Performers Monique Clementson and Fergus Inder won’t be cutting any corners when they take to the road in Crash Bash: Reaction, an interactive touring experience educating Canterbury High School students about safe driving.
Running in collaboration with the Christchurch City Council and New Zealand Police, Crash Bash: Reaction is a 25-minute show highlighting key road safety messages in an entertaining, informative and memorable performance.
Crash Bash has traditionally been interactive, but this year’s version of the show will use a mobile app to engage the entire audience, rather than just one or two people.
“For us it's a really exciting theatrical journey of how to engage 600 audience members at once, which is really challenging,” says The Court Theatre’s Programmes Manager (Education, Training and Jesters), Rachel Sears, who is overseeing the project.
Using mobile learning app Kahoot!, the teenage audience will be encouraged to use their phones during the show, interacting with cast members live on-stage by answering questions and sharing their opinions on topics discussed. Schools will also be able to compete in the quiz components during the performance.
Clementson and Inder, who were recently on The Court’s stage in Jesus Christ Superstar, will be directed by co-star Ben Freeth, who promises that Crash Bash will appeal to Canterbury’s varied school audiences – and impart some well-needed knowledge.
“Crash Bash has been interactive in the past, but normally only really involved up to four students and a teacher. I wanted to reverse that and get everyone involved - the whole student body - so nobody feels left out. We're trying to develop a show that can change depending on the audience, because the schools we go to are all very different.”
Despite the diversity of audiences, the problems facing young drivers behind the wheel is similar across the board
The key focus for Crash Bash: Reaction is distracted driving (whether that be because of phone use, passenger distraction or out-of-car objects such as digital signage), impaired driving (drugs, alcohol and fatigue) and the consequences of these.
Educating people on the risks of distracted driving is a key goal for the council and police due to our rising annual road toll.
Our current death rate is 7.9 deaths per 100,000 people, whereas in Australia the rate is much lower, at 5.0 deaths. If we had a comparable death rate to Sweden (2.6 deaths per 100,000 people), approximately 250 fewer people would have died in 2017 – something the council, police and The Court Theatre are looking to address through Crash Bash: Reaction.
“The programme conveys the importance of making safe choices for yourselves and others as these students move through the graduated licence system,” says Christchurch City Council Transport Operations Manager, Steffan Thomas.
Relevance was a key goal for the project, with young people consulted during the development of Crash Bash: Reaction and feedback from previous years also informing the new direction for this year’s show.
Alongside the new and interactive production elements, AV Design will be used to showcase examples of bad driving decisions – and the consequences of these.
“We’ve learnt that the students seem to not really care about the consequences. They think ‘oh, it’s $100, I’ll get 50 demerit points and I won’t do it again, so it doesn’t matter…’ but we want to show them that’s not true,” says Freeth. “Because actually, if you do make unsafe driving choices, it impacts your future. That’s what kids are thinking about at the end of high school – what am I going to do with the rest of my life? We want to show them that there’s a lot of stuff they can’t do, if they’re not careful.”
Crash Bash: Reaction will be visiting over 20 schools in Canterbury, with bookings still available. The show is free for eligible schools and recommended for those in years 11 – 13.
“We don’t want to scare them, but young people are dying on our roads all the time,” says Sears. “The purpose of Crash Bash is to give them time to think and reflect on their driving choices; encourage better driving decisions and habits; build relationships between young people and the police and celebrate good driving decisions.”
Crash Bash: Reaction will be touring Canterbury High Schools from 18 February – 22 March 2019. The show is free for eligible Canterbury High Schools. For more information and to book your school’s visit, please contact Angela McDonnell at Angela.McDonnell@ccc.govt.nz or phone (03) 941 8379.