Kings of Baxter


2015: A premiere Australian theatre company enters one of the country’s largest juvenile justice centres. Kings of Baxter explores the challenging and emotional journey of the young offenders and their teachers as they embark on a landmark program to stage a performance of Shakespeare’s Macbeth in front of their families and fellow inmates.

Kings of Baxter  follows juvenile justice detainees creating a production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The film documents Bell Shakespeare’s landmark education programme in Frank Baxter Juvenile Detention Centre over three months of rehearsal, leading up to the final performance for friends, family and fellow inmates.

Granted unprecedented access, the film documents life on the inside for these young men as well as the effects of this program and the emotional toll it takes on them as they work towards the performance in front of the entire centre.

The world of its residents is explored through fly-on-the wall footage and intimate interviews.  The film offers an opportunity to sit with the boys in the lonely silences of the stark dorm rooms, witness the anxiety and the crises of self confidence, the idiosyncratic senses of humour, the machismo, the bullshit and the truths, as they are pushed to become vulnerable and exposed on stage.

Due to statutory laws regarding the identification of juvenile offenders, the full faces of the boys have been obscured and they have each chosen their own pseudonym: Cosi, Mullet, Hamilton, Fit. Through them, we will discover the realities of prison life, crime and rehabilitation.

A Grumpy Sailor Production

Director Jack Yabsley

Producer Claire Yvonne Evans

Executive Producer Susan MacKinnon

Cinematography Joshua Glenn Heath

Edited by Pete Ward, Lindi Harrison

Original Score Hylton Mowday

Sound Design Andrew Stevenson

DI Colourist Yanni Kronenberg


Official Selection: Antenna Documentary Festival 2017