Palm Island 2004. An Aboriginal man is arrested, allegedly for insulting a police officer. Within 90 minutes, he lies dead on the watch house floor, his liver cleaved in two. The community protests, the police station is torched. A Senior Sergeant stands trial for manslaughter but is acquitted. Questions are raised about manipulation of evidence and a court suppression order. A protestor, jailed for inciting a riot, is out on parole on condition that he speaks to no one.

BEAUTIFUL ONE DAY is a co-production between ILBIJERRI Theatre Company, version 1.0, Belvoir St Theatre and the Palm Island community. Brought together via a shared sense of outrage over the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee, BEAUTIFUL ONE DAY interprets the events on Palm Island in 2004 against the full sweep of the island’s history.

As raw as it is confronting, the show stars three Islanders in their first theatrical appearances. It combines documentary-style footage with conversation, reportage, stories and images, told in their own words. BEAUTIFUL ONE DAY captures the horrible reality of an unnecessary death and yet the remarkable humanity, wisdom and determination to forgive of Palm Islanders.

Venue Format
Theatre, Hall, Black Box Venue
Technical Rating
B, The production can be modified to suit most venues
Touring Party

ILBIJERRI is Australia’s leading and longest running Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Theatre Company. We create challenging and inspiring theatre creatively controlled by Indigenous artists. Our stories are provocative and affecting and gives voice to our unique and diverse cultures.

ILBIJERRI tours its work to national, regional and remote locations across Australia, and the world. We have commissioned 36 new Indigenous works and performed for more than 250,000 people.

Company Website

Unique Selling Point

This work has a wide ranging appeal as themes are current and focus on real, recent events. The past two seasons have seen three groups make up the audience, including young, politically interested 25-35yrs men and women. Educated women 40 - 60yrs. Older Aboriginal families with teenage / adult children, often groups of 4-5. As the work has strong political themes it appeals to a more left-leaning audience. It is worth noting 'The Tall Man' by Chloe Hooper is taught in some schools and although BEAUTIFUL ONE DAY is not directly derived from the book, the two works could sit well within a curriculum.

Community Engagement

All of our touring works are presented with presenters to engage the local Aboriginal community in the season. This is done through meetings between the Palm Island Elders and local elders, welcome to country at the opening of each season and through targeted invitations to local Aboriginal community organisations. We have held Q&A's at the end of each season we have presented to date.