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Resourcing Choices

Over the 17 years it has been running, the Choices Applied theatre project has been successful in securing funding and/or in-kind resources from the following organisations and Queensland State government agencies and departments:

  • Whitsunday Schoolies Advisory Committee, Whitsunday Regional Council
  • CQUniversity Australia
  • Queensland Police Service
  • Volunteers in Policing
  • Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drugs Service, Queensland Health
  • Sexual Health and Sexual Assault Service, Queensland Health
  • Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services, Queensland Government
  • Department of Transport and Main Roads, Queensland Government
  • Youth Alcohol and Drug Program, Indigenous Wellbeing Centre Aboriginal Corporation, Bundaberg
  • Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research, University of Queensland
  • Liquor Licensing, Queensland Government
  • Mackay Youth Information and Referral Service
  • Friends of the Conservatorium Mackay, Inc.
  • G and S Engineering Mackay
  • Mackay Rotary Club
  • Education Queensland
  • Catholic Education Queensland
  • Magnum's Backpackers, Airlie Beach
  • Mango Tree Resort, Airlie Beach
  • Blair House Student Hostel, Clermont
  • headspace - National Youth Mental Health Foundation

The in-kind resources include covering the costs of:

  • Bus driver
  • Subsidised CQUniversity student residential accommodation for the performers for the duration of the performance tour
  • Out of town accommodation and meals while on tour in Airlie Beach, Clermont and Bundaberg
  • Choices polo shirts for each of the performers
  • Purchase of two sets of sound equipment, including speakers, radio microphones, lapel microphones, mixing desk and fold-back speakers
  • Printed Choices program to be given out to students at each school
  • Pull-up banner of Choices
  • Back-drop of Choices and a portable stand to hold the back-drop
  • Lunches and morning teas for the student performers at each school
  • Rehearsal venue
  • Administration support
  • Photography and video footage for publicity and conference presentations
  • Financial management
  • Creation of survey instruments, collection and collation of survey data after each performance of Choices and also at Airlie Beach during Schoolies

The success of the Choices Applied Theatre Project in delivering an effective harm minimisation strategy for Year 12 students before they embark on their Schoolies celebrations, with a particular focus on the Whitsunday Schoolies event each year at Airlie Beach, has ensured that school communities in Mackay, Sarina, Proserpine, Mirani, Bowen, Dysart, Moranbah, Townsville, Ingham, Charters Towers, Ayr, Rockhampton, Yeppoon, Tully, Innisfail, Malanda, Herberton, Abergowie and Bundaberg continue to support the performanceChoices in their schools. Each year, schools in each of these cities, towns and regions given up valuable time in the school calendar to ensure that their Year 12 students have the opportunity to seeChoices and thus prepare themselves for the Schoolies celebrations that continue to present significant risk for so many young people in Australia today.

One of the most frequently asked questions at conferences and seminars relates to how this project could be replicated in other parts of Australia. Applied theatre is not a new paradigm for addressing social issues (Wooster, 2010). However, finding the most opportune time to bring these key messages to Year 12 students – not too early in the year when Schoolies is just a distant idea, or not too late – relies on the ability of the project team to cooperate with all stakeholders and be flexible with the development of timetables that suit the schools, the performers and the government agencies. Of particular note is the role played by the Queensland Police Service who provides personnel to be involved with transporting the cast and crew to each performance venue, as well as providing uniformed officers to participate in the shows and answer questions from the school students at the conclusion of each performance.

"No other region in Australia has been able to put together a program like Choices because no other region has at its fingertips the particular expertise and spirit of cooperation and professionalism provided by CQUniversity staff and students" (Christine Low, Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drugs Service, Mackay, Queensland Health). TheChoices Applied Theatre Project works because there is a group of dedicated professionals in the Queensland State Government departments who are willing to work closely with a highly motivated group of students and faculty at CQUniversity. The main factor that contributes to the success of Choices is its people.