Cry of the Curlew

Crossroad Arts latest combined theatre production and art exhibition, Cry of the Curlew. Located at CQ University Conservatorium and performed on the 27th June at 7pm and the 28th of June at 2pm or 7pmThe show includes twenty puppeteers and actors who bring a world of mythical creatures to life as artists from Crossroad Arts and Small Miracles join Endeavour, BlueCare and Homefield Aged Care to perform in this once off major event.  


Curlew 6         Curlew 5         Curlew 12


Curlew 1         Curlew 2         Curlew 3

IMG 8408         DSC 5583 2         IMG 0672


Debra Knoll "Loved it so much 10/10!"

Tara Elizabeth Martin "Brilliant imagery. Enchanting story. Talented performers. Congratulations everyone!! Crossroad Arts you offer so much to the creative community. Thankyou."

Ruth Fiedler "This was my first and it will not be my last Crossroads production. The crafting of the opening scene, dinner, school, drowning scene, reconciliation and the final scene were sensitive and beautiful. Congratulations to all."

Barb Lyons "It was just fantastic I love how crossroads offer new experiences to the creative community, experiences that would not be there without your hard work and dedication. Well done and keep up your hard work it is much appreciated."
Pam Hutley "What a fabulous story and talented artists and performers! Another two performances left--don't miss them!"



CRY OF THE CURLEW notes from the writer/director

I was first told the story of ‘The Fishwife and the Changeling’ by a storyteller in 1983, while I was touring schools in NSW and introducing puppetry to primary school students. 

This story told of a fairy child who had been left in place of the child of human, and later sacrificed his immortality for the love of his adopted family.  It gripped me.

In 2007 I worked with puppet maker Dominie Hooper and adapted the story and wrote a play, which premiered at Crossroad Arts Shakespeare Street Theatre.  Some of the smaller cloth puppets, including The Goblin, can be seen in this production also. 

The play Cry of the Curlew evolved from these early beginnings.  In February 2014 an ensemble of volunteers, participants across all abilities, came together at Crossroad Arts to creatively develop the play. Ideas were improvised and workshopped over 5 months and a new ‘fairy’ language was developed to enhance this sense of otherness, both on the stage and in our own community arts practice with people who traditionally have been outsiders.  

(Steve Mayer-Miller)

A Note on Changelings:

A changeling is a creature found in folklore. It is typically described as being the offspring of a fairy, troll or elf that has been secretly left in the place of a human child. Sometimes the term is also used to refer to the child who was taken. The apparent changeling could also be a ‘stock’ or ‘fetch’, an enchanted piece of wood that would soon appear to grow sick and die. The theme of the swapped child is common among medieval literature and reflects concern over infants thought to be afflicted with unexplained diseases, disorders, or developmental disabilities.

A human child might be taken due to many factors: to act as a servant the love of a human child, or malice. Most often it was thought that fairies exchanged the children. Some Norwegian tales tell that the change was made to prevent inbreeding: to give trolls and humans new blood, humans were given children with enormous strength as a reward. In some rare cases, the very elderly of the Fairy people would be exchanged in the place of a human baby, and then the old fairy could live in comfort, being coddled by its human parents.Simple charms, such as an inverted coat or open iron scissors left where the child sleeps, were thought to ward them off; other measures included a constant watch over the child. 

(Information sourced from Wikipedia)



The art-work and photos displayed in this exhibition are a result of the Outreach Program Beyond Boundaries.  An intergenerational project that linked residents from Home Field aged care home, Endeavour clients, Bluecare Respite Centre and Small Miracles with local Mackay artists in a series of multi art workshops that included visual arts, dance and singing.  Pam Hutley, Tracey Heathwood, Kyla Ranger, Karen Bonham, Tara Martin, Jacqui Pasquins, Abirami VB; Karen Hurford, Steve Mayer-Miller and Wanda Bennett all worked on the program.


The aim of the project was to celebrate and acknowledge the diverse lives and memories of the Home Field Aged Care residents and give all participants the opportunity to experience and participate in a wide range of art forms.

During the program the participants’ engaged in a variety of arts, craft, drama and dance activities designed to enhance imagination, creativity, trigger memories of the past and most importantly reconnect people with each other and their community.

 Many aspects of weaving were explored during the project as the rhythmic and repetitive action of weaving calms and gives focus to the mind, increases dexterity and creates an atmosphere that encourages relaxed group discussion and sharing of stories.

Traditional techniques like still life drawing were also explored as these stimulate memories of traditional art classes that many residents had participated in during early schooling years. Workshop participants also examined iconic abstract ‘cube’ art works and then created art-work inspired by looking through a ‘ fly eye’ looking glass.

Crossroad Arts collaboratively develops opportunities for people to experience a disability, to access and participate in the arts. By collaborating, an environment is created where people with a disability have a powerful voice and work with us in the direction and creation of art.

(Artist Wanda Bennett) 


The music for this production has been a challenging and humbling opportunity to express complicated emotions, while attempting to remain true to the identity and integrity of the characters throughout the story.  

When I learned of the 'Fairy' origins, I went searching for a language to align to that background and context.  In my search I found Elvish language poems, created using an Elvish alphabet and common Elvish phrases, originally devised by JRR Tolkien.  I have combined this language with elements of Gaelic and Nordic writings to create a language pallet, to colour the text and context.

I hope this use of language reflects the challenges, joys, hardships and glorious moments of transformation that are woven into in this beautiful story. Below is an extract of Elvish text from Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings:  

Mallath ú-thiliar,
Randirath ú-vistar;

Brúnath vill ú-firir,
Heleg ú-vâb thynd aind.

Naur o lith lachatha
Gaul o dae labatha
Crist rist peniathar
Pen bedh-rî ad aran.

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost. 

From the ashes a fire shall be woken, 
A light from the shadows shall spring;

Renewed shall be the blade that was broken:
The crownless again shall be king.

(Musician Karen Bonham)


Steve Mayer-Miller – Artistic Director

Anke MacLean – Stage Manager 


Wanda Bennett – Puppet Maker 

Carol Forbes – Costume Designer

Karen Bonham – Singer


Homefield Artists

Doris Griggs, Beryl Pietzner, Ruth Smiley, Margaret McNaughton, Queenie Mitchell, Don Ernest, Maureen Costello, Barbara Rowlands, Cecil Finn, Mona Brett, Reta Lowther, Les Pitcher, Alan Schaefer, Leslie Ewart, Merle Fitzgerald, Robyn Davis, Imelda Grubb and Julie Tapau.


Endeavour Artists

Lyndal Barber, Trudi Bettridge, Dan Foster, Ricky McDonnell, Lynda Rodgers and Michael Whelan



Puppeteers/ Actors
Brigette Abbey, Edward Balais, Daniel Battley, Brenden Borellini, Matthew Dean, Rosie Fyvie, Georgia Knoll, Kathryn Knoll, Anke MacLean, Tony Moore, Kyla Ranger, Sarah Rotolone and Zachery Tynan



Chorus Group
Edward Balais, Stephen Chapman, Dan Foster, Lorraine Icardi and Ricky McDonnell