Alaine has been involved in music (as a vocalist) and theatre for over 30 years. She also holds a business degree through RMIT (achieving Dux award for the degree) and a Certificate of Catering from William Angless. But really, she's a story teller - through songs, performance and plays. In her early 30's Alaine decided she should really get a qualification relevant to what she is putting all her energies into, namely writing, theatre production, directing and acting. So, she undertook VCE Drama aged 32 with the plan of going on to do a performing arts degree. The degree never happened as she just was so busy doing theatre and learning so much from those highly skilled artists around her. Combining her qualifications, talents and experience, she now runs her production company Essence Productions which focuses on bringing history to life through live performance. Alaine is also Creative Director for the Wyndham Theatre Company and Director of the Werribee Secondary College Drama Club.
Alaine has been involved in both amateur and professional theatre since 1980.
She has written and produced two plays which are performed every weekend at Werribee Park and have done so since June 2003. Seen by over 14,000 people, these plays involve professional actors in character who take an audience through either the magnificent Werribee Park Mansion (‘What Was that?’) or the old farm buildings at Werribee Park (‘Down to Earth’). Both locations were originally part of the Chirnside Family land holdings.
The plays combine history, comedy and scary elements and the story unfolds as they move through different locations. She has also written and produced other plays;
‘Point of No Return’
Alaine wrote this play after a visit to Point Puer Boys prison. As Director of the Werribee Secondary College Drama Club she workshopped the play with the boys then entered it into the 2014 National One Act Playwright Competition- Open section, winning the three top awards – Judges Choice for Best Written Play, People’s Choice for Best Performed Play and People’s Choice for Best Performed Play. The play has been further developed into a full length production and is part of the Wyndham Cultural Centre’s 2016 subscription season. In 2017 this play was published at www.australianplays.org
In 2015 Alaine received a grant to assist in creating a new script about the Chirnside family. Told for the first time through eyes of the Thomas, Andrew, Mary and A.S. Chirnside, this is a drama that ends with a spine tingling performance of ‘Nellie Melba’. After years of research and many workshops and rewrites a reading was held in the mansion on Monday 16th November. Overwhelmingly positive feedback was received from Werribee Park Management, staff and volunteers, Chirnside descendents, Werribee Historical Society staff, and many theatre practitioners. She is now looking for funding to take this play to full production status.
'Was that a Bunyip?' - Zoo Conservation Project
In 2012 Alaine was commissioned to write an historical play for the Werribee Open Range Zoo to be performed every night for their Winter Wild Nights programme. This play had to combine the history of the woolshed, the Chirnsides, include a strong conservation message and be performed to families with young children. Entitled ‘Was That a Bunyip?’ the play was highly successful gaining fantastic feedback through the Zoo’s organised audience feedback drive. Tim Grech, then Manager Visitor Development and Learning states ‘The script, like the show, is brilliant’. Jenny Grey, CEO, Zoos Victoria also wrote of the play ‘The number of conservation messages and strong story line in the Bunyip performance ensured that this is a ‘sweet spot’ project and will no doubt increase awareness of the conservation work we do.
Alaine started the band ‘Lighthouse’ in 2003 in Melbourne. Contemporary folk in style, their music reaches and uplifts audiences.
They produced their first CD, ‘Essential Journey’ in 2007 – a mixture of covers and originals, their second, all original CD ‘Travelled Road’ in May 2009 than their popular Christmas CD ‘Sun on Snow’ in 2011. Alaine currently performs with Melbourne musicians – Robert John Sedky (White Bridge Productions) and Simon Ross (Golden Guitar winner with Jetty Road).
Awards for Alaine’s Performing Arts
- 2014 Judges Choice for Best Written play, People’s Choice for Best Written Play and People’s Choice for Best Performed Play, at National One Act Playwright Competition for ‘Point of No Return’ written (and Directed) by Alaine Beek.
- 2014 2 Gold, 4 finalist (including Best Production Drama) and one special adjudicator’s award for ‘Masterful Set Changes’ at Victoria Drama League Awards for ‘The Lion in Winter’ directed by Alaine Beek.
- 2010 6 finalist nominations (including Best Comedy Production) at Victorian Drama League awards for ‘Allo Allo’ directed by Alaine
- 2009 Top 10 finalist in Australia’s Musicoz awards for original music by Lighthouse
Essence Food Studio
Alaine and Bart’s ‘parent’ business is the multi-award winning ‘Essence Food Studio’ which offers entertaining cooking classes that incorporate full dinner (of a specific theme), boutique wine, live music by Alaine’s band ‘Lighthouse’ and recipes. These shows are available on special occasions and for private groups of 20 or more. Two of the themes include ‘Best of British Comedy’ which include Alaine and David Crothers performing live, Monty Python skits, between courses. There is also a special night in which we include ‘A Touch of Shakespeare’. This involves Kevin Hopkins performing some wonderful Shakespeare moments and also, with Alaine, live music from Much Ado, the Musical and other Shakespearian productions.
Bart Beek – Chef/Presenter
Bart Beek is one of our most dynamic personalities in the Australian culinary scene. As a chef, presenter, food writer and stylist, he has been involved in the hospitality industry since 1972. Bart has taught commercial cookery and was trained at the famous Cordon Bleu school in Paris. As a qualified chef, he has worked in some of the finest restaurants in Australia, Hong Kong, USA and France.
After owning and managing various award-winning restaurants in South Australia and Sydney, Bart and his wife Alaine moved to Melbourne, where they created “Essence Food Studio”, an innovative business that blends live music, theatre and culinary instruction. Located in Wyndham, Victoria, “Essence” has won multiple awards and garnered rave reviews from food and theatre critics alike. In 2009 it was named Wyndham Business of the year.
Bart is a highly sought after presenter with a wealth of culinary knowledge who presents with great energy, humour and enthusiasm. His passion for the finest, freshest foods, cooking and eating is evident and inspirational to audiences everywhere. He can be seen as a regular presenter on Channel 10’s ‘Escape with ET’. He is now working with Everdure by Heston Blumenthal and loving the creative challenging experience and working some of the world’s best chefs including the master, Heston.