A Punishing Experiment

'Between the idea and the reality, falls the shadow'

Ticket Icon Adult $27
Clock Icon Friday - Saturday 6:00pm (13 Mar - 13 Apr)

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A short play that dances in the shadows between reality and the idea of separation and silence as reform will be performed at Port Arthur for just 12 exclusive performances from 13 March until 13 April.

The experiment which has been made at Port Arthur has succeeded beyond my expectation.’ – Lt.Gov. Denison statement in a report to London, 1864.

Opened in 1849, the Separate Prison was a new form of punishment intended to deal with the worst class of criminal at Port Arthur. The idea was to effectively subdue prisoners by imposing the strictest treatment possible with techniques and treatments taken directly from the new prison reform ideas back in England.

Up until now, prisoners were physically punished – and quite brutally – with floggings, human treadmills and hard labour. The new rules in this place were all about solitary confinement, complete silence and isolation.

Through this short interactive performance, you are about to experience how this Separate Prison functioned in 1849. There will, of course, be many Rules to follow if you are to experience this place properly.


Performances run approximately 90 minutes from 6:00pm every Friday and Saturday nights from 13 March – 11 April 2020.  Additional performances will be held through Easter from Friday 10th to Sunday 13th  April inclusive.


Adult $27
Child $15
Family $75

Children aged 17 years and under must be accompanied by an adult.

Bookings are essential.


The performance is located in the Separate Prison a moderate 10 min walk from the Port Arthur Visitor Centre.  Please arrive 15–30 minutes before the scheduled performance time, to allow time to check in and walk to the Separate Prison.

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