CQU alumni drive road safety project in the regions

18 October 2022

Young children across the Mackay region will receive valuable road safety skills thanks to a new musical theatre project titled Steady Eddy.

This free education program will tour 18 local kindergartens' delivering performances to almost 900 regional children this month (17 – 28 October).

The innovative performance is a collaboration between four CQUniversity Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music (CQCM)' Bachelor of Theatre graduates Amy Stockow' Sarah Dunn' Michael Lee and Bachelor of Music graduate Monique Brown.

The original story and script were written by Sarah Dunn and Amy Stockow' who said the show is focused around two young girls on their way to kindergarten.

"They race ahead doing a cartwheel race until they suddenly realise the need to cross a road'" Sarah said.

"With a bit of magic' their plush Echidna toy named Eddy comes to life to teach them important rules on road safety.

"He teaches them to cross the road with an adult and to hold their hand; to use your senses and to take it 'Steady like Eddy' when you cross. He also goes on to identify safe places like a zebra crossing and pedestrian signage."

As a Mackay local' Sarah said she was proud to collaborate with her former CQCM peers and utilise their multidisciplinary talents to give back to the community.

"Amy and I directed' choreographed' and created the set. The lyrics were predominantly written by Amy' with Monique brought on board to create backing music and bring the musical to life.

"Michael stepped in as an additional touring performer to play Eddy the Echidna and be the official puppeteer. The Steady Eddy puppet was made locally by Ros Campbell of Wild Puppets' Mackay'" she explained.

"We hope children in the region will enjoy the entertainment of the musical but mostly the important lesson it offers.

"There is no doubt road safety is an important message to teach children of all ages. If the show helps to prevent even one road accident' we will be extremely happy!"

Director of CQCM' Professor Judith Brown said she was excited to see her former students leading the local production.

"This has been a fabulous opportunity for our CQUniversity theatre and music graduates to utilise their skills and enthusiasm to address important community needs'" she said.

"I am extremely proud of this new show for our kindy children."

The core messaging for the musical was established by Mackay Regional Council in response to frequent alerts about 'near misses' involving primary school-aged children around schools.

Arts Development Officer at Mackay Regional Council' Lara Russell said the program will help address a need for greater road safety education in regional Queensland communities.

"We wanted a program that looked at ways to teach simple road safety to children before Prep. It is hoped that by educating kindergarten children' this messaging will stay with them through their early years of schooling'" Ms Russell said.

"Many local primary schools are in small communities where 'lollypop people' and zebra crossings are not available to support children crossing the road around schools.

"By presenting simple road safety messaging in a fun' engaging' age-appropriate way' these children will become safe and competent road users going into Prep next year."

This project is funded by the Queensland Government Department of Transport and Main Roads Community Road Safety Grants and the Mackay Regional Council.