Kings of Baxter

Watch Kings of Baxter on 11 June including live Q&A with James Evans, Huw McKinnon and Director Jack Yabsley.

Kings of Baxter is an award-winning documentary which offers a rare insight into life behind bars for young men, and the power of Shakespeare and the arts to effect change.

Bell Shakespeare has worked with the Frank Baxter Juvenile Detention Centre on the NSW central coast since the inception of its juvenile justice program in 2010. The program has become renowned for using Shakespeare as a vehicle for self-reflection, self-confidence and skills development with young offenders.

In 2015, production company Grumpy Sailor were granted unprecedented access to follow Bell Shakespeare’s Associate Director James Evans and Resident Teaching Artist Huw McKinnon along with 15 young men at Frank Baxter Juvenile Justice Centre over 3 months, as they rehearsed and workshopped Macbeth, culminating in a performance for their fellow detainees, friend and family.

The film makers document life on the inside for these young men, as well as the effects of the program and the emotional toll it takes as they work towards their performance. The film offers an opportunity to sit with the boys in the lonely silences of their stark dorm rooms, to witness the anxiety, the humour, the machismo, the crises of confidence and the truths, as they are pushed to be vulnerable and exposed on stage.

Kings of Baxter was awarded Best Australian Documentary in 2017 at the Antenna Film Festival and Best Film 2018 at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival.

Thursday 11 June 7.30pm AEST. The documentary runs for 66 mins and will be followed by a live Q&A facilitated by author and social researcher Dr Rebecca Huntley with James Evans, Huw McKinnon and Director Jack Yabsley.

Watch the extended trailer.


Kings of Baxter features Associate Director James Evans and Resident Teaching Artist Huw McKinnon.

Director Jack Yabsley
Producer Claire Yvonne Evans
Executive Producer Susan MacKinnon
Director of Photography Joshua Glenn Heath
Editors Pete Ward and Lindi Harrison
Music Composer Hylton Mowday
Sound Design Andrew Stevenson

A Grumpy Sailor Production

Produced with assistance from Foxtel Arts, Screen New South Wales, Screen Australia, the Australian Cultural Fund and the Documentary Australia Foundation.

Bell Shakespeare’s Juvenile Justice Program is supported by The Neilson Foundation and The Scully Fund.