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News Article

Irons in the fire as CQUni backs Adelaide Fringe bushfire relief

Published:24 January 2020

Performers Patty Preece and Melania Jack will give door takings from their opening night show to bushfire recovery, and CQUni will donate to match the amount raised.

They bring light relief to the hot-bed issue of housework, but now electro-comedy duo The Ironing Maidens are delivering bushfire relief, too.

Performers Patty Preece and Melania Jack will give all door takings from their Adelaide Fringe 2020 opening night show to bushfire recovery agencies, and Preece’s employer CQUniversity Australia will donate to match the amount raised.

The one-night event, on Tuesday 18 February, aims to raise $8000 for Australian Red Cross, The Salvation Army and RSPCA, and premieres the award-winning duo’s new show after a sell-out performance in 2019.

The kitsch new offering is The Ironing Maidens – A Soap Opera, and features ingeniously-engineered musical ironing boards, revolting housewives, and high-energy drama.

Sonic musician and CQUniversity Associate Lecturer in Music and Theatre Technology Patty Preece said the cause was close to the duo’s hearts.

“We’ve just had months of this emotional rollercoaster, as some of our close friends in northern New South Wales were on alert and defending properties - then seeing it repeated all over Australia it’s just heartbreaking,” she said.

Both Preece and Jack also work on ABC Kids program Get Grubby TV, and said the real-life location 100km outside of Byron Bay also came under threat in October last year.

“The property was saved, but right next to it the town of Rappville lost houses and its school – so we’ve been really involved in that response, and it makes you realise the level of devastation that’s hitting so many communities,” Preece said.

Based in Cairns, The Ironing Maidens have performed across Australia for the past decade, and last year their Adelaide Fringe show ‘Electro House Wife’ took out the Festival’s weekly John Chataway Innovation Award.

This time around, they’ve collaborated with acclaimed Indigenous producer, Yvette Walker, and international theatre director and CQUniversity colleague Karen Crone, as well as well-known artists who feature in cameo appearances - in true soap opera style!

CQUniversity’s contribution to the fundraiser is part of a national approach to support bushfire recovery, supported by 25 campuses and centres across mainland Australia.

Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Nick Klomp said CQUniversity was focused on long-term contributions to rebuilding and resilience.

“Activities such as the Banksia Initiative supporting educators in disaster recovery, and our new scholarships for Emergency Management students, will help grow knowledge and practice to drive recovery related to this disaster, and also for inevitable future disasters,” Prof Klomp said.

“CQUniversity researchers are also heavily involved in ongoing research efforts into natural disaster preparedness, resilience and responses and we will continue to work within this important area.”

CQUni is promoting The Ironing Maidens fundraiser through its national networks, alongside fundraisers led by CQUni teams right across Australia.

“I look forward to working with everyone at CQUniversity to do what we can to contribute to what has already been an incredible community response to this disaster,” Prof Klomp said.

The Ironing Maidens – A Soap Opera fundraising event is at 9pm on Tuesday 18 February, at Nexus Arts, the Lion Arts Centre, Adelaide. Tickets are $15 - $30, book now at