Polyglot Theatre tours to Indonesia

Polyglot Theatre is thrilled to be touring to Indonesia for the first time with its theatre work Cerita Anak (Child’s Story). ARTJOG, the annual contemporary art fair based in Yogyakarta, in partnership with Padepokan Seni Bagong Kussudiardja, Papermoon Puppet Theatre and Polyglot Theatre, is presenting seven free, sold out performances of the theatre work, which was created in collaboration with Indonesia’s own Papermoon Puppet Theatre.

Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) draws its inspiration from the seafaring history in Java and the true tale of arrival told by a small boy. Combining puppetry, song, shadow imagery and sound, the show bustles with all the life of the ocean. Audience members, both young and old, are passengers and storytellers on this adventure. Polyglot and Papermoon Puppet Theatre worked with local children from a fishing village north of Java to conceive and create this breathtaking, memorable journey for audiences.

Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) was nominated for a 2017 Helpmann Award for Best Presentation for Children, and the 2018 Contemporary and Experimental Performance – Work for Young Audiences Green Room Award. The work premiered at Arts Centre Melbourne as part of Asia TOPA in 2017, and recently enjoyed a critically-acclaimed sold-out season in the Perth International Arts Festival.

Of the production, core Polyglot artist Emily Tomlins writes, “Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) is such a magical, moving and important piece from start to finish. What I love the most about the whole show is that it works on two very specific and complete levels – one for the children, and one for the adults. It takes each demographic on a very comprehensive journey that they immerse themselves in. They also have a combined journey – one of play and also of care – not only for each other but with their very own newly found community within the boat.

Simon Collins, a reviewer from The West Australian, referred to “the sheer beauty, and interactive fun, of this simple yet superbly executed production.” Alison Croggon, of Witness Performance, wrote, “For adults, this intensely immersive experience creates the emotional resonance of a journey through peril towards hope: but for small children, it’s the best playground ever.”

Following the season at ARTJOG, Polyglot and Papermoon will be co-presenting a new workshop performance at Makassar International Writers Festival (MIWF). Story Islands invites children and families to make their own tiny boats, and sail across imaginary seas to little islands where stories are told, music is played and wonderful things are created. This playful performance will be made in collaboration with local artists specifically for the festival. MIWF is a unique event, with a mix of literature and cultural exchange, attended by more than 20,000 people every year. The festival has also been a prominent educational platform in Eastern Indonesia since 2011. The Story Islands collaboration at MIWF will focus on storytelling as an important tool in education with an emphasis on educating children, teachers and parents from small islands of Sulawesi and Jakarta through a series of workshops, panel discussions and training.

Viv Rosman, Polyglot’s Executive Director, is excited about the company’s tour to Indonesia. “It is wonderful to be returning to the country where the first creative development of Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) took place in 2015. It has always been very important to both Polyglot and Papermoon Puppet Theatre that we honour our long-running creative partnership by touring this work back to Papermoon’s home. We are thrilled to share this special production that reflects both countries’ contemporary stories, with Indonesian children and their families.”

ARTJOG is a melting pot of ideas, with visual arts, music, dance and other performing arts and creative industry practitioners coming together to connect, share knowledge, and present work. It is committed to overcoming the boundaries that restrict the practice and the interpretation of art practice, and developing and maintaining the existing network between artist, market, stakeholder, and the public.

Papermoon Puppet Theatre was founded by theatre maker Maria Tri Sulistyani and visual artist Iwan Effendi. Based in a country with world-renowned puppetry traditions, the artists of Papermoon create work that imaginatively explores identity, political history and contemporary society. Polyglot’s experience with children, play and the nature of interaction complements the intricacy and emotion of the puppetry and images created by Papermoon.

Polyglot’s tour to Indonesia is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.