June and July were full and productive months for Polyglot. Most excitingly, we have moved! The removalists arrived on Thursday 19 July, and by Friday we were officially in residence at Abbotsford Convent. Read more about our incredible new home here.
We’re also thrilled to announce an exciting new project – Polyglot’s Story Map! We’re inviting our friends all over the world to share their Polyglot stories and photos with each other as we celebrate our 40th Birthday year. Read more about the Story Map here.
June began with more Hear Me Roar creative development workshops at ArtPlay. Polyglot’s Artistic Director Sue Giles writes about this collaboration with Elbow Room: “Hear Me Roar is an adventure into what it means to be in a state of fluidity. We’re so excited by the potential of this exploration. Toppling paradigms comes easily to children because they are not so aware of the rules and structures that adults have learned over years. This development will show what fun mixing it up can be.” An inclusive and interactive Hear Me Roar workshop for 8-12 year olds will be held at ArtPlay on 5 August, 3pm-4pm. Book here.
Two of the films created by 5678 Film Club – The Box and Beyond The Box – were shown at ACMI as part of Little Big Shots Film Festival’s schools screening. 5678 Film Club participants and artists, teachers and Polyglot staff members all enjoyed the event, which featured films crafted by children, showcasing a diverse range of themes, genres and techniques.
Polyglot had a ‘pawesome’ time at Melbourne Zoo with a very special one-off project – Cat City. Created to promote the Zoos Victoria Safe Cat, Safe Wildlife community conservation campaign, Cat City was an immersive play space filled with cardboard boxes, bubble wrap and yarn. Participants made their own cat characters, and then prowled around exploring the cardboard city, building tunnels, hidden forts and secret sleeping spaces. 12-year old Gully Thompson reviewed the experience – read it here.
Our Ants filled their suitcases with crumbs and travelled all the way to the United States of America! Their first stop was the Ann Arbor Summer Festival in Michigan, followed by the wonderful Long Island Children’s Museum in New York. This was the first time that Polyglot’s work had been presented at the institution, and we were excited to connect, as the Museum’s values are so similar to our own.
Light Pickers – the latest work-in-progress from The Generator, our artistic leadership program – enjoyed a week of creative development at ArtPlay. Conceived by Mischa Long, Light Pickers was born from the premise that young children are irresistibly drawn to light. Mischa reflected on the week at ArtPlay – read it here.
We celebrated NAIDOC Week with First On The Ladder intensive workshops in Shepparton and Moree. Singing, dancing and film were the focus, and artists including Philly, Amrita Hepi, Alana Tompson and The Last Kinection joined the First On The Ladder team to help the kids create their very own pop songs for Rumbalara Football Netball Club and the Moree Boomerangs, bust some dance moves, and put it all together in a video clip. We can’t wait to share the final films!
Polyglot has had some great media coverage in the past couple of weeks. Sue Giles was interviewed by The Age for a feature on Polyglot’s 40th Birthday. You can read this here. First On The Ladder Project Director Ian Pidd wrote an opinion piece for ArtsHub about straddling the arts-sport divide – you can read this here. Voice Lab Project Director Lachlan MacLeod and Sue Giles joined Damien Carrick at Radio National’s The Drawing Room for a discussion about Voice Lab’s current project with children experiencing transition. You can listen to the interview here.
We’ll be adding a few exciting things into our calendar over the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned for Polyglot fun near you!
In 1980, Polyglot moved from a broom cupboard in Hawthorn to a new home – 27A Cromwell Rd in South Yarra. 38 years later, as we celebrate our 40th birthday, the time has finally come for the company to move again. South Yarra has seen Polyglot transition from creating small puppetry shows to large-scale participatory works, but always with the focus on access and reaching as many children as possible with our art.
We kicked off our 40th birthday year with a huge challenge – we needed to raise $50,000 to ensure that we could comfortably move to a new home that would see us grow and blossom into the future. The campaign stretched over months, and thanks to the warm and wonderful generosity of our incredible donors, we did it. We raised $50,000 (and more!), and it was DOUBLED by Creative Partnerships Australia Plus1 matched funding. Thank you also to the Besen Family Foundation (which is also turning 40 this year) for generously supporting our relocation and the fit-out of our new office.
Polyglot is taking up a purpose-designed tenancy in the beautifully restored Sacred Heart building at the Abbotsford Convent, surrounded by diverse, creative, inspiring friends. In addition, an exciting new partnership between Polyglot and Abbotsford Convent will see us performing, creating and testing new work with children and families as part of the Convent Kids program every year. This means that Polyglot will be more visible and accessible – creating more opportunities for our skilled artists to grow as leaders, and to give young people a platform from which they can make their voices heard.
“Our move to Abbotsford Convent is such an exciting new phase of Polyglot’s life, where we feel welcomed as a valued part of an energetic creative community – at last we have neighbours! We are thrilled to be in a space where ideas flow, where our staff and artists can work and create, and where the focus on kids is totally authentic.” Sue Giles – Artistic Director, Polyglot Theatre.
The last few months have been a flurry of activity as we’ve prepared for the move. Costumes, props, sets and archival treasures have all been sifted through and moved to storage. Last week, the team packed the entire office into cardboard boxes, the removalists arrived in South Yarra on Thursday, and by Friday afternoon we were officially in residence in the Convent!
Our new office space has been beautifully designed by mcmahon and nerlich architects, and carefully crafted by Sinjen Group. They worked with us to create our vision of a playful, dynamic collaborative space for our team to dream, plan and implement.
Where to now? There’s still some unpacking to do, and we’re exploring every nook and cranny of the Convent, making friends with all of the diverse and creative tenants, and finding the best sunny spots to eat lunch. Now it’s all systems go to launch into the next phase of Polyglot’s shining future. Here’s to the next 40 years!