Lock and Hock bring homegrown drama to Rocky schools
AS A drama teacher at North Rockhampton High School, Gailyn McCaul wanted to keep the focus local.
So rather than bring in professional troupes from Brisbane, she chose local company, Lock & Hock to present a drama seminar to her year 11 students.
"The funding I had for extension activities, I could have brought in Shake 'n Stir or Grin and Tonic," she said.
"They're doing the rounds at the moment, but I wanted to use local talent so that my students make the connection between theory and what they see in practice.
"I believe they'll be more motivated to go to a production at the Pilbeam Theatre or at the Yeppoon festival because Amanda's in it."
Amanda Hock (nee Locker) is co-founder of Lock & Hock along with her husband, Travis Hock.
Amanda studied teaching at CQUni in Rockhampton when its first performing arts course began so she completed a double degree.
Travis completed a Bachelor of Theatre from JCU in Townsville and also works as a plumber.
The couple met during rehearsals for Cabaret at the Pilbeam Theatre and went on to co-star in shows such as Chicago, Boy from Oz, Dusty, JC Superstar, Evita, Mary Poppins, Wicked and We Will Rock You.
They started Lock & Hock Productions, not only to perform their own works but, also to help local students and teachers with their drama assessment.
"As a teacher, I know how valuable it is to get extra tips around performance and production work, whether that's as director, choreographer or writer," Amanda said.
Last year, the Yeppoon Village Festival commissioned Lock & Hock to reach out to local schools interested in street performance, including one in Gladstone, to devise their own skits for live performance.
Their troupe also delighted Festival audiences with its own bright and bawdy Red Foot Cabaret show.
"It blows my mind how often schools hire people from Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne to travel up here and do just a few hours work with our young people," she said.
"We've got the same skills, training and probably more knowledge about our region's students; it's important to use what's at home."
The couple are now raising two young children, Lucy and Patrick, on the Capricorn Coast and dreaming of big things ahead.
"We'd love to take our show on the road around Queensland and beyond, presenting original shows and helping others workshop anything related to the arts."
Ms McCaul, who also grew up in Yeppoon, agrees it's important to support and nurture homegrown talent.
"Why should people who have a passion for this area say 'No opportunities here, let's go live elsewhere'," she said.
"Students love working with local people who've got experience in the industry; they find it really inspiring and engaging."
Year 11 students are working on a brand new unit called Reflect, warming up their voices and bodies to convey a realistic character on stage.
"This year holding an arts afternoon every term," she said.
"Instead of just taking home a piece of paper with their grade on it, students will perform live in front of friends and family."