRI, and version 1.0) came together in 2012 over a shared sense of outrage at the injustices surrounding a death in custody in 2004. But, prompted by the Palm Island community, Beautiful One Day looks for a way to turn outrage into real understanding and new possibilities. At its heart is a determined struggle to understand the persistent heavy-handedness of white Australia.

In 1918 the Queensland Government established a settlement at Palm Island where, for the next 50 years, thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders from across the state were forcibly resettled. In 2004, following the ‘accidental’ death of Mulrunji Doomadgee in a police cell, and frustrated by the state response, members of the community on Palm Island made a direct challenge to police power by surrounding the station and burning it down. Years later, the people of Palm Island continue to demand real justice, and all the while life continues.

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.

A co-production with ILBIJERRI Theatre Companyversion 1.0.
Indigenous Theatre at Belvoir supported by The Balnaves Foundation.


Devisor/AV Designer Sean Bacon Devisor/Performer/Cultural Custodian Magdalena Blackley Devisor/Performer Kylie Doomadgee Devisor/Performer Paul Dwyer Devisor/Director Eamon Flack Devisor/Performer Rachael Maza Devisor/Performer Jane Phegan Devisor/Performer Harry Reuben Devisor/Dramaturg David Williams Acting/Script Coach Kylie Farmer (Kaarljilba Kaardn) Set & Costume Designer Ruby Langton-Batty Lighting Designer Frank Mainoo  Composer & Sound Designer Paul Prestipino

Performance Dates

5 September
Bwgcolman Community School, Palm Island

23-26 September
Brisbane Festival




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.

Jason Blake | The Sydney Morning Herald

Beautiful One Day is strong enough, bold enough, entertaining enough and sufficiently shocking to keep a big mob enthralled for almost its entire two and a bit hours.

Diana Simmonds | Stage Noise

Regardless of your view on documentary theatre, this is one of the most unique and important performances of the year.

Miro Sandev | Arts Hub

Most important, [Beautiful One Day] brings together human testimony of these and other experiences, with devisor-performers Magdalena Blackley and Harry Reuben from Palm Island, as well as newcomer Kylie Doomadgee and veteran Rachael Maza, whose family, including her famous father Bob Maza, have a past there. Their presence as witnesses … is powerful.

John McCallum | The Australian

…the cast weaves reportage, interviews, transcripts and 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.

Elissa Blake | The Sun-Herald